Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Women's Hockey - at Brown & Yale

The Engineers continued into the home stretch this weekend with an ECAC series at Brown and Yale, the first pair of games of the 12 remaining in the season. After getting off to a bit of a slow start in Providence, RPI went on to defeat the Bears 2-0 before falling back into old habits and dropping Saturday’s game in New Haven by a tally of 4-3. The loss moved the Engineers to 1-7-4 in Saturday games (with the only win coming at the expense of Union), 8-10-5 on the season and 5-4-3 in ECAC play.

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Friday

Horton/Vandegrift/O'Keefe
Wright/Harrison/Naslund
Padmore/Dunlop/Weidner
Guillemette/Jakubowski/Stapleton

Castignetti/Gersten
Le Donne/Vadner
Gaylord/Daniels

van der Bliek

Friday's first period was an exciting and intense one in every way but on the scoreboard. A clean, hard-fought period of hockey saw the Engineers and Bears trade 19 shots and several good chances, but van der Bliek and Brown goalie Katie Jamieson stood tall to keep the game scoreless. The only penalty of the period was a trip by Sierra Vadner, which RPI killed without too much trouble.

The second period looked to be unfolding much the same way - only a pair of penalties in the first half of the frame - until Brown made a costly defensive zone turnover which Taylor Horton collected, burned a defender, and slid through Jamieson's five-hole to put RPI up 1-0. Two more RPI scoring chances followed up the goal and the Engineers drew a penalty with strong play in the Brown zone. Whitney Naslund made the advantage count as she put a shot past Jamieson to double the lead to 2-0.

Brown had a 1:10 5-on-3 opportunity late in the period, but RPI stood tall and killed it off. It almost became an even longer 2-man advantage when Naslund collided with Jamieson, but in a real head-scratcher, the officials called matching minors for interference (on Jamieson) and roughing the goalie (on Naslund). Keep in mind there was no funny business after the whistle, just one collision, and the two penalties.

Penalties proved unimportant for either team as they were unable to score on the power play for the remainder of the game. Allysen Weidner had a clear breakaway late in the game and was hooked down in a play that was a obvious candidate for a penalty shot, but the officials continued to bewilder fans and the Brown announcers alike by simply calling the minor. RPI did not capitalize, and though Brown had a few PP opportunities of their own, the power play the Brown announcer termed "the worst power play I've ever seen" never really threatened the Engineers. The game went in the books as a 2-0 shutout for van der Bliek.

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Saturday

Horton/Vandegrift/O'Keefe
Wright/Harrison/Naslund
Padmore/Dunlop/Weidner
Guillemette/Jakubowski/Stapleton

Castignetti/Gersten
Le Donne/Vadner
Gaylord/Daniels

van der Bliek

It was a big weekend at Yale, as the Bulldogs rededicated Ingalls Rink for its 50th Anniversary. A doubleheader was schedule with the women playing at 4 and the men at 7, with the result being more than double the typical attendance at the Whale and a relatively energetic and involved crowd - a rarity at a women's hockey game in the ECAC.

The crowd didn't do much to energize the home team early on, as RPI jumped out to a quick 9-2 lead in shots over the first several minutes of the game. A Bulldog penalty at 10:50 of the period gave RPI an opportunity to capitalize on their momentum but Yale held the Engineers off the board. By 14 minutes in, RPI had amassed a 14-4 shot margin, but Yale's Aleca Hughes made shot #5 count as she got a breakaway and snuck one past van der Bliek for a 1-0 lead.

Another Yale penalty and another penalty kill passed, and Bray Ketchum of the Bulldogs nearly made it 2-0 as she beat van der Bliek high but rang a rocket shot off the post. RPI had an odd-man rush back the other way but Jackee Snickeris made the save for Yale. Just 30 seconds later the Engineers had another rush opportunity and Alisa Harrison beat Snickeris to tie the game at one.

The tie was short-lived; less than 30 seconds after the RPI goal, a scrum in front of van der Bliek led to a Yale goal as van der Bliek tried to clear the puck from the crease, inadvertently putting it right on a Yale player's stick, where it was fired right into RPI's net. The period ended shortly after with Yale holding a 2-1 lead, but RPI leading the shot count 21-7.

