The following article appeared at belfastgiants.com on November 9, 2017 featuring the RPI Men's team.
By Bobby Bertagna
If someone told me to come up with an original nickname for a sports team, I don’t think I could possibly come up with a less interesting name than, “the Engineers”. Yet, at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where science and technology are the foundation of the university, it is actually quite fitting.
Rensselaer (commonly known as RPI) is unique in that their men’s and women’s hockey teams are the only division one sports teams they sponsor. The rest of their teams are in division three, which has made hockey their most popular sport. Their hockey team dates back to 1901, making it one of the oldest hockey programs in the United States, and the oldest of the four teams in this year’s tournament. Until 1962, they were an independent program, playing whoever would schedule a game against them until they became a founding member of the ECAC. They have had their ups and downs over the years, highlighted by two national championships (1954 & 1985). Since their most recent championship, however, they have only qualified for the NCAA tournament three times, and only once since 2000. They haven’t won the ECAC championship since 1995.
The 2016-17 season was not kind to the Engineers. They finished the season with only eight wins, their lowest total in 35 years, and finished second to last in their conference. Just like Maine, they have almost nowhere to go but up. After such a disappointing season, they underwent an overhaul, bringing in former Canisius coach Dave Smith to replace the long-tenured Seth Appert.
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