Following this past weekend’s action in Burlington, Vt., RPI women’s hockey remains only one of two teams in the ECAC with an unbeaten record. The Engineers tied the University of Vermont Catamounts last Friday evening and followed with the team’s first win over UVM since February 6, 2000, with a 4-0 victor on Saturday. Rensselaer improves to 2-0-2 on the season, while Vermont falls to 0-1-2.
After holding a 2-0 lead through the first 37 minutes of play, the Engineers couldn’t hold onto the advantage as the Catamounts responded with two goals to tie the score. Rensselaer opened the match at 2:22 with sophomore Toni Sander’s first goal of the season off a pass from classmate Madison Marzario. Freshman Ali Svoboda, who would collect three points on the weekend, also earned as assist on the play.
Rensselaer would strike again in the second period with senior captain Alisa Harrison’s third goal of the season. Harrison corralled a pass from senior Jill Vandegrift and ripped the shot past Vermont junior goaltender Kelci Lanthier at 7:22. Despite solid goaltending from freshman Brianna Piper, who stopped six shots in the first period and nine in the second, UVM freshman Brittany Zuback’s attempt was able to sneak past the netminder to make it a 2-1 game at 17:51.
Holding that momentum through the intermission, the Catamounts would score again to start the third stanza. With a skater in the penalty box, Vermont was able to convert while shorthanded to knot the game at two. Freshman Amanda Pelkey netted her first goal of the season at 3:23, with assists coming from classmate Megan Bergland and sophomore Megan Dalbec.
Both Piper and Lanthier held their ground through the remaining 16 minutes of play, sending the match into overtime. Despite the extra five minutes of play, neither team was able to place on the scoreboard, closing the match with a 2-2 split decision. Piper finished with a whopping 33 saves on the evening, while Lanthier posted an impressive 22 stops.
The Engineers came out firing the next day after losing out on a two-goal lead the night before. Svoboda netted two goals in a 4-0 victory, while freshman goaltender Kelly O’Brien earned her second shutout in as many starts.
RPI dominated throughout the first period of play, peppering Lanthier with eight shots to the Catamount’s one. Although the Engineers were unable to place on the scoreboard in the first period, three quick strikes in the second gave Rensselaer a 3-0 advantage heading into the third.
Svoboda notched her first of the season—a shorthanded goal—at 3:33 of the middle frame with an assist from freshman Kathryn Schilter. Harrison quickly countered with her second of the weekend just over five minutes later with a low shot. Junior Sierra Vadner and sophomore Jordan Smelker earned assists on the play, Harrison’s fourth goal in as many games.
After earning her first goal of the game while shorthanded, Svoboda collected her second tally while on the power play, giving Rensselaer a 3-0 lead at 13:28. Svoboda’s initial shot from the point ricocheted off the post over to Vadner, who connected with senior Laura Guillemette. The forward then passed the puck back to Svoboda on the blue line, whose second attempt made it past Lanthier.
Midway through the third frame Svoboda nearly had a hat trick, but saw her breakaway attempt blocked by Lanthier. Junior Andie Le Donne closed out scoring for the Engineers just a short while later at 12:28 with a power play goal.
O’Brien finished with 18 stops, while Lanthier posted 17 saves. The victory marked the first for the Engineers since both teams played at the Division-III level in the ECAC East league tournament 11 years ago.
Rensselaer hits the ice again this weekend to take on Niagara University. The Purple Eagles, who now feature Allysen Weidner ’10 behind the bench as their new assistant coach, welcome the Engineers for a two-game series beginning Friday at 7 pm. Game two is slated for 2 pm on Saturday.