RPI and Yale traded power play opportunities early in the second, but Yale made better use of theirs, scoring almost immediately after the ensuing faceoff to take a solid 3-1 lead. As the period approached the midpoint, Allysen Weidner skated up ice (in what started as a harmless play) managed to split a pair of Yale defenders and broke in alone on Snickeris, cutting Yale's lead to 3-2. More penalties marked the remainder of the frame, but no more goals. By the end of the second, RPI led the shot battle 30-12.

RPI took some poor penalties in the third, and it was a wonder Yale didn't put the game away on several power play opportunities. Some chances went both ways, but as the game approached its final minutes the score remained 3-2. With a minute and a half left, RPI barely managed to sneak in the Yale zone onside and caught Snickeris off-guard to tie the game. It looked like overtime was in the cards for the two teams until the Engineers suffered a crushing letdown, allowing Yale to retake the lead with just 33 seconds left. An empty net and short power play to end the game weren't enough to give RPI the equalizer, and Yale captured the win in front of a crowd that had grown quite a bit since the start of the game (at this point it was only an hour until the start of Yale's men's game).

The game marked an unfortunate return to RPI's pattern of disappointing Saturday games - a trend which needs to stop in the last few weekends of ECAC play if the Engineers want to remain in the playoffs and avoid drawing a dominant Clarkson in the first round. With all 4 games against Harvard and Dartmouth, and games against Clarkson, SLU, and Cornell remaining, points are by no means guaranteed for the Engineers, and it will take some serious hard work to stay afloat in the standings.

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RPI at Brown
ECAC Hockey Game – Meehan Auditorium (Providence, RI)
1/15/10 - 7:00pm
RPI 3, Brown 0

BOX SCORES:
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/0910/boxes/wbrnren1.j15
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/?date=20100115&vis=rpi&home=bn&gender=w

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2010/1/15/WICE_0115103044.aspx
Brown: http://brownbears.com/sports/w-hockey/2009-10/releases/20100115zgyt3b

RECORD: 8-9-5 (5-3-3 ECAC Hockey, 13 points)

RPI at Yale (Ingalls Rink Rededication Day)
ECAC Hockey Game – Ingalls Rink (New Haven, CT)
1/16/10 – 4:00pm Yale 4, RPI 3

BOX SCORES:
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/0910/boxes/wrenyal1.j16
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/?date=20100116&vis=rpi&home=yu&gender=w

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2010/1/16/WICE_0116101235.aspx
Yale: http://yalebulldogs.com/sports/w-hockey/2009-10/releases/20100117gtaayv

RECORD: 8-10-5 (5-4-3 ECAC Hockey, 13 points)

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ECAC Standings (as of 1/20/10):

GP Pts ECAC All
Clarkson 11 19 9-1-1 15-5-3
Cornell 12 19 8-1-3 9-7-3
Quinnipiac 14 17 6-3-5 11-7-6
Princeton 14 17 7-4-3 9-9-3
Harvard 13 16 7-4-2 9-4-4
SLU 11 14 6-3-2 10-7-6
RPI 12 13 5-4-3 8-10-5
Yale 12 9 4-7-1 6-10-3
Colgate 12 9 3-6-3 7-14-3
Dartmouth 13 9 4-8-1 6-10-2
Union 12 3 1-10-1 5-18-1
Brown 12 3 0-9-3 2-12-4

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Upcoming Games

Jan. 22 - at Dartmouth
Jan. 23 - at Harvard
Jan. 29 - Quinnipiac
Jan. 30 - Princeton

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WOMEN'S HOCKEY

The Engineers went 1-1-0 last week, blanking Brown (2-0) on Friday, before falling to Yale (4-3) on Saturday. Senior Allysen Weidner (Wichita, KS) had a goal and an assist against the Bulldogs.

Rensselaer (8-10-5; 5-4-3 ECACH) resumes its season-long league road trip on Friday and Saturday, when it visits league foes Dartmouth and sixth-ranked Harvard, respectively. Live stats and an online video stream will be available at http://dartmouthsports.com/SportSelect.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=11600&KEY=&SPID=4726&SPSID=48908 on Friday and http://www.gocrimson.com/sports/wice/2009-10/schedule on Satuday.

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