Monday, October 8, 2012

Women's Hockey - UConn (5/6 Oct)


With no exhibition on the schedule this year, RPI opened up the season at home with a pair of non-conference games against UConn. In similar fashion to last year's openers against the same opponent, the Engineers walked away with a tie and a win, yielding a 4-1 lead to settle for a 4-4 tie on Friday before rebounding to win Saturday by a 5-3 margin.

Friday

Smelker/Gruschow/Svoboda
Mahoney/Wash/Horton
Sanders/Cox/Mari Mankey
Padmore/Missy Mankey

Daniels/Banks
Godin/Marzario
Middlebrook/Schilter

Piper

Fans got their first glimpse of this season's incarnation of the Engineers Friday evening, and the home squad got things moving early, notching two goals in the latter half of the first period to jump out to a 2-0 lead.

Freshman Alexa Gruschow opened things up with her first career goal at 13:51, putting home a rebound off a Jordan Smelker shot taken as the latter was falling to the ice. Mari Mankey scored the second goal in what would become an all-freshman affair, another case of being in the right place at the right time for a rebound.

Things looked to be solidly in RPI's favor to start the second as a UConn penalty was quickly converted into a 3-0 lead on Gruschow's second of the game, but the Huskies cut the defecit to 3-1 at 11:27 of the middle frame after appearing to bump Piper in the crease.

Lauren Wash restored RPI's three-goal lead at 14:41, but an odd goal cut the lead back to two as a puck tipped off Pipers stick and slowly looped over her head to drop over the line and in the net.

UConn cut the Engineers' lead to one at 13:19 of the third period, and with the extra attacker out in the final minute drew a checking call which allowed them to play 6-on-4 with time winding down.  It took just 17 seconds on the man advantage for the Huskies to tie things up on a scrum in front of Piper, with Rachel Farrel putting home her own rebound to knot things at four. A 5-0 shot advantage in the extra frame did nothing for RPI, as the Engineers were unable to pick up the game winner and settled for the 4-4 tie despite an overall 43-25 advantage in shots for the game.

Saturday

Smelker/Gruschow/Svoboda
Sanders/Mahoney/Horton
Padmore/Wash/Mari Mankey
Letuligasenoa/Walsh/Missy Mankey

Daniels/Banks
Godin/Marzario
Middlebrook/Schilter

O'Brien

With Friday night's goals all scored by freshmen, it would be no surprise on Saturday to see the Engineers' goals come from upperclassmen, including two from Ali Svoboda and one from Jordan Smelker, who combined on their line with freshman Alexa Gruschow for three goals and four assists en route to a 5-3 victory in Saturday's encore game against UConn.

Once again RPI scored first, this time just 3:20 into the game as Missy Mankey picked up a rebound just outside the crease and was greeted with a sprawling goaltender and a clear shot for the 1-0 lead.

Taylor Mahoney would double the Engineers' lead eleven minutes later, taking a feed from Toni Sanders behind the net an snapping it past UConn goalie Sarah Moses to double RPI's lead.

UConn would fight back to tie the game at two, with Kiana Nauheim firing a bomb from the point past Kelly O'Brien and Sarah MacDonnell notching the equalizer just three minutes into the second period on a feed from Stephanie Raithby from behind the Engineer net.

Svoboda would pick up the game's next two goals, giving RPI the lead as she put home a rebound from the doorstep and notching the eventual game winner with a wrist shot that beat Moses top shelf.

Smelker built the Engineers' lead to three at 4:06 of the third period with a spectacular effort that included fighting off a UConn defenseman before taking a blind backhand shot from one knee which snuck past Moses to make it 5-2.

UConn drew back to within two on a Michela Cava shorthanded breakaway goal, but that would be the end of the rally for the Huskies who fell 5-3 and were outshot 32-19 on the afternoon.

Early observations from the weekend - some much needed scoring was provided by the freshmen on Friday, led by Gruschow who on more than one occasion completely outhustled and outmanuevered her counterparts on the UConn squad.  Coupled with Smelker and Svoboda, the Engineers' current top line appears to be shaping up as a lethal threat, combining for twelve points on the weekend.

We saw another dose of goaltender rotation on the weekend, with Piper and O'Brien each getting a start, but did not see freshman Sara Till in action.

The RPI defense was suspect at times, with a few missed passes and miscues resulting in several scoring opportunities for the Huskies. With each of the three defensive pairings including a newcomer to the team, it's likely the pairings are still getting used to playing with one another and things will tighten up in the coming games.

RPI returns to the ice next weekend as they head to Boston for a set against BU and Northeastern. Game time will be 7pm on Friday at BU and 3pm on Saturday at Northeastern.

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RPI vs. Connecticut
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/5/12 - 7pm
RPI 4, UConn 4

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/10/05/connecticut-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wconren1.o05

RECAPS:
RPI: http://rpiathletics.com/news/2012/10/5/WICE_1005121637.aspx
UConn: http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/w-hockey/recaps/100512aaa.html
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=--dbqXOFv2k

RECORD: 0-0-1

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RPI vs. Connecticut
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
10/6/12 - 3pm
RPI 5, UConn 3

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/10/06/connecticut-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wconren1.o06

RECAPS:
RPI: http://rpiathletics.com/news/2012/10/6/WICE_1006120119.aspx
UConn: http://www.uconnhuskies.com/sports/w-hockey/recaps/100612aab.html
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3FGahNf8xM0

RECORD: 1-0-1

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Upcoming Games

Oct. 12 - at BU (7pm)
Oct. 13 - at Northeastern (3pm)
Oct. 20 - Union (4pm)
Oct. 26 - at St. Lawrence (4pm)
Oct. 27 - at Clarkson (3:30pm)

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