Engineers take down No. 4 Clarkson Knights

Rensselaer women’s hockey stunned the No. 4 Clarkson University Golden Knights on the road, ending the rival’s unbeaten streak at Cheel Arena by a score of 3-1 Friday evening; the Engineers would then play St. Lawrence the following afternoon. The win and loss placed RPI in a tie for fifth in the ECAC with a 12-11-6 overall record and a 9-5-4 league mark. Clarkson remains in first place, dropping to 19-7-3 overall and 13-3-1 within the conference, while the Saints claimed sole possession of fourth place with a 14-9-7 overall record and 10-5-3 ECAC mark.

Clarkson opened scoring on Friday night, but it would be the only goal the Golden Knights would net on the day. Senior Dominique Thibault placed on the board first at 8:57 with her 17th goal of the season. Thibault skated to the top of the circle and rocketed a shot top-shelf over the right shoulder of junior netminder Sonja van der Bliek.

That lead would not last long, however, as RPI retaliated with two quick goals to close out the first period and come out on top 2-1. Senior Allysen Weidner buried her own rebound off a backhanded shot, registering her fifth goal of the season off junior goaltender Lauren Dahm. Classmate Laura Gersten also earned an assist on the play, which began after RPI won a faceoff in the Golden Knights’ zone following an icing call on Clarkson.

With less than a minute remaining in the frame, junior Sydney O’Keefe pulled the Engineers ahead as she buried a loose puck in a scramble in front of the net. Sophomore Jill Vandegrift and freshman Andie Le Donne were awarded with helpers on the eventual game-winning goal. RPI outshot the nationally-ranked Golden Knights squad 14-5 in the frame.

That momentum from the first carried over into the second period as Rensselaer hit the scoreboards again early on into the frame. Just 2:33 into the period, senior Allison Wright provided padding with her ninth goal of the year. Le Donne and senior Whitney Naslund earned assists on the goal, which came off a screen shot from Wright.

After holding Clarkson to only 11 shots through the first two periods, the Golden Knights came out in the third to try and tie the game up. Despite posting eight chances to RPI’s four, Clarkson could not solve van der Bliek, who remained strong in net. The Engineers managed to hold off a six-on-four disadvantage as Rensselaer took a penalty in the final minutes of the game, and Dahm was pulled in favor of the extra attacker to preserve the win. Van der Bliek blocked 18 shots on the night, while Dahm finished with 24 saves. The loss dropped Clarkson one spot in the national rankings, moving from third to fourth and switching positions with the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Coming off a monumental win off the Golden Knights, RPI was unable to carry that momentum against North Country rival St. Lawrence University. The Saints, extending their winning streak to three games, defeated the Engineers by a score of 3-1 at Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y. Saints freshmen Michelle Ng and Kelly Sabatine led the squad, combining for a total of five points on the afternoon.

St. Lawrence opened scoring just 2:54 into the first period with Sabatine’s ninth tally of the year. Receiving a pass from Ng, Sabatine went one-on-one with van der Bliek, but a quick backhand move sent the puck to the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead.

That lead ramped up to two with a power play mark from Saints freshman Kayla Sullivan at 7:52. Sabatine, on the blue line, slid the puck over to Ng, who whipped a pass to Sullivan for the one-timer, bringing the advantage up to two. St. Lawrence would close out the period with one more goal, this time coming from Ng. On the power play, Ng received a pass from sophomore Ally Bero and ripped a wrister from the slot past van der Bliek for her ninth of the year.

Neither team found the back of the net in the second period, with the Saints defense working overtime, limiting RPI to only 11 shots through the first 40 minutes of play. With the game on the line, the Engineers ramped up play in the second period. Although Rensselaer came away without a goal, it had several quality chances on SLU senior goaltender Brittony Chartier.

RPI finally placed on the board after serious pressure on Chartier at 3:21 of the third. Sophomore defenseman Sierra Vadner broke the shutout with her second goal of the season off a blast from the point. Weidner and Le Donne both earned assists on the play. Despite a strong presence throughout the remainder of the game, Rensselaer could not cut the deficit any further. Chartier finished with 18 saves in the win, while van der Bliek stopped 19 of the Saints’ chances.

The Engineers return to the Houston Field House this weekend for their final two home games of the regular season. Friday, RPI hosts Harvard University, with the game beginning at 7 pm. The following afternoon, also Senior Night, Rensselaer takes on Dartmouth College. Five Engineers—Rossli Chace, Weidner, Naslund, Gersten, and Wright—will be recognized for their contributions to the program over the past four seasons. The game is set to begin at 4 pm.