Sunday, December 5, 2010

Women's Hockey - Union Home & Home (3/4 Dec)

Going into the season, there were two teams the Engineers needed to make sure they beat – Brown and Union. With the Bears and Dutchwomen all but guaranteed to occupy the bottom two spots in the league, any points surrendered to them were points RPI’s opponents would likely hold over them come the end of the season. A few weeks ago, RPI gave two points to Brown on a late goal and 1-0 loss – this weekend RPI surrendered a big point to Union in a 3-3 tie on Saturday after having beaten the Dutchwomen 4-1 the night before.

Friday

Smelker/Harrison/Horton
Sanders/Dunlop/Jakubowski
O’Keefe/Vandegrift/Mankey
Letuligasenoa/Guillemette/Stapleton

Le Donne/Vadner
Castignetti/Marzario

Van der Bliek

The Engineers blazed out of the gate Friday night about five minutes into the game when Taylor Horton took a feed from Alisa Harrison who had the puck behind the Union net. Horton wasted no time with a quick one-timer from just a few feet out which beat Union netminder Kate Gallagher for a 1-0 lead. Just over four minutes later, Kristen Jakubowski and Kendra Dunlop broke out in a 2-on-1 and Dunlop fed Jakubowski for an easy tip-in and a 2-0 lead at 8:16. RPI continued to dominate in the penalty-free first period, racking up 12 shots to Union’s two in the opening frame.

Union managed to kill a pair of back-to-back penalties in the middle of the second period, but just past the 16:00 mark of the period the Engineers’ Toni Sanders outskated a Union defender for a breakaway opportunity which she made the most of, beating Gallagher to extend the RPI lead to 3-0.

RPI took four consecutive penalties in the late second and early third periods, including over a minute of 5-on-3 time late in the second, but held Union off the scoreboard through each power play opportunity. Back at even strength, Union did manage to break Sonja van der Bliek’s shutout bid at 11:38 of the third as a scrum in front of the RPI net released the puck to Union’s Marissa Gentile, who fired it past van der Bliek to cut the RPI lead to 3-1.

The Engineers would put the game on ice in the final minute as Sydney O’Keefe hit the empty Union net from center ice to make it a 4-1 game. After posting just two shots in the first period, Union picked up a respectable 20 shots in the second and third, turning up the pressure as the game went on, but the early RPI lead was enough to hold Union down late in the game.

Saturday

Smelker/Harrison/Horton
O’Keefe/Vandegrift/Mankey
Letuligasenoa/Guillemette/Stapleton
Sanders/Dunlop

Jakubowski/Le Donne
Vadner/Marzario

Van der Bliek

With only 18 skaters on the roster, RPI has had little room for injury this season. The injury bug bit the Engineers on Saturday as they were forced to play with just 15 skaters and three regular defensemen. Forward Clare Padmore has been out since the second game at Syracuse last weekend, while defensemen Katie Daniels has been out of the lineup since suffering a concussion at Syracuse last Saturday and Amanda Castignetti sprained her neck at Union on Friday night.

With just three regulars on the blue line, junior Kristen Jakubowski was moved back to defense for Saturday’s game at Union, a logical move as Jakubowski was originally recruited to play defense and is even listed as F/D on the roster. Even so, with only 4 defensemen dressed for the second game in a row, fatigue promised to be a factor late in the game.

Just like Friday night, the Engineers came out firing on Saturday – completely dominating the Dutchwomen and racking up a 14-0 advantage in shots on goal in the opening period. While the Engineers rang at least two shots off the goal post in the period, they couldn’t quite hone in on the net and headed to the locker room scoreless after the first period.

It didn’t take long after the start of the second period for RPI to break the scoreless tie. Sierra Vadner skated into the Union zone on a 2-on-2 and dropped the puck back to a trailing Toni Sanders, who beat Gallagher for a 1-0 lead at 2:38 of the second. Less than a minute later, a charging Nona Letuligasenoa took a feed from Alisa Harrison on the goal line and fired it past Gallagher to extend the lead to 2-0 before losing her balance and crashing through the net. Gallagher was pulled in favor of sophomore Alana Marcinko after the second goal.

Union cut the RPI lead in half at the 10:32 mark of the second period with Sydney O’Keefe in the box serving a tripping minor. Emma Rambo found herself side-by-side with an Engineer defender racing for the net, and Rambo fired a wrist shot which beat van der Bliek to make it 2-1. Another power play goal just past the midpoint of the third period tied the game for the Dutchwomen as junior Dania Simmonds fired a rocket from the point which snuck through traffic and found the back of the net to make it a 2-all game.

After failing to capitalize on a power play shortly after the Union goal, RPI looked to implode as Union made it a 3-2 game with less than two minutes left in regulation. After making a big save on a Union 2-on-1, van der Bliek left a juicy rebound in the slot which Union’s Callee Heywood buried to give Union their first lead since the first period of their game against Brown on November 12.

RPI came within seconds of losing the game in regulation, but with van der Bliek on the bench in favor of the extra attacker for over a minute, RPI won a draw in the Union zone with 15 ticks on the clock. The puck made it to O’Keefe who spun around and fired a blind backhand shot at Marcinko which snuck through 5-hole to tie the game at three with just 11.9 seconds left on the clock. Neither team would capitalize in the overtime, despite an RPI power play just 25 seconds into the extra frame, and RPI handed Union its second ECAC point on the season (the other being a tie with Brown) and allowed the Dutchwomen to move to 1-12-2 on the season. With the tie, the Engineers moved to 6-7-6 on the season, tying the program record for ties in a season. RPI is just over .500 in conference play, with a 4-3-1 record in league play.

RPI has a month off for the holidays now, which should be a blessing in allowing injured players to get healthy before continuing ECAC play after the holidays. RPI next hosts Dartmouth and Harvard in a pair of 3pm games on January 7th and 8th. Both games will have video available on B2, and in a rare treat both will be carried on WRPI radio as both the women and men are home for ECAC games that weekend.

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RPI at Union
ECAC Hockey Game – Messa Rink (Schenectady, NY)
12/3/10 – 7:00pm
RPI 4, Union 1

BOX SCORES:
RECAPS:
RECORD: 6-7-5 (4-3-0 ECAC)

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RPI vs. Union
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
12/4/10 – 4:00pm
RPI 3, Union 3 (OT)

BOX SCORES:
RECAPS:
RECORD: 6-7-6 (4-3-1 ECAC)

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ECAC Standings Points ECAC All
Cornell                 16              8-0             13-1
Quinnipiac 12 6-5 13-6-1
Dartmouth 10 5-3 6-4
Harvard 10 4-4-2 4-4-2
Rensselaer 9 4-3-1 6-7-6
Princeton 9 4-6-1 4-10-1
St. Lawrence 8 4-3 8-7-2
Clarkson 7 3-3-1 6-10-3
Yale 7 3-4-1 4-8-2
Colgate 6 3-5 6-12
Brown 4 1-5-2 2-8-2
Union 2 0-6-2 1-12-2
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Upcoming Games

Jan. 7 – Dartmouth (3pm)
Jan. 8 – Harvard (3pm)
Jan. 14 – Cornell (7pm)
Jan. 15 – Colgate (4pm)
Jan. 21 – at Harvard (7pm)
Jan. 22 – at Dartmouth (4pm)

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