There's not much harder of a way to start off the ECAC season than a road trip to the North Country, and RPI was reminded of that fact this weekend, suffering a tough 3-2 defeat to St. Lawrence before being blown out 6-2 at Clarkson the following afternoon - including a stretch of six minutes in the second period which saw the Golden Knights score four goals.
Mahoney/Mari Mankey/Missy Mankey
A strong comeback attempt wasn't enough to salvage any points for the Engineers on Friday afternoon, as a 3-2 deficit at the end of the first period held through the remainder of the game against a St. Lawrence squad looking for their first win of the season. The Saints, reeling from several consecutive defeats against some of the top teams in the nation, took advantage of two goals by Kelly Sabatine to grab the 3-2 lead late in the first period.
The Engineers opened the scoring a mere 56 seconds into the game when Taylor Horton scored on a 2-on-1 with Katie Daniels. Sabatine tied the game for the Saints at 8:12 and SLU capitalized on an RPI penalty just over two minutes later to take a 2-1 lead.
RPI evened the score a few minutes later when Mari Mankey scored her second of the season, taking advantage of a SLU turnover, but once again the penalty kill would prove to be the Engineers' nemesis and Sabatine picked up the game winner at 17:45 on the power play.
After surrendering three goals on fourteen shots in the first period, RPI's Brianna Piper would be relieved by Kelly O'Brien for the remainder of the game, and O'Brien held the Saints scoreless while the Engineers tried furiously to even the score. After being outshot 14-7 in the first period, RPI held the Saints to just three shots in the middle frame and eight in the third, but were unable to beat the Saints' Carmen MacDonald again after their pair of goals in the first period.
If Friday afternoon was rough for the Engineers, things would quickly go from bad to worse on Saturday as RPI surrendered three more power play goals, and allowed four in a span of six minutes en route to a 6-2 thrashing by the #4-ranked Golden Knights at Cheel Arena in Potsdam.
Despite playing a relatively tight first period, the Engineers only managed two shots on goal in the first twenty minutes, and fell behind on an Olivia Howe goal with 3:45 left in the opening frame.
It was the second period that would prove the Engineers' undoing, starting with a Clarkson power play which opened the floodgates. Danielle Skirrow and Carly Mercer each scored power play goals, with Daniella Mateucci and Shannon MacAulay adding two more to put Clarkson up 5-0 just past the midpoint of the second.
With goalies swapped once again - this time O'Brien relieved by Piper - RPI's top line would answer late in the second, with Jordan Smelker getting the Engineers on the board at 17:14 and Alexa Gruschow scoring a power play goal less than a minute later after Clarkson's Brittany Styner took a cross-checking call on Smelker's goal. The pair of goals would be all RPI would manage on the afternoon.
Clarkson tacked on one more power play goal in the third period for good measure, making the final score 6-2 and squarely outshooting the Engineers by a 30-14 margin.
The Engineers will now have a quick turnaround with a Halloween night game this Wednesday at Vermont (7pm) followed by a weekend off before a return to ECAC action November 9 and 10 against Princeton (7pm) and Quinnipiac (4pm) at the Field House.
RPI at St. Lawrence
ECAC Hockey Game – Appleton Arena (Canton, NY)
10/26/12 - 4pm
SLU 3, RPI 2
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wrenstl1.o26
RECORD: 1-4-1 (0-1-0 ECAC)
RPI at Clarkson
ECAC Hockey Game – Cheel Arena (Canton, NY)
10/27/12 - 3:30pm
Clarkson 6, RPI 2
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wclkren1.o27
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9R3uIL4okE
RECORD: 1-5-1 (0-2-0 ECAC)
Oct. 31 - at Vermont (7pm)
Nov. 9 - Princeton (7pm)
Nov. 10 - Quinnipiac (4pm)
Nov. 16 - Robert Morris (3pm)
Nov. 17 - Robert Morris (3pm)