Sunday, January 22, 2012

Women's Hockey - Yale & Brown (20/21 Jan)

With the ECAC season already approaching its end - just ten games remained at the start of the weekend - the Engineers needed to pick up points against Yale and Brown to say the least. Unfortunately, RPI picked up just two of four points on the weekend with a 4-2 victory over Yale on Friday before dropping a disappointing 3-2 decision to Brown on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers are now two points behind Brown in the race for the final playoff spot, with the Bears holding a game in hand over RPI.





Yale picked up the game's first goal, but four unanswered tallies from the Engineers in the second period would be more than enough to lead the Engineers to a 4-2 victory over the Bulldogs at Houston Field House on Friday. Eight Engineers would record points in the game, with no player tallying more than one as the scoring was spread across the lineup.

After a strong first period from the Engineers, which saw the home squad outshoot the visitors 14-6, the teams headed to the locker rooms scoreless - despite several power play opportunities each way in what quickly became a very physical affair.

Yale would strike first early in the second period - another early-period goal the likes of which we have seen on more than a few occasions this season - with Jackie Raines putting a rebound opportunity past Brianna Piper from the doorstep for the 1-0 lead. The tables turned after the initial goal and the remainder of the period would be all RPI.

Laura Guillemette tied the game 5:01 into the middle frame on a rebound of her own. With Taylor Mahoney rushing down ice 1-on-1 with a Yale defender, Guillemette followed her into the zone. Mahoney took a shot through the defenseman which was steered aside by Genny Ladiges, but the rebound came right out front to Guillemette for the tap-in.

Jill Vandegrift put the Engineers ahead at 11:46, cashing in on a loose puck which popped out of a scrum in front of the Yale net during an RPI power play. Alisa Harrison extended the lead to 3-1 at 16:36 when Ladiges misplayed the puck behind her net and a miscommunication with her defenseman allowed Harrison to swoop in, collect the puck and wrap it around and into the wide open net.

With just three seconds remaining in the second period, Jordan Smelker provided the Engineers' fourth unanswered goal with a great individual effort to carry the puck through traffic in front of the Yale net before roofing a backhander past Ladiges. The Engineers would pile 24 shots on Ladiges in the period.

A series of RPI penalties in the final period gave Yale several opportunites, and although they would muster just five shots on goal, they would connect with one at 9:20 of the third, with Raines picking up her second of the game from the point. With the puck sneaking through nearly a half-dozen skaters in front of Piper, it appeared she never saw the puck until it was in the back of the net.

RPI ended the game having more than doubled the Bulldogs in shots, 44-20, en route to the 4-2 final score.





With two points in the bag after Friday night's win, RPI looked to build on the victory Saturday afternoon against Brown. With each point becoming more important as the games pass, the Engineers squandered an opportunity in allowing two goals on four shots in the second period, then taking a penalty just 15 seconds after tying the game late - and allowing Brown to score the game-winning goal on the ensuing power play.

A back-and-forth first period saw chances for both teams but few better than the one the Engineers got at the end of the period as they received nearly a minute and a half of 5-on-3 power play time following a pair of Brown penalties. RPI couldn't capitalize on the chance and instead it was Brown who gained the momentum with a goal just 31 seconds into the middle frame (sound familiar?). Controlling the puck in the RPI zone, Paige Pyett fired a shot from the point which Jessica Hoyle redirected past Piper for a 1-0 lead.

Janice Yang gave the Bears a 2-0 lead at 11:03 with a 4-on-3 power play goal, collecting the puck off her skate and sliding it around a sprawling Piper for the tally.

RPI battled back to tie the game in the third period, with Jill Vandegrift scoring at 2:51 of the final frame and Eleeza Cox tipped a puck past Katie Jamieson at 13:32 to knot the score at two.

At 13:47, Alisa Harrison would be sent off for interference and the Bears took just fifteen seconds to capitalize, with Alena Polenska putting a rebound past Piper for a 3-2 lead which would hold up through an RPI power play and a long string of extra attacker time for the Engineers.

The loss set the Engineers back by two points in the race for eighth place, with Brown holding both a two-point lead and a game in hand over the Engineers. Next weekend's games against Union will be critical for RPI - if they suffer another one of these letdowns that have plagued them the past few seasons against bottom-four teams, they may see their shot at the playoffs fade away before their eyes. The teams will meet in Schenectady at 3pm Friday and Troy the same time on Saturday.


RPI vs. Yale
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/20/12 – 7:00pm
RPI 4, Yale 2



RECORD: 6-15-4 (3-8-2 ECAC)


RPI vs. Brown
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/21/12 – 4:00pm
Brown 3, RPI 2



RECORD: 6-16-4 (3-9-2 ECAC)


ECAC Standings
                GP    Pts     Conf    All
Cornell 14 26 13-1 18-2
Quinnipiac 16 22 10-4-2 14-9-2
Harvard 14 19 9-4-1 12-6-1
Dartmouth 14 18 8-4-2 12-6-2
St. Lawrence 14 18 8-4-2 14-7-4
Clarkson 14 18 8-4-2 14-7-5
Princeton 16 16 7-7-2 8-10-4
Brown 13 10 3-6-4 6-7-7
Rensselaer 14 8 3-9-2 6-16-4
Colgate 14 7 3-10-1 8-16-1
Union 14 6 2-10-2 4-18-4
Yale 13 2 1-12 1-19

Upcoming Games

Jan. 27 - at Union (3pm)
Jan. 28 - Union (3pm)
Feb. 3 - at Cornell (7pm)
Feb. 4 - at Colgate (4pm)
Feb. 10 - Harvard (7pm)
Feb. 11 - Dartmouth (4pm)

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