Coming into the home-and-home series against a Union team which was winless in its last 39 games, RPI had no choice but to take four points if they wanted to remain in the hunt for a playoff spot.
While the games may not have been RPI's best-executed, the Engineers got the points they needed, as Lovisa Selander backstopped the cherry and white to back-to-back shutouts - 2-0 on Friday in Troy and 3-0 on Saturday in Schenectady.
Friday (vs. Union)
Lovisa Selander stopped all 28 shots she faced Friday afternoon to lead RPI to a 2-0 victory over Union at Houston Field House. It was a fairly sloppy game by the Engineers; one which turned out okay only because they were not facing a hardier opponent.
Hannah Behounek scored the game's first goal and RPI's eventual game-winner after Union turned the puck over in their own zone. Katie Rooney fed it back to Behounek at the point for a slapper which deflected off a Union stick on its way to the net and past Leah Patrick for a 1-0 RPI lead.
The second period passed without any scoring, through the Engineers managed to outshoot the Dutchwomen by just one shot, 12-11. This was a common thread on the weekend, which saw RPI outshoot Union just 32-28 on Friday before actually being outshot 33-32 on Saturday - an unusual result given the Dutchwomen have been heavily outshot in most of their games on the season.
Laura Horwood added a goal at 10:11 of the third period, just barely getting a stick on a shot by Makenna Thomas to tip it between the goalpost and Patrick's skate as the netminder slid across the crease to make a stop. That goal would be the game's last as RPI picked up the 2-0 win.
The game was a fast one, taking just 1:50 to complete primarily due to a lack of penalty calls despite a number of infractions that could have been whistled on both teams. While each team was whistled for just one penalty each, things would go much differently on Saturday with a different set of officials.
Saturday (at Union)
After just two penalties on Friday, RPI and Union combined for 13 on Saturday, making for a very choppy game but one which RPI played to their advantage, scoring two power play goals en route to a 3-0 victory over Union to extend the Dutchwomen's winless streak to 41 games and goal-less streak to over five full games.
Katie Rooney and Alexa Gruschow scored power play tallies in the first period to open up a 2-0 lead, while Laura Horwood again tacked on a goal - this time in the second - to make it 3-0.
Rooney's goal came moments after a point blank chance that saw them robbed by Melissa Black, who is quickly racking up the saves for the Dutchwomen. The goal was briefly reviewed for possible interference but allowed to stand.
Gruschow scored just a few minutes later on the next RPI power play, taking a feed across the slot from Whitney Renn for an easy point blank shot past Black, who couldn't get across the crease quickly enough to get a glove on it.
The Engineers wasted a 5-on-3 chance waffling in their own zone early in the second before negating the rest of the 5-on-4 by taking an interference call. The teams continued to trade penalties in the second period - seven in total, all before the midpoint of the period - before Horwood put home a rebound at 16:38 to make it a 3-0 game which would hold up throughout a third period where Union outshot RPI 16-10.
To keep pace in the playoff race next weekend, RPI will need to shoot for another four point weekend against Brown and Yale. While both teams trail the Engineers in the standings - Brown languishing in 11th while Yale sits six points ahead in 10th - the last meeting between the Engineers and the Bulldogs saw RPI soundly defeated.
With Cornell and Dartmouth just one point back of RPI, the Engineers need to continue to outstrip their Ivy League foes to hold on to a top-eight spot.
RPI vs Union
ECAC Hockey Game - Houston Field House (Troy, NY)
1/15/16 - 3pm
RPI 2, Union 0
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1516/boxes/wrenuni1.j15
Video Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erxAkRZ9Fv0
Complete Game Video: http://rpitv.org/productions/1029-womens-hockey-vs-union
RECORD: 6-11-4 (4-5-2 ECAC)
RPI at Union
ECAC Hockey Game - Messa Rink (Schenectady, NY)
1/16/16 - 3pm
RPI 3, Union 0
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1516/boxes/wrenuni1.j16
RECORD: 7-11-4 (5-5-2 ECAC)
1. Quinnipiac - 23 pts (10-1-3) (.821)
2. Princeton - 19 pts (9-4-1) (.679)
3t. Clarkson - 16 pts (7-3-2) (.667)
3t. Colgate - 16 pts (6-2-4) (.667)
5. Harvard - 15 pts (7-5-1) (.577)
6. St. Lawrence - 13 pts (6-5-1) (.542)
7. RPI - 12 pts (5-5-2) (.500)
8t. Cornell - 11 pts (4-5-3) (.458)
8t. Dartmouth - 11 pts (4-6-3) (.423)
10. Yale - 9 pts (4-7-1) (.375)
11. Brown - 3 pts (1-10-1) (.125)
12. Union - 2 pts (0-10-2) (.083)
Jan. 22 - at Brown (7pm)
Jan. 23 - at Yale (4pm)
Jan. 29 - Colgate (7pm)
Jan. 30 - Cornell (4pm)