A seven-10 split may be a bad sign in bowling, but it could be a blessing for the men’s hockey team.

The seventh-place Bulldogs (13-12-4, 9-9-4 ECAC) will host tenth-seeded Rensselaer (11-21-4, 6-13-3) in the first round of the ECAC playoffs this weekend at the Whale — a favorable matchup for the home team in the best-of-three series. Coming off a 3-0 shutout of the Engineers at Ingalls Rink in their final regular-season game last weekend, the Elis have the momentum in their favor as they prepare to take on the same squad in hopes of advancing to the conference quarterfinals for the first time in two years.

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“After losing three straight, it was great to have things come together,” captain Will Engasser ’08 said after Saturday’s defeat of RPI. “We are really excited about going into the playoffs and hopefully we can come out of them with an ECAC championship.”

In the regular season, the Elis earned three points against the Engineers, skating to a 1-1 draw on the road in November and securing an easy victory last week at home. Pat Brosnihan ’09, Broc Little ’11 and Engasser all tallied for the Bulldogs and netminder Alec Richards ’09 blanked RPI on 21 shots in Saturday’s win.

The Engineers are not known as one of the stronger teams in the conference, but — as is always the case — anything can happen in hockey. Last year, the Bulldogs easily swept Harvard, 5-2 and 5-1, during the regular season, but did not even make it to a third game when they faced the Crimson on the road in the opening round of the ECAC Tournament.

So the Elis’ plan for the weekend is to take each game at a time, forward David Germain ’08 said. If the Bulldogs can put together a full sixty minutes on the ice each night, they have a good shot at coming out of the weekend with two wins and moving a step closer to the coveted ECAC Tournament Championship.