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03-17-1999

Sibling Rivalry On Ice

[A photograph of the Poapst brothers is available at http://www.clarkson.edu/news/photos/poapsts.jpg]

The one thing about your brother is that although you love him — he is family, after all — you also want to win against him whenever you get the chance. The brothers Poapst (PAHPST) of Monkland, Ontario, are no exception. poapsts

Matt Poapst is a freshman playing NCAA Division I hockey for Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. John Poapst, his older brother, is a senior playing on the St. Lawrence University team, 11 miles down the road in nearby Canton. Their sibling rivalry personifies one of hockey’s most heated intercollegiate rivalries.

This week, top-seeded Clarkson and second-seed St. Lawrence play in the ECAC Championship Tournament in Lake Placid, N.Y. The teams split their two regular season contests, but if both squads defeat their semifinal opponents, Matt and John could do battle for the third time this season.

“We’re both very competitive,” said John. “As much as we love each other, on the sporting field it’s quite a conflict.”

“I definitely want to beat my brother, that’s for sure,” said Matt.

And that applies to any sport. A friendly basketball game last summer got so intense the game was never finished — and the brothers didn’t talk to each other for a while, according to Matt. That’s how competitive the Poapsts are.

Round one of their collegiate rivalry was last November at SLU’s Appleton Arena. The Saints defeated the Golden Knights, 3-1, as John scored two goals. In January’s rematch at Cheel Arena, the Knights – and Matt – gained revenge with a 5-4 victory, helping to propel the Golden Knights to the top of the ECAC, a position they would not relinquish.

Said Matt of both contests: “We compete hard. He gave me a few hits, I gave him a few hits, but after the game, you laugh about it and shake hands.”

Needless to say, competing brothers at rival schools poses a problem for the parents, Debbie and Ron Poapst. Namely, whom to root for?

“We feel loyal to each one,” said Debbie. And that has given them a truly unusual perspective for fans in the area: “It feels like Clarkson and St. Lawrence are one in the same. We can’t cheer for or against either.”

Added Ron: “Never would I have dreamt this season that this scenario would come up. I’m quite pleased and quite proud.”

In Hollywood, some producer would see to it that Matt and John met in the finals at Lake Placid. In reality, there are no guarantees. But if the teams do square off once more, don’t expect the brothers Poapst to let up against one another.

“I just can’t wait to bring it into the playoffs. It would be nice to meet in the finals and to solve this little ‘disagreement,’” said John, mischievously.

“It would be nice to have him on our team,” countered Matt, “but he’s not. So, I guess we’ll have to beat him.”

PHOTO CAPTION: John (left) and Matt Poapst hope to renew their rivalry in the ECAC Championships (Photo by Thomas M. Watson, Clarkson University)

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Michael P. Griffin, director of News & Digital Content Services, at 315-268-6716 or mgriffin@clarkson.edu.]

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