Monday, September 26, 2011

Women's Hockey - Toronto Aeros (23 Sep)

RPI opened the 2011-2012 season at Houston Field House this weekend, as the Engineers took on the Toronto Junior Aeros in an exhibition before they jump into the season with three straight weeks on the road.

Despite play which favored the Engineers for much of the game, the Aeros presented quite a challenge and it was only with a goal in the final ten seconds that the Engineers picked up a 3-2 win

Toronto Aeros

Cox/Harrison/Vandegrift
Smelker/Mahoney/Svoboda
Sanders/Guillemette/Walsh
Letuligasenoa/Mankey

Le Donne/Vadner
Castignetti/Marzario
Schilter

Piper
O'Brien

RPI took to the ice Friday night with three goaltenders in the line up, and that didn't include the only returning netminder, Shannon Ramelot. Coach Burke used the exhibition opportunity to get the two freshmen netminders some playing time, electing to start Brianna Piper for the first half of the game.

It didn't take long for RPI to get rolling, as Sierra Vadner gave the Engineers a 1-0 lead just 2:18 into the game when she sent a lofting shot on goal from the right point which sailed right past Aeros goalie Sarah Stephens.

RPI laid on the pressure early but Toronto tied the game at 8:55 when Victoria Andreakos tipped a shot from the point past Piper, giving the Engineer netminder little chance at making the stop. RPI continued to pressure, however - and early in the second period it paid off as captain Alisa Harrison put home the rebound of an Eleeza Cox shot to take a 2-1 lead.

RPI switched goalies at the midpoint of the second, and as Kelly O'Brien took the ice the Aeros seemingly stepped up their game, with much better puck control and pressure. Shots were hard to come by for the visitors while RPI peppered the Aeros net, but Laura Stacey capitalized on a two-on-one late in the second to again tie the game. Although RPI outshot Toronto 15-3 in the first and 14-8 in the second, the game was getting increasingly close.

It looked like the teams were headed to overtime despite a big push from the Engineers in the third, but back-to-back-to-back penalties on the Aeros allowed the Engineers to chip away and look for the equalizer. With just ten seconds left in regulation and Toronto's Erin Ambrose off on a hooking call, freshman Taylor Mahoney took a pass from Jordan Smelker at the goal post and put it home for the game-winning goal. RPI would end up outshooting the Aeros by a 45-16 margin despite the close final score.

A few miscellaneous observations from the game - Eleeza Cox was a serious presence on the ice, factoring in more than a few nice plays, picking up a pair of assists, and leading the team with seven shots on goal. Jordan Smelker picked up an assist and looks to have picked up right where she left off last season, at one point breaking away from double coverage by Aeros defenders to carry the puck into the offensive zone singlehandedly. Both RPI goalies looked okay, but a little shaky. This was true of many of the skaters as well, and we can assume will pass as the team gets a few games under its belt.

All told, RPI played a good game against a strong Aeros squad who just last year captured the PWHL championship, and went on to hang eight goals on Colgate the next day. The Engineers now hit the road for the next three weekends straight, starting with a pair at UConn on Friday and Saturday.

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RPI vs. Toronto Aeros
Exhibition Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
9/23/11 – 7:00pm
RPI 3, Aeros 2

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:

RECORD: 0-0 (0-0 ECAC)

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Upcoming Games

Sep. 30 - @UConn (7pm)
Oct. 1 - @UConn (3pm)
Oct. 7 - @Vermont (7pm)
Oct. 8 - @Vermont (4pm)
Oct. 14 - @Niagara (7pm)
Oct. 15- @Niagara (4pm)

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