Monday, January 9, 2012

Women's Hockey - Colgate & Cornell (6/7 Jan)

With the holiday break behind them, RPI took to the ice in the first of seven straight league weekends which will close out the 2011-12 season. After ending 2011 with five losses in six games, including a 10-0 thrashing by Clarkson, RPI desperately needed a win over a Colgate squad just ahead of them in the standings, and they got it, posting a 4-1 victory over the Raiders before falling 3-0 to a powerful, albeit depleted Cornell squad.

Colgate

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

Castignetti/Vadner
Le Donne/Walsh
Schilter/Marzario

O'Brien

As the race to make the playoffs truly heats up over the tail end of the season, it becomes more and more critical to pick up points wherever possible - but nowhere moreso than the teams you're trying to catch in the standings. With RPI hovering around the bottom of the pack, and both Colgate and Brown just a point ahead, the game proved a ripe opportunity for the Engineers to do just that.

An early power play did little to help the Engineers find their momentum, as RPI put only a single shot on net during the advantage. Colgate came out firing after the penalty kill, putting several shots on netminder Kelly O'Brien before Melissa Kueber put a puck home from close range at 5:57 to give the visitors a 1-0 lead.

RPI would answer before the end of the period, as Taylor Horton knotted the game at one with a shot over Kimberly Sass's glove at 17:10.

Eleeza Cox put the Engineers ahead late in the second period, tapping a loose puck over the outstretched stick of Sass after the Colgate goalie made a nice play to stop a 2-on-1 opportunity for the Engineers. Cox made it a two goal game with her team-leading eighth goal of the season - with just 1:04 left in the third period after a brillian takeaway by Alisa Harrison behind the Colgate net. Harrison slid the puck forward to Cox, who was flying into the slot and left undefended for an easy one-timer past Sass.

Cox's goal, while not on the power play, came just after the tail end of the final of three penalties in a row for the Raiders in the third period, which stifled their comeback attempts. Madison Marzario scored her second of the season into an empty net to seal the game at 4-1.

Cornell

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

Castignetti/Vadner
Le Donne/Marzario
Schilter/Walsh

O'Brien

Cornell entered the game with six of their top players out of the lineup as they represented Team Canada at the Meco Cup in Germany, but the shortened bench did not disrupt the Big Red's winning ways. After trouncing Union 9-1 the night before despite dressing just 11 skaters, the same lineup took to the ice in Troy and worked its way to a 3-0 shutout and a 30-15 advantage in shots.

Cornell's Kendice Ogilvie scored from the slot at 11:07 of the first despite being surrounded by three RPI skaters, ripping the puck stick side on O'Brien for a 1-0 lead.

The teams traded a long series of penalties in the second period as the game got surprisingly rough. After combining for two slashing calls, a checking call, and three roughing calls, Cornell finally cashed in on a power play opportunity at 13:53 of the period when Monika Leck was given a little too much room to maneuver and fed a precise pass through the crease to Laura Fortino for an glove-side tap-in past O'Brien.

The Big Red extended their lead to three with just 22 seconds remaining in the middle frame, with Brianne Jenner firing a laser of a shot over O'Brien's shoulder from a surprisingly sharp angle.

Despite the two goals allowed, it was a rather good period defensively for the Engineers, who held Cornell to just six shots on goal in the frame. Unfortunately, RPI managed just two shots of their own in the same period, and four in the third - simply not enough to pick up any goals against a loaded Cornell squad.

Cornell made it clear once again that they are the team to beat in the ECAC, skating with just over half a full complement of skaters yet still not getting fatigued and cruising to a fairly easy win. Credit to RPI for keeping the score close, but Cornell clearly performs at a higher level and appears more than deserving of their current #3 national ranking.

RPI hits the road next weekend for a pair at Dartmouth (7pm Friday) and Harvard (4pm Saturday). WRPI will not have coverage of the road games, however audio and video will likely be available from the home teams. Check the RPI Athletics website closer to game day for links, or check Without a Peer on Twitter for score updates. The Engineers return to the Capital District the following weekend for a home-and-home with Union which will prove critical if the Engineers hope to make the playoffs.

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RPI vs. Colgate
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/6/12 – 3:00pm
RPI 4, Colgate 1

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:
Video Highlights (no audio): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KFB5yeBks34

RECORD: 5-12-4 (2-5-2 ECAC)

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RPI vs. Cornell
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/7/12 – 3:00pm
Cornell 3, RPI 0

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:
Video Highlights (no audio): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vrLch-2vUs

RECORD: 5-13-4 (2-6-2 ECAC)

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ECAC Standings
                GP    Pts     Conf    All
Quinnipiac 14 20 9-3-2 13-8-2
Cornell 9 16 8-1 12-2
Princeton 14 14 6-6-2 7-9-4
Clarkson 10 13 6-3-1 12-6-4
Harvard 10 13 6-3-1 9-5-1
Dartmouth 10 12 5-3-2 8-5-2
St. Lawrence 10 11 5-4-1 10-7-3
Brown 9 7 2-4-3 5-5-6
Colgate 9 7 3-5-1 8-11-1
Rensselaer 10 6 2-6-2 5-13-4
Union 10 3 1-8-1 3-16-2
Yale 9 2 1-8 1-15
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Upcoming Games

Jan. 13 - at Dartmouth (7pm)
Jan. 14 - at Harvard (4pm)
Jan. 20 - Yale (7pm)
Jan. 21 - Brown (4pm)
Jan. 27 - at Union (3pm)
Jan. 28 - Union (3pm)

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