Monday, January 14, 2013

Women's Hockey - Providence (11/12 Jan)

Sometimes it's a fine line dividing a win from a loss, and RPI experienced that twice this weekend in a pair of one-goal losses to Providence at the Field House.

In a pair of closely-contested games, the Engineers were just a step behind a very quick Providence team and the Friars used that to their advantage en route to 2-1 and 3-2 victories.

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

Daniels/Le Donne
Banks/Godin
Schilter/Marzario

Piper

Brianna Piper saw her first action since November 9, making 18 saves on 20 shots, but it wasn't quite enough as the Engineers only managed a single goal in a game which featured anemic offense from both teams early on and a faster pace the longer it went on.

The Friars didn't manage a shot on goal until 14:19 of the first period, but as luck would have it, the shot found the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. It was one of just seven shots the two teams combined for in a first period where neither team could sustain any pressure.

The pace picked up in the second period but neither team mustered another goal. Both teams had some good opportunities, including a chance for a tip-in goal which Jordan Smelker just missed, and a breakaway for Alexa Gruschow which she lost control of without getting a clean shot off.

Corinne Buie made it 2-0 for the Friars at 9:08 of the third period, burying a perfect shot off a faceoff in the RPI zone. With the Engineers' offensive woes in the game, that looked to be a pretty steep hill to climb but Katie Daniels gave RPI some hope when she scored a power play goal out of a scrum in front of the Providence net, making it 2-1.

RPI pushed hard for the equalizer in the final minutes, including a power play opportunity with 2:07 left, but didn't manage to get a second puck past the Friars' Nina Riley, who earned her third win of the season while making 22 saves on 23 shots.

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

Marzario/Godin
Le Donne/Daniels
Schilter/Banks

For as slowly as Friday night's game started, Saturday saw an increased pace in the early going, culminating in a quick pair of goals before the game was three minutes old.

Providence's Haley Frade scored 1:35 in with a goal that was remarkably similar to the faceoff play on which Buie scored the night before. Quickly firing a no-look shot through traffic, it was in the back of the net before Kelly O'Brien could get her glove up to make a save.

Taylor Horton evened things up just under a minute and a half later, potting her eighth goal of the season out of another goal mouth scrum.

The tie wouldn't last until the midway point of the period, as Courtney Kukowski was sprung on a breakaway by Frade and beat O'Brien glove side to give the visitors a 2-1 lead at 9:57.

Jordan Smelker tied things up for the second time in the game early in the third period, taking a pass from Gruschow behind the net and beating goalie Sarah Bryant for a 5-on-3 goal and a 2-2 score.

Jessica Vella regained the lead for the Friars with 3:06 left in the middle frame, one-timing a perfect pass through traffic past O'Brien to make it 3-2.

Again the Engineers found themselves trailing late and again they stepped up the pressure, but as was the case on Friday night they weren't able to get things tied up and suffered their third one-goal loss in a row.

It's back to the ECAC grind now and it may be hard to believe but there are only six weeks left in the regular season. First up is a road rematch against Harvard and Dartmouth that promises to be a challenge for an RPI squad struggling to score.

Harvard remains undefeated in league play (11-0) and Dartmouth rolled over Princeton and Quinnipiac for an eight point weekend by the travel partners heading into next week's matchup.

After that series comes the home-and-home against Union followed by Colgate, a set of three important games for the Engineers in order to keep the playoffs in their sights.

RPI currently holds 7th place with the 8th and last playoff spot being held by Princeton, two points back but having played four more games than the Engineers. However - Brown and Colgate are just four points back from RPI, with Union and Yale one more point behind, and with well upwards of a dozen games left between the teams fighting for the final playoff spots, those spots are certainly still up for grabs for any team that can string together a couple wins in the home stretch.

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RPI vs. Providence
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/11/13 - 7pm
Providence 2, RPI 1

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2013/01/11/providence-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wprvren1.j11

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2013/1/11/WICE_0111133635.aspx
Providence: http://www.friars.com/sports/w-hockey/recaps/011113aaa.html
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NPgSMXNcD8

RECORD: 6-13-2 (4-6-0 ECAC)

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RPI vs. Providence
Non-Conference Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/12/13 - 4pm
Providence 3, RPI 2

BOX SCORES:
USCHO: http://www.uscho.com/box/womens-hockey/2013/01/12/providence-vs-rensselaer/
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1213/boxes/wprvren1.j12

RECAPS:
RPI: http://www.rpiathletics.com/news/2013/1/12/WICE_0112134643.aspx
Providence: http://www.friars.com/sports/w-hockey/recaps/011213aaa.html
Video Highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Onq9TF6Nqc

RECORD: 6-14-2 (4-6-0 ECAC)

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ECAC Standings

1. Harvard - 22 points (11-0-0)
2. Clarkson - 18 points (9-1-0)
3. Quinnipiac - 17 points (8-5-1)
4t. Cornell - 16 points (8-2-0)
4t. St. Lawrence - 16 points (8-2-0)
6. Dartmouth - 13 points (6-4-1)
7. RPI - 8 points (4-6-0)
8. Princeton - 6 points (2-10-2)
9t. Brown - 4 points (2-8-0)
9t. Colgate - 4 points (1-7-2)
11t. Yale - 3 points (1-8-1)
11t. Union - 3 points (0-7-3)

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Upcoming Games

Jan. 18 - at Harvard (7pm)
Jan. 19 - at Dartmouth (4pm)
Jan. 25 - at Union (7pm)
Jan. 26 - Union (4pm)

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