Wry observations about RPI hockey, the ECAC in general, and the college hockey world as a whole.
Monday, November 18, 2013
Women's Hockey - Yale & Brown (15/16 Nov)
RPI remained a difficult team to pin down this weekend, as they once again failed to defeat a thoroughly-outplayed opponent on Friday in a 2-1 loss to then-winless Yale, before turning things around and handily defeating Brown by a 4-1 margin on Saturday.
While these should have been two winnable games for the Engineers, they will settle for the split and head into a short break with a 3-3 record in the ECAC.
RPI outshot Yale 40-12, but went 0-6 on the power play and ended up losing 2-1 after being unable to put a second puck past goalie Jaimie Leonoff on Friday night at Houston Field House.
The Engineers fell behind early when Yale's Taylor Marchin scored her first goal of the season on a Bulldog 4-on-3 power play.
After winning the faceoff in the RPI zone, Yale controlled the puck and cycled for about 20 seconds, slowly collapsing toward the RPI net until Marchin fired a shot through traffic from between the faceoff dots to beat O'Brien for a 1-0 lead.
Marchin's goal would come on one of just two Yale shots in the first period. RPI went on to pick up a 12-2 edge in shots in that opening frame, but it wasn't until just a few minutes into the second period that Toni Sanders would knot the score 1-1.
Sanders' goal was certainly an odd one, as it featured Leonoff standing outside the crease watching hopelessly as the puck was fired through a big jumble of players who had fallen in and around the goal mouth.
Despite throwing another 16 shots at Leonoff in the middle period, another goal would not come for RPI, and instead Yale retook their one-goal lead at 14:16 of the second.
The goal came after a long period of sustained pressure by RPI when Yale was able to break into the RPI zone 2-on-1 with Krista Yip-Chuck and Janelle Ferrara. After a bit of back-and forth passing, Yip-Chuck pulled the puck around a sprawling O'Brien and tucked it past her for the 2-1 lead.
The 2-1 lead held for Yale through the remainder of regulation, although the Engineers once again outshot the Bulldogs in the third by a 12-5 margin. Several penalties limited RPI's comeback effort, including a late penalty on Ali Svoboda for shooting the puck after the whistle.
Svoboda had crossed into the zone and the whistle was blown on an offside call, but she then flipped the puck toward the Yale net, earning herself a minor and misconduct which put RPI on the penalty kill for most of the final three minutes of the game.
Coach Burke scrambled most of the lineup after Friday's disappointing loss, and the result was noticeable as RPI struck three times in he first period, scored three power play goals on RPI's first three power plays of the game, and rode the momentum to a 4-1 victory that was never very much in doubt.
Taylor Mahoney and Alexa Gruschow scored 55 seconds apart at 7:17 and 8:12 of the first period to put the Engineers out to an early 2-0 lead. Mahoney picked up a rebound off a Svoboda shot for the first goal before Gruschow scored the eventual game winner off an assist from Katie Rooney.
Jordan Smelker, who had surprisingly been held without a goal through the season to date, finally broke through with a rebound on the Engineers' second power play late in the first to extend the lead to 3-0.
Sarah Robson cut RPI's lead to two at 2:47 of the second period, managing to beat O'Brien at close range to put the Bears on the board.
Mahoney notched her second of the game (fourth of the season) at 15:28 of the middle frame, keeping the Engineers perfect on the power play at 3-for-3 to that point.
The teams traded power play opportunities in the third, including what should have been a long Brown 5-on-3 but was cut short by a slashing call on Robson just over 30 seconds into the 2-man advantage.
In the end, the Engineers outshot the Bears 24-16, went 3-for-6 on the power play and were perfect while shorthanded en route to the 4-1 victory. It sends the Engineers into a short break on a positive note; they will not play next weekend, then will head to St. Cloud after Thanksgiving for a weekend non-conference series against the Huskies. Those games, on the 29th and 30th of November, will both feature 4:07pm start times.