Monday, December 10, 2012

Women's Hockey - Brown & Yale (7/8 Dec)

When a team is struggling like the Engineers have been this season, the most important games tend to be the ones that are most winnable - against the other teams who are in the same boat. In recent seasons in the ECAC, these teams include Union, Colgate, Yale, and Brown. RPI had a chance to pick up points against two of the four this weekend and did so, earning a weekend sweep with a 3-0 shutout of Brown followed by a close 4-3 victory over Yale.

Brown

Smelker/Horton/Svoboda
Sanders/Gruschow/Mari Mankey
Wash/Cox/Walsh
Letuligasenoa

Daniels/Le Donne
Banks/Schilter
Godin/Marzario

O'Brien

After last weekend's nailbiter victory over Princeton, RPI had a little momentum heading into this weekend and took advantage of it on Friday, rolling to an easy 3-0 victory over Brown and the first shutout of the season for Kelly O'Brien.

Lauren Wash opened the scoring for RPI at 8:23 of the first period, forcing a turnover in the Brown zone and taking it to the net and past Brown goalie Aubree Moore for an unassisted tally.

The remainder of the first and second periods went by without further scoring, however the Engineers outshot their visitors by a 17-4 margin over the span.

Early in the third period, Toni Sanders made it a 2-0 lead when Moore misplayed the puck behind her own net, allowing Sanders to take the puck and quickly slide it to the front of the net and poke it in before anyone could get in position to make a save.

The Bears had opportunities to get back in the game in the latter half of the third period, with a penalty near the middle of the frame followed by a full two-minute 5-on-3 with 3:30 remaining, however O'Brien and the penalty killers held them off the board. Much of the 5-on-3 was effectively a 6-on-3 as Brown pulled their goalie, however this backfired in the long run as Jordan Smelker notched an empty net goal with 35 seconds left to put the game away by its final 3-0 score. O'Brien had 10 saves in the shutout while the Engineers finished with 21.

Yale

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

Daniels/Banks
Le Donne/Schilter
Middlebrook/Godin

O'Brien

For as easy as Friday's win was for RPI, Saturday came as no walk in the park against a Yale squad who fought hard and put 21 shots on net. Fortunately for the Engineers, they elevated their offense just enough to get the job done, taking a 4-3 lead with 1:07 left in regulation and holding on for a 4-3 victory. It proved to be one of the strongest offensive performances of the season to date for RPI, as the Engineers tallied 38 shots on goal in the afternoon.

The Bulldogs took an early lead at 4:08 of the first when Aurora Kennedy deked around the RPI defense to break in 2-on-1, feeding Jen Matichuk for a tap-in goal that O'Brien had little chance to stop.

RPI knotted the score a few minutes later on their first power play of the afternoon when Jamie Haddad was sent off for unsportsmanlike conduct, having shot a puck on net after the play was blown dead for an offside call. Taylor Horton picked up the goal, cashing in on a rebound from a bomb of a point shot by Andie Le Donne. The play was initially ruled no goal on the ice but after a video review the officials overturned their call and awarded the goal.

The Engineers appeared to have taken the lead shortly thereafter, but once again the goal was waved off and this time the call stood due to an RPI player in the crease when the goal was scored.

The Engineers picked up their first lead of the afternoon at 4:23 of the second period, with a goal very similar to Horton's. Alexa Gruschow was left unmarked on the doorstep during an RPI power play, and when Kathryn Schilter fired a shot from the opposite point, Gruschow was in position for a quick tap-in on the rebound to make it a 2-1 game.

Yale tied things back up 2-2 at 12:59 of the middle frame on a power play of their own, with Jamie Haddad finishing a 2-on-1 feed from Danielle Moncion to catch O'Brien moving for the goal.

Just 29 seconds later, Yale took a 3-2 lead when Alyssa Zupon was able to receive a feed from behind the net and fire it past O'Brien as she stood unmarked just outside the crease.

A power play goal for Taylor Mahoney knotted things back up at 3-3 with less than two minutes remaining in the second period. Mahoney cashed in on a rebound from a shot by Gruschow to beat Yale's Jamie Leonoff and head into the final frame all tied up.

The teams traded penalties in the third period but neither capitalized on their opportunities. The Engineers built a 12-4 margin in shots in the final period and finally broke through with 1:07 left when they broke out on a 3-on-1 opportunity and headed down ice. On what looked to be a third or fourth effort after several saved by Leonoff, Mahoney scored her second of the game to give the Engineers a 4-3 lead which held up through heavy Yale pressure in the final minute.

Saturday's win gave the Engineers their first weekend sweep of the season and brought them into a tie for 7th place with Princeton. RPI has four games in hand over the Tigers however, and sit one point behind Dartmouth (which has a game in hand over the Engineers). With 14 league games to play, the Engineers are now halfway to last season's win total of six and still have six more games remaining against Yale, Brown, Union, and Colgate. If RPI can continue to play well against those teams, a decent finish to the season is certainly not out of the question, even with the rough start.

RPI now has a month off and will not take to the ice for their next game until Dartmouth and Harvard visit the Field House on January 4th and 5th. That weekend promises to be a little different than this one, as the Crimson have roared out to a 7-0 record in ECAC play, outscoring their opponents 31-3 in those games. While on paper Dartmouth has had a rougher go of it with a 3-3-1 record, their three losses in ECAC play have come to Quinnipiac, Harvard, and Cornell and are not that good of an indicator of the strength of the Big Green squad. Needless to say, the Engineers should have their hands full when they get back to action in January.

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RPI vs. Brown
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
12/7/12 - 7pm
RPI 3, Brown 0

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/12/07/brown-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wbrnren1.d07

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2012/12/7/WICE_1207124141.aspx
Brown: http://brownbears.com/sports/w-hockey/2012-13/releases/201212072aopv7
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bo3POZDSM6g

RECORD: 4-11-2 (2-5-0 ECAC)

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RPI vs. Yale
ECAC Hockey Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
12/8/12 - 4pm
RPI 4, Yale 3

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2012/12/08/yale-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wrenyal1.d08

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2012/12/8/WICE_1208125454.aspx
Yale: http://www.yalebulldogs.com/sports/w-hockey/2012-13/releases/20121208j0uhoq
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9PDrjORiNl8

RECORD: 5-11-2 (3-5-0 ECAC)

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ECAC Standings

1. Quinnipiac - 17 points (8-3-1)
2. Cornell - 16 points (8-2-0)
3t. Harvard - 14 points (7-0-0)
3t. Clarkson - 14 points (7-1-0)
5. St. Lawrence - 12 points (6-2-0)
6. Dartmouth - 7 points (3-3-1)
7t. RPI - 6 points (3-5-0)
7t. Princeton - 6 points (2-6-2)
9t. Brown - 4 points (2-6-0)
9t. Colgate - 4 points (1-7-2)
11t. Union - 3 points (0-5-3)
11t. Yale - 3 points (1-6-1)

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Upcoming Games

Jan. 4 - Dartmouth (7pm)
Jan. 5 - Harvard (4pm)
Jan. 11 - Providence (7pm)
Jan. 12 - Providence (4pm)

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