It's Hot: Icemen Take on RPI Saturday

Sixth-Ranked RPI, Ninth-Ranked Harvard Collide in ECAC's Fiercest Rivalry

Two years ago, ninth-seeded RPI bounced the top-seeded Harvard men's hockey team from the ECAC tournament, 4-3 in overtime, in one of the most shocking upsets in tournament history.

Last year, RPI ended Harvard's 10-game mid-season winning streak with a 6-3 win in Troy, N.Y.--only the Crimson's second loss of the season, and the first time it had given up so many goals.

But Harvard went on to defeat the Engineers in the ECAC consolation finals by the same score and secure a bid to the NCAA tournament.

Back and forth between Houston Field House and the Bright Hockey Center--with occasional stops in the Lake Placid Olympic Complex--these two teams are part of the hottest ECAC rivalry of the '90s.

Both the Engineers and the Crimson are eternally in the hunt for postseason accolades, and in an interesting footnote Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni graduated from RPI in 1980.


Now, it's 1993. Until this weekend, the ninth-ranked Crimson has faced the traditionally weaker teams of the ECAC. Its toughest competition has come from the unlikely sources of Colgate and Brown, who handed the Crimson its first loss and tie respectively.

But this weekend, Harvard travels to New York to face the Skating Dutchmen of Union today and the seventh-ranked Engineers of RPI tomorrow.

The big game of the weekend is Harvard-RPI, but both games are important for the team to win.

"I've been trying to stress all week that we cannot overlook Union," Coach Ronn Tomassoni said. "They are a much improved team. They played a tough game against Clarkson and tied UMass-Lowell, two good teams. It would be a mistake pointing everything to RPI."

RPI Coach Buddy Powers has similar worries on his mind for his team this weekend.

"We're taking it one game at a time," Powers said. "Our first concern is Brown, we'll worry about Harvard after that."

Coming off two big wins last weekend--Maine and Bowling-Green at the Dexter Classic in Orono, Maine--the Engineers ride a three-game winning streak.

The big offensive force to look out for at RPI is forward Xavier Majic, who scored the game-winning goal against Maine.

Still, his coach says Majic has yet to play his best hockey.

"So far Majic has had an up and down year," Powers said. "He's not really satisfied with his play. He played really well over the weekend, though, scoring that last goal."