Wry observations about RPI hockey, the ECAC in general, and the college hockey world as a whole.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Women's Hockey - at Brown & Yale (7/8 Feb)
We're now three weekends of hockey removed from RPI's sweep of Union, and after losing four in a row over the past two weekends, the Engineers suffered yet another setback against two teams they needed to beat as the season winds down, getting shutout 3-0 by a stellar goaltending performance from Brown and needing a last-minute extra attacker goal to salvage a 2-2 tie against Yale.
The Engineers are now winless in their last six, clinging to the final playoff spot by a single point, with three of their four remaining games being against teams in the top half of the league. Home ice was an achievable goal (albeit a difficult one by all means) after the sweep of Union. Now RPI needs a turnaround and potentially a little bit of luck to hold on to a playoff spot at all.
Brown's goaltending was the story of the night Friday, as Aubrey Moore stopped all 51 RPI shots while her team netted three goals of their own for a 3-0 win over the Engineers.
There was no scoring in the first period, though the Engineers put 14 shots on Moore including during a late power play opportunity which carried over into the second.
RPI came out firing in the second, but Moore was equal to the task, and instead of the Engineers capitalizing on their pressure, it was Brown that scored on their first power play of the evening, with Kaitlyn Keon putting home a rebound off her own shot for a 1-0 lead.
After two more power play chances for the Engineers in the third, the Bears were awarded a penalty shot when Sarah Robson was tripped up from behind on a breakaway. Robson cut side-to-side and put the puck past Kelly O'Brien to put the Bears ahead 2-0.
With Brown on a late power play, RPI pulled O'Brien to get it back to 5-on-5, but Maddie Woo notched an empty netter for a 3-0 lead and Brown's first shutout in over a year. It also marked the largest margin of victory for the Bears since a victory nearly a year ago, also over RPI.
After a disappointing loss on Friday, RPI had a shot to salvage the weekend with a win at Yale, but instead had to settle for a 2-2 tie, managed only after Alexa Gruschow scored a last minute goal to tie things up.
RPI took the first lead of the game and finally scored their first of the weekend near the middle of the first period, with Laura Horwood picking up her fifth of the season.
Yale erased the Engineers' lead early in the second when RPI took penalties half a minute apart before the period was two minutes gone. Jackie Raines scored with one second left on the 5-on-3 opportunity to tie things up at one.
Late in another Yale power play in the third period, things got a little rough with Heidi Huhtamaki getting whistled for a body check and Jenn Godin and Yale's Jamie Haddad earning roughing calls after mixing it up. With 20 seconds left in the power play, originally created off an earlier holding call, Kate Martini fired a slapshot past O'Brien to put the Bulldogs ahead 2-1.
With O'Brien on the bench for the extra attacker late in the third, Jamie Leonoff turned away a quick flurry of chances from the Engineers before Gruschow was able to slip one past with 44 seconds left in regulation.
The Engineers managed just one shot in overtime despite spending the final 1:55 of the game on the power play, leaving them with just a single point to show for the weekend.
The Engineers now occupy 8th place all alone, with Dartmouth just a single point behind. Brown is five points back from the Engineers, Yale is a point ahead, and Princeton is five points ahead of RPI. While not impossible for positions to shift further, in all likelihood, it's now a three-horse race for the last two playoff spots between Yale, RPI, and Dartmouth.
Remaining schedules for those three teams:
Yale: @Qunnipiac, @Princeton, Harvard, Dartmouth
RPI: Colgate, Cornell, @Clarkson, @SLU
Dartmouth: SLU, Clarkson, @Yale, @Brown
RPI will play their final home games of the season next weekend, hosting Colgate Friday night at 7pm before Cornell comes to town at 4pm on Saturday.
RPI at Brown
ECAC Hockey Game - Meehan Auditorium (Providence, RI)