RPI closes out 2011 on disappointing note

Women’s hockey team throttled by Clarkson in 10-0 loss, falls to St. Lawrence in 6-3 decision

SENIOR CAPTAIN ALISA HARRISON RUSHES down into the opposition’s zone during a game at the Houston Field House last month. Harrison collected two points on the weekend after assisting on the team’s first goal against St. Lawrence University on Saturday, and then scoring one of her own later in the game.

RPI women’s hockey closed out 2011 on a sour note, losing to Clarkson University in a 10-0 decision on Friday and falling to St. Lawrence University by a score of 6-3 on Saturday. The Engineers dropped to 4-12-4 overall on the season, including a 1-5-2 league mark, placing them 10th overall in the standings. Clarkson, who currently sits in second place, is 10-4-4 overall and 6-3-1 in conference action. St. Lawrence is in the middle of the pack, posting a 8-7-3 record with a 5-4-1 ECAC mark.

The Clarkson Golden Knights opened with five goals in the first period on Friday and never looked back. Senior Juana Baribeau got things started at 9:03 with her fourth goal of the season, while sophomore Jamie Lee Rattray added back-to-back goals to give the Golden Knights a 3-0 advantage. Classmate Vanessa Gagnon and senior Katelyn Ptolemy closed out the period with goals at 16:35 and 18:47, respectively.

Rensselaer managed to only sneak two shots on goal in the first period and didn’t do too much better in the second as the Engineers only managed four attempts. Junior Danielle Skirrow made it a 6-0 match with her seventh of the season, while Rattray snuck the biscuit past freshman Kelly O’Brien for her first career hat trick at 19:03.

Clarkson managed to score three more goals in the third period, coming from freshman Christine Lambert, Baribeau, and sophomore Brittany Styner to close out the game with a 10-0 advantage. O’Brien, who played just over 40 minutes of the match, finished with 21 saves. Freshman Briana Piper, who saw action in the first and third period, posted six saves. At the other end of the rink, sophomore Erica Howe picked up the win after stopping six shots through 40 minutes of play, while freshman Emily Horn made five saves between the pipes for the final 20 minutes.

The next afternoon fared no better for the Engineers as the St. Lawrence Saints offense simply dominated the match. SLU outshot Rensselaer 10-3 in the opening period, collecting three goals in the process. Hitting the back of the net for the Saints was sophomore Rylee Smith, junior Kelly Sabatine, and sophomore Mel Desrochers.

RPI bounced back in the second frame, holding a commanding 11-6 lead in shots on goal. Junior Andie Le Donne’s slap shot from the right circle beat freshman goaltender Carmen MacDonald for her third goal of the season. Sophomore Jordan Smelker earned the lone assist on the play.

However, the Saints responded with back-to-back goals to make it a 5-1 match heading into intermission. Sabatine netted her second of the game at 6:17 off passes from Smith and junior Brooke Fernandez, while junior Michelle Ng collected her second goal of the year at 16:05.

The Engineers responded with two more tallies in the third period, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the deficit. Senior Jill Vandegrift made it a 5-2 match at 2:22 with her fifth of the year, with freshman Taylor Mahoney and senior Alisa Harrison earning assists on the play. Harrison then scored a goal of her own at 4:14 to bring Rensselaer within two. However, Smith closed out the match with an empty net goal to eliminate all chances of a RPI comeback at 17:05. Piper posted 18 saves for the Engineers, while MacDonald had 21 stops.

Rensselaer is idle until the start of league play in early January. The Engineers will face off against Colgate University at the Houston Field House on Friday, January 6, 2012, at 3 pm. No. 2 Cornell University rolls into town the following afternoon.