Monday, November 12, 2012

Women's Hockey - Princeton & Quinnipiac (9/10 Nov)


Looking to carry some momentum forward from a Halloween victory over Vermont, RPI took the ice at home against Princeton and Quinnipiac. Instead of building on the Vermont win, the Engineers instead dropped a pair of one-goal decisions - a wild 6-5 affair against Princeton on Friday night, and a 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac on Saturday in which the Engineers outplayed their visitors for long stretches.

With the two losses, the Engineers start out the ECAC schedule 0-4 and sit alone at the bottom of the league standings with no points and two weeks of non-conference play to get back on track before a rematch of this weekend's games on the road.

Princeton

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

Daniels/Banks
Godin/Marzario
Le Donne/Schilter

Piper

Most people probably wouldn't have predicted back-to-back five-goal games for the Engineers after their win against Vermont. Even fewer would have predicted RPI to score five on Princeton then still take a loss, but that's exactly what happened on Friday as Princeton took a 6-5 victory in a back-and-forth game that never saw a two-goal lead for either team.

RPI seemed to be off to a good start when Lauren Wash took a feed from Madison Marzario, skated into the slot and ripped a shot past Kimberly Newell at 1:05 for an early 1-0 lead.

Sally Butler tied the game at 3:14, putting home a rebound on a delayed penalty after a defensive zone turnover left Olivia Mucha with the puck for the initial shot, and shortly thereafter the Engineers found themselves trying to kill a 5-on-3. Molly Contini scored on the 2-man advantage to give Princeton a 2-1 lead, but Eleeza Cox tied it at two with a power play tally of her own at 10:38.

The game nearly went to intermission tied at two, but Mucha was able to tap in a pass that snuck through three Engineer skaters to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead heading into the first intermission. The play was set up after Piper gloved a puck and was forced to play it by the officials with Princeton skaters heading for the net; they stole the puck behind the net and set up a possession which led to Mucha's goal.

The pace didn't slow down in the second period, with the Engineers and Tigers trading a pair of goals each in the middle frame. Alexa Gruschow tied things up early in the period, poking home a loose puck near the Princeton crease, but Mucha struck again on a power play in the middle of the period to regain the lead, 4-3.

The teams traded another pair of power play goals, with Toni Sanders scoring for RPI and Alex Kinney for Princeton each picking up a tally, to head into the locker room in the exact same spot as the first time, with Princeton leading 5-4 instead of 3-2.

Early in the third period, Kristen Jakubowski (playing in her first game since February 2011 due to a concussion) tied the game at five and started off a period which was nearly all in RPI's favor - except for one small problem, as Molly Contini was able to score Princeton's 6th goal from the doorstep at 8:11, after the RPI players got caught staring at the puck carrier and allowed Contini and a teammate to sneak in from the slot for an easy tap-in.

The Engineers would throw everything they had at Princeton in an effort to get yet another tying goal, outshooting the visitors 12-5 in the final period, but fell short in their attempt to tie the game for the fifth time and fell 6-5.

Quinnipiac

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

Godin/Marzario
Daniels/Middlebrook
Le Donne/Schilter

O'Brien

After a disappointing finish on Friday, Saturday looked to be another tough game against a Quinnipiac team we have come to count on for playing chippy, clutch and grab hockey. Unfortunately for the Engineers, there seemed to be no trouble with this style of play from the officials, who turned a blind eye on several occasions while Engineers were hauled down by the shoulders, instead awarding a whopping two minor penalties to the visitors in blue as they stole a 3-2 victory despite being outshot and outworked for much of the game.

RPI got off to a bad start in this game - make no bones about it. Shorthanded just a minute and a half into the game, the Engineers fell behind 1-0 on a Nicole Kosta power play goal, then saw the defecit grow to 2-0 just a minute and a half later when Nicole Brown was able to skate across the slot and catch Kelly O'Brien moving for another goal.

Lauren Wash cut the Bobcats' lead to 2-1 in the final minute of the first, poking home a puck from just outside the crease as nearly the entire QU squad tried unsuccessfully to fall on it in front of the net.

The second period, despite RPI having to kill a pair of penalties, saw the Engineers outshoot their opponent 10-7 and control most of the period. Victoria Vigilanti was solid in net as usual for the Bobcats, holding off the offensive pressure from the Engineers.

Kelly Babstock extended the QU lead to 3-1 in the third period when a puck found its way to the back of the net with a pile of skaters falling on top of O'Brien, leaving her little chance at making a save.

RPI pressured hard as the third period wore on, pulling O'Brien with about two minutes left in favor of the extra attacker with a 2-goal hill to climb. Eleeza Cox got the Engineers halfway there with a quick one-timer while sliding across the slot at 18:39, but a second goal proved elusive and RPI ended up on the short end of the 3-2 final score.

RPI's penalty kill continued to be a sore spot this weekend as the Engineers were just 5/9 (.555) on the kill over two games (although they allowed just the early power play goal on four chances against QU). They remain last in the nation on the kill at 65.9%, with the next six teams ahead all above 73%.

The Engineers now have two weeks of non-conference play, at home against Robert Morris next weekend and at Syracuse the following, to work on their special teams play and look to make some improvements heading back into league play, with a rematch at Quinnipiac and Princeton first on the agenda. After the Syracuse weekend it'll be all ECAC games for the Engineers with the exception of a weekend pair against Providence in January.

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RPI vs. Princeton
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/9/12 - 7pm
Princeton 6, RPI 5

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/11/09/princeton-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wprnren1.n09

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2012/11/9/WICE_1109124240.aspx
Princeton: http://www.goprincetontigers.com/ViewArticle.dbml?ATCLID=205731766
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZC4m-xIk1a4

RECORD: 2-6-1 (0-3-0 ECAC)

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RPI vs. Quinnipiac
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
11/10/12 - 4pm
Quinnipiac 3, RPI 2

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/11/10/quinnipiac-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wquiren1.n10

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2012/11/10/WICE_1110123303.aspx
QU: http://www.quinnipiacbobcats.com/sports/wice/2012-13/releases/20121110zn3drz
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVuKrYa_5ds

RECORD: 2-7-1 (0-4-0 ECAC)

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Upcoming Games

Nov. 16 - Robert Morris (3pm)
Nov. 17 - Robert Morris (3pm)
Nov. 23 - at Syracuse (7pm)
Nov. 24 - at Syracuse (4pm)

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