RPI managed one final point on the road against Princeton and Quinnipiac to end the regular season, and it turned out to be a difference-maker as the Engineers finished in the final playoff spot by just a single point.
That point came in a 3-3 tie against Princeton on Friday, before the Engineers were outclassed by Quinnipiac to the tune of a 4-0 loss on Saturday.
Despite being outshot 53-27, RPI managed to put three pucks past Kimberly Newell to earn a 3-3 tie against Princeton Friday evening. Shayna Tomlinson had two goals for the Engineers while Alexa Gruschow had a goal and an assist.
The game got off to a quick start, with the teams trading a lot of shots early in the first, but it was Princeton eventually breaking through when Fiona McKenna snuck a bad-angle shot off the rush past Lovisa Selander for a 1-0 lead.
Tomlinson scored both of her goals in the second period. The first came at 6:15 - from an even worse angle than McKenna's goal, as Tomlinson found the top corner from below the bottom of the faceoff circles.
Her second was a deflection, tipping a point shot from Amanda Kimmerle to put RPI ahead 2-1.
Princeton tied the game at 11:42 on a Kiersten Falck goal, but Gruschow answered just 41 seconds later to regain the lead for RPI.
Karlie Lund spoiled the potential upset for the Engineers by tying the game once again with 3:01 left in regulation. The teams only managed one shot each in overtime as the game ended with a 3-3 final.
After destroying Union 9-0 on Friday, Quinnipiac kept rolling on Saturday by defeating RPI 4-0, outshooting the Engineers 52-14 in the process.
Emma Grecco scored the first goal and eventual game-winner, firing a blast from the point through traffic and past Selander.
RPI had three consecutive power play opportunities in the middle of the first period, including nearly a minute of 5-on-3, but couldn't capitalize - and in fact only managed six shots in the opening frame despite the power plays.
Things got worse in the second as Quinnipiac piled on three more goals and outshot the Engineers 21-2. A faceoff win led to a quick opportunity for Nicole Brown, who made a couple quick moves for an easy backhand past Selander to make it 2-0 just 3:20 into the second period.
Less than a minute later, Kristen Tamberg scored on a cross-ice feed from Brown - a power play goal to make it 3-0. Nicole Connery extended the lead to four at 16:08 with a quick shot off a feed from behind the net that the RPI defense never picked up.
Selander held the lead to four despite facing another 21 shots in the third period, finishing with 48 saves on 52 shots Saturday and a combined 98 for 105 on the weekend.
RPI's one point weekend was not enough on its own to secure a playoff spot - instead it came down to a Clarkson goal, scored in the final minute of their game against Yale, to knock the Bulldogs out of the playoffs and land the Engineers in the eighth and final spot. With that, the playoff matchups for next weekend's ECAC quarterfinals are set:
#8 RPI at #1 Quinnipiac
#7 Cornell at #2 Clarkson
#6 St. Lawrence at #3 Princeton
#5 Harvard at #4 Colgate
All four series will run Friday through Sunday (if necessary) at the home rink of the higher seeds. The championship weekend will be the following weekend at the home rink of the highest remaining seed.
The road to the championship weekend will be an extremely tough one for the Engineers, as it runs through an extremely strong Quinnipiac team which has been ranked in the top 5 nationally since Thanksgiving and just soundly defeated them in the regular season finale.
RPI will be counting on Selander to hold strong in net, but they are going to need to find a couple goals to have any chance - in the two matchups with the Bobcats this season, the Engineers were held scoreless and outshot by a combined 92-29 margin.
RPI at Princeton
ECAC Hockey Game - Hobey Baker Rink (Princeton, NJ)
2/19/16 - 7pm
RPI 3, Princeton 3 (OT)
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1516/boxes/wprnren1.f19
Video Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrjX65P0eXc
RECORD: 10-14-7 (8-8-5 ECAC)
RPI at Quinnipiac
ECAC Hockey Game - TD Bank Sports Center (Hamden, CT)
2/20/16 - 4pm
QU 4, RPI 0
College Hockey Stats: http://collegehockeystats.net/1516/boxes/wquiren1.f20
Video Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1V9g6F9C4Xs
RECORD: 10-15-7 (8-9-5 ECAC)
Final ECAC Standings
1. Quinnipiac - 36 pts (16-2-4)
2. Clarkson - 33 pts (14-3-5)
3. Princeton - 30 pts (14-6-2)
4. Colgate - 29 pts (12-5-5)
5. Harvard - 27 pts (12-7-3)
6. St. Lawrence - 23 pts (9-8-5)
7. Cornell - 22 pts (9-9-4)
8. RPI - 21 pts (8-9-5)
9. Yale - 20 pts (9-11-2)
10. Dartmouth - 15 pts (6-13-3)
11. Brown - 5 pts (1-18-3)
12. Union - 3 pts (0-19-3)
ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals
Feb. 26 - at Quinnipiac (2pm)
Feb. 27 - at Quinnipiac (2pm)
Feb. 28 - at Quinnipiac (2pm) (if necessary)