Rensselaer earns 4-2 victory over Yale Bulldogs

Women’s hockey team fights to finish with Brown Bears, walks away with narrow 3-2 loss

FRESHMAN GOALTENDER BRIANNA PIPER SNAGS the puck in her glove during the Engineers’ match against the University of Wisconsin earlier this season.

RPI women’s hockey started the new semester on the right foot, splitting the weekend against Ivy League foes Yale University and Brown University. The Engineers came away with a 4-2 victory against the Yale Bulldogs on Friday evening at the Houston Field House, but came up short in a 3-2 loss to the Brown Bears the following afternoon. Rensselaer is now 6-16-4 overall, with a 3-9-2 mark in league play.

The Engineers and the Bulldogs played through a scoreless first period before visiting Yale struck in the second. Just 1:19 into the middle frame, sophomore Jackie Raines knocked home a rebound off a wrap-around attempt by freshman Stephanie Mock to give the Elis a 1-0 lead.

It didn’t take long for Rensselaer to respond, however, as RPI racked up four goals throughout the remaining 19 minutes of play. At 5:06 senior Laura Guillemette netted her fifth goal of the season as she snuck the biscuit past senior goaltender Genny Ladiges. Freshman Taylor Mahoney, whose initial shot was blocked by Ladiges but bounced out to Guillemette, earned the primary assist on the play.

RPI extended its lead to 2-1 at 11:46 off a goal from senior Jill Vandegrift. The St. Paul, Minn., native buried the rebound off a shot from freshman Eleeza Cox to earn her seventh tally of the season. Late in the period, Ladiges attempted to clear the puck from the Yale zone, but senior captain Alisa Harrison was there to intercept the puck and wrap it around to the back of the net, giving the Engineers a 3-1 advantage at 16:36.

Sophomore Jordan Smelker closed out the period with Rensselaer’s final goal after sending a low shot from the slot past Ladiges with three seconds left on the clock.

The Bulldogs managed to pull within two off a goal midway through the final period, but that was as close as the visitors would get. Freshman netminder Brianna Piper finished with 18 saves for the Engineers, while Ladiges stopped 40 shots for Yale, including 24 in the second period alone.

That luck didn’t carry over to the following afternoon, where, despite two goals in the third period, the Engineers couldn’t overcome the deficit set by the Bears. Brown now sits with a 6-7-7 overall mark, including a 3-6-4 ECAC record on the season.

After a scoreless first period of play, the visitors jumped on the scoreboard first with a goal from sophomore Jessica Hoyle 31 seconds into the middle frame. The tally came off a redirection of a shot by senior co-captain Paige Pyett that snuck past Piper. Midway through the period the Bears made it a 2-0 advantage as freshman Janice Yang buried a backhand attempt at 11:03.

The Engineers weren’t ready to give up quite yet, and responded with two goals in the third period. The first came at 2:51 as Vandegrift snuck the biscuit past junior netminder Katie Jamieson for her second of the weekend. Just over 10 minutes later at 13:29, Cox tipped a shot by senior Amanda Castignetti to the back of the cage. Although the goal was initially waived due to suspected high sticking, further review gave the Engineers the equalizer.

However, less than a minute later the Bears took advantage of a power play opportunity to regain the lead. Junior Alena Polenska knocked home a rebound by senior Skyelar Siwak to give Brown a 3-2 advantage. Although the Engineers pulled Piper in favor of the extra skater with 1:30 left in regulation, RPI was tagged with a penalty for too many players on the ice. Rensselaer pulled Piper again with 20 seconds remaining, but Jamieson turned away all Engineer attempts.

Jamieson finished with 23 saves in the win, while Piper posted 18 stops. The Engineers return to action this weekend with a home-and-home series with Route 7 rival Union College. RPI will head to Schenectady on Friday afternoon, while the Dutchwomen travel to Troy on Saturday. Both games will begin at 3 pm.