Monday, September 23, 2013

Women's Hockey - Ottawa Jr. Senators (22 Sep)

As has been customary since 2007 (exception: last year) the Engineers returned to the ice for a new season in an exhibition matchup against a Canadian squad - this year facing the Ottawa Jr. Senators for the first time.

After they were shutout 6-0 by Union on Saturday afternoon, it was no surprise that the Senators didn't offer very stiff competition for the Engineers, instead serving the usual purpose of letting the team get a feel for line combinations and game action before the games start counting. RPI won the exhibition matchup 5-0, with a significant 60-10 edge in shots on goal.

Smelker/Mahoney/Mari Mankey
Sanders/Gruschow/Svoboda
Wash/Horwood/Rooney
Letuligasenoa/Hylwa/Missy Mankey

Schilter/Godin
Huhtamaki/Marzario
Middlebrook/Banks
Behounek

O'Brien/Piper

There were only two penalties in this affair - which flew by in well under two hours - so the opportunity to see special teams play was limited. That didn't stop it looking like an Engineers power play for most of the afternoon Sunday.

The Senators did a pretty remarkable job keeping the score to 1-0 after one and 2-0 after two before the Engineers went on to score three goals in the third to turn it into an official rout.

Freshman Laura Horwood opened the scoring early in the first period, capitalizing on one of the first of several odd-man rushes by the third line, on which she was joined by Lauren Wash and fellow freshman Katie Rooney.

Newly-appointed captain Jordan Smelker doubled the lead to 2-0 on an unassisted goal at the midpoint of the second period. She had a number of quality plays over the course of the game, also picking up an assist on the final goal of the game.

Ali Svoboda had a great start to the third period, picking up a pair of goals less than four minutes apart. The first was scored almost immediately after a faceoff win by Alexa Gruschow which was funneled to Svoboda through Toni Sanders. The second goal came on the rush after a blast of a shot by Sanders and a rebound attempt by Gruschow before Svoboda put the third chance home.

Freshman Heidi Huhtamaki capped off a solid debut on the blue line with a goal of her own in the game's final minutes, lobbing a long-distance wrister through traffic which may have been deflected on its way to the back of the net.

Overall, the team looked like one might expect in an opening exhibition - fast-paced but prone to some missed passes and miscues. With the Senators penned in their own zone as long as they were, there was little opportunity to see the team play defense. As always, it's hard to evaluate where a group stands in an early exhibition, but the freshman looked comfortable on the ice and upperclassmen like Svoboda, Smelker, and Gruschow helped drive the pace and maintain momentum.

RPI will take advantage of one more exhibition tuneup next Sunday at 3pm against Brock University before hitting the road for a non-conference pair in the Pittsburgh area against Robert Morris. The non-conference schedule continues with games against BU, Northeastern, Vermont, and UConn (x2) before the ECAC schedule opens up on November 1st against Harvard.

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RPI vs. Ottawa Jr. Senators
Exhibition Game – Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
9/22/13 - 1:00pm
RPI 5, Senators 0

BOX SCORES:

RECAPS:
Complete Game Video: http://rpitv.org/p/596

RECORD: 0-0 (0-0 ECAC)

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Upcoming Games

Sep. 29 - Brock (3pm)
Oct. 4 - at Robert Morris (7pm)
OCt. 5 - at Robert Morris (3pm)
Oct. 11 - Boston University (7pm)
Oct. 12 - Northeastern (4pm)
Oct. 19 - Vermont (3pm)

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