After a difficult start to the season, the RPI women’s hockey team failed to make the ECAC playoffs for the first time in four seasons. Suffering losses to Princeton University and Quinnipiac University on the road, the Engineers conclude their season with a 9-21-4 overall record and a 6-14-2 league mark.
Friday’s match saw the Princeton Tigers skate away with a 2-1 victory in a close-fought game. Rensselaer opened the match in the first few seconds as freshman Taylor Mahoney netted her second goal of the year 23 ticks of the clock after puck drop. Mahoney skated alone down the left side of the ice before ripping a shot that beat Princeton senior goaltender Rachel Webber.
The Tigers held onto the puck for most of the period, and found the equalizer midway through the frame. Junior Alex Kinney connected with freshman Brianne Mahoney, who fired a shot on RPI freshman goaltender Kelly O’Brien. Although the rookie netminder made the initial save, Princeton sophomore Denna Laing grabbed the rebound and sent it past O’Brien for her eighth of the season.
Rensselaer failed to capitalize on a five-on-three advantage late in the first period, striking the post and getting denied by Webber with a glove save. Six minutes into the second frame, the Tigers took the lead with sophomore Sally Butler’s team-leading 13th goal of the season. The Engineers peppered Webber with a barrage of shots to end the frame, but the Princeton defense blocked most and kept the game 2-1.
With four minutes remaining in the game, junior Taylor Horton had the best opportunity to find the equalizer with a partial breakaway, but was stopped by Webber. The Engineers pulled O’Brien in favor of the extra skater with just over a minute to play, but it wasn’t enough to get another shot past Webber. O’Brien finished with 24 saves for the Engineers, while Webber posted 22 stops.
The following afternoon fared no better for Rensselaer, as Quinnipiac sophomore Kelly Babstock’s hat trick propelled the Bobcats to a 5-1 victory over the Engineers. Quinnipiac, who finished as the sixth seed in the ECAC playoffs with a 17-14-2 overall record and a 12-8-2 league mark, will play third-seeded Clarkson University this weekend.
Following a scoreless first period, the Bobcats struck first with junior Breann Frykas’ 11th goal of the season at 7:09 of the second frame. