Sunday, February 27, 2011

Women's Hockey - ECAC Quarterfinals (Game 2)

The Engineers didn’t have enough left in the tank to keep up with Cornell for a second game, and a frustrating season for RPI ended on Saturday in a 6-1 loss in Ithaca. With the win, the Big Red move on to the ECAC semifinals, while RPI makes its departure into the offseason.

Game 2

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

Le Donne/Vadner
Castignetti/Daniels
Marzario

van der Bliek

Sonja van der Bliek held the Engineers in their first playoff game against Cornell; as it would turn out on Saturday, her efforts were not enough to keep the high-powered Big Red offense at bay.

Cornell notched the first goal for the second game in a row as Rebecca Johnston (who scored the last second game-tying goal Friday) opened the scoring at 2:13. Receiving a nice pass from Brianne Jenner behind the RPI net, Johnston slid a quick shot under van der Bliek for the 1-0 lead.

The Engineers held the Big Red off the board for the rest of the period, but managed a paltry two shots on goal, even with a power play opportunity. Cornell struck early once again in the second period as Chelsea Karpenko scored just 55 seconds in, taking a Catherine White faceoff win and roofing it past van der Bliek.

RPI cut the Big Red lead in half three minutes later as Alisa Harrison took a pass from Smelker and skated in to beat netminder Lauren Slebodnick and make it 2-1. That would be the end of the Engineers’ scoring, and Cornell would shift to a higher gear, racking up a whopping 19 shots in the second period while the Engineers could only manage three more of their own.

Johnston made it 3-1 in favor of the Big Red at 7:39 of the second, beating van der Bliek five-hole off a pass from Karlee Overguard.

The Big Red broke the game open in the third period, notching three more goals en route to the 6-1 final score. White beat van der Bliek high on the glove side at 5:06 of the final frame, Johnston made it a hat trick at 13:54 and Karpenko notched her second of the game to close out the scoring at 16:01.

In the end, the series played out how most may have expected. RPI hung on and made a game of it in the first meeting of the weekend, but Cornell’s depth and talent proved to be the difference maker in the second game as the Big Red simply outlasted the Engineers and capitalized against a depleted RPI squad.

RPI will look to regroup during the offseason and fill the holes in the lineup left by the graduation of Sydney O’Keefe, Kendra Dunlop, and Sonja van der Bliek. With 3 forwards, a defenseman, and a goaltender lined up for next season, the Engineers will look to have a little more wiggle room in fielding a full contingent of skaters in each game, but how they handle goaltending in the wake of van der Bliek’s graduation remains to be seen. We’ll take a look at the incoming recruits and next season’s outlook during the offseason.

In the meantime, all eyes are on the men as they enter the ECAC playoffs hosting Colgate next weekend at the Field House.

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#8 RPI at #1 Cornell
ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals Game 2 – Lynah Rink (Ithaca, NY)
2/26/11 – 4:00pm
Cornell 6, RPI 1 – Cornell wins best of 3 series 2-0

BOX SCORES:
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1011/boxes/wcorren1.f26
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2011/02/26/rensselaer-vs-cornell/

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2011/2/26/WICE_0226110312.aspx
Cornell: http://cornellbigred.com/news/2011/2/26/WICE_0226113709.aspx

RECORD: 10-18-7 (0-2 playoffs, 0-2 quarterfinals)

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Playoff Standings (after game 2):

#1 Cornell vs. #8 RPI –2-0 Cornell (3-2 OT, 6-1) – Cornell Advances
#2 Harvard vs. #7 SLU – 2-0 Harvard (6-1, 8-3) – Harvard Advances
#3 Dartmouth vs. #6 Clarkson – Tied 1-1 (4-1 Clarkson, 4-2 Dartmouth) - Game 3 Today, 2pm
#4 Princeton vs. #5 Quinnipiac – 2-0 Quinnipiac (2-1, 2-0) – Quinnipiac Advances

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