Sunday, October 16, 2011

Women's Hockey - at Niagara (14/15 Oct)

A great start to the season took a turn for the worse this weekend, as the RPI Engineers found themselves on the losing side of a pair of games against the Niagara Purple Eagles. RPI fell 5-4 on a penalty shot goal in overtime of a high-flying, back-and-forth affair on Friday, before getting edged 3-2 the following afternoon. In total, the Engineers squandered two-goal leads three times en route to the final results on the weekend.

Friday

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

Castignetti/Schilter
Le Donne/Vadner
Marzario

Piper

An unusual event in college hockey broke a 4-4 deadlock in overtime when RPI's Andie Le Donne was called for hooking Niagara's Kristen Richards on a breakaway, leading to a penalty shot. With just 52 seconds remaining in overtime, Niagara elected the penalty shot over the optional minor, and Richards lifted the puck past RPI netminder Brianna Piper for the game-winning goal.

The game had started in the Engineers' favor, however, with RPI jumping out to a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Taylor Horton at 6:49 of the first, and Jill Vandegrift at exactly 1:00 of the second.

The momentum that carried the Engineers through the first period, and led to a 7-5 advantage in shots, evaporated in a hurry after Vandegrift's goal, when Jordan Smelker and Kathryn Schilter took back-to-back penalties to put the Engineers down 5-on-3. Kelsey Gunn got Niagara on the board during the 5-on-3 to make it a 2-1 game, and Kristen Richards tied it shortly after the second penalty expired.

Despite a heavy shot disparity in favor of Niagara, RPI regained the lead before the end of the frame, with Smelker beating goalie Sarah Moses for a 3-2 lead heading into the second intermission.

Another quick goal to start the period gave RPI its two goal lead back, as Toni Sanders put a quick shot past Moses 1:34 into the third period. That would end the Engineers' scoring and Niagara would spend much of the remainder of the third period on the power play, racking up 15 shots to RPI's 5.

Jessica Hitchcock cut the Engineer lead to 4-3 at 11:12 of the third, with Sierra Vadner off for slashing, and Jenna Hendrikx again tied the game just over two minutes later after Amanda Castignetti took a body checking call.

Overtime saw just three shots on goal before the penalty shot game-winner for Niagara. In total, the Engineers were outshot 32-18 on the evening. Kristen Richards was named first star for her penalty shot game-winner, while Jessica Hitchcock picked up second star with a goal and an assist. RPI's Madison Marzario earned the third star, finishing the evening with two assists and a +2 rating.

Saturday

Cox/Harrison/Horton
Smelker/Vandegrift/Svoboda
Mahoney/Guillemette/Sanders
Letuligasenoa/Sanders

Marzario/Vadner
Le Donne/Schilter
Castignetti

O'Brien

As has become the pattern over the early season, Coach Burke again switched goalies for Saturday's game, opting to play Kelly O'Brien over Brianna Piper. With Piper stopping the first seven shots she saw, the Engineers took the opportunity to capitalize against Niagara's new goalie for the afternoon affair, freshman Abby Ryplanski.

Toni Sanders scored unassisted at 5:32 of the game when she lobbed a weak shot on net from the right point which snuck over Ryplanski's shoulder for a 1-0 lead. Laura Guillemette doubled the lead to 2-0 at 9:07, when Sanders fed a beautiful pass from behind the net for an easy one-timer in the slot.

Niagara put a damper on RPI's otherwise good first period when Jenna Hendrikx capitalized on a failed breakaway by Jessica Hitchcock, beating O'Brien to cut the lead to 2-1 with just 47 seconds left in the first.

It was Niagara's turn for an early-period goal in the second, as May Wilkerson put home a Kaleigh Chippy rebound to tie it at two at the 2:26 mark.

Unlike Friday, the Engineers could not find the punch to retake the lead, and it was Niagara's Kelsey Welch put the Purple Eagles ahead with just over five minutes left in regulation. A few last-minute chances missed their mark and the 3-2 score would hold up to give Niagara the weekend sweep. The weekend would mark the first win and first sweep for Niagara's coach Josh Sciba, as well as the first career wins for both Moses and Ryplanski.

Kelsey Welch's game winner netted her first star on Saturday, with Toni Sanders' goal and assist good for second star. Ryplanski picked up the third star in her winning effort for the Purple Eagles.

RPI returns home next weekend for a pair against the Colonials of Robert Morris University. The games on Friday (7pm) and Saturday (4pm) are not expected to be covered by WRPI, but will be available for pay-per-view video streaming and live stats at http://www.rpiathletics.com. Live tweets will also be available, follow @without_a_peer for updates.

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RPI at Niagara
Non-Conference Game – Dwyer Arena (Lewiston, NY)
10/14/11 – 7:00pm
Niagara 5, RPI 4 (OT)

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:

RECORD: 2-1-2 (0-0 ECAC)

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RPI at Niagara
Non-Conference Game – Dwyer Arena (Lewiston, NY)
10/15/11 – 2:00pm
Niagara 3, RPI 2

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:

RECORD: 2-2-2 (0-0 ECAC)

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Upcoming Games

Oct. 21 - Robert Morris (7pm)
Oct. 22 - Robert Morris (4pm)
Oct. 28 - Quinnipiac (3pm)
Oct. 29 - Princeton (3pm)
Nov. 4 - St. Lawrence (7pm)
Nov. 5 - Clarkson (4pm)

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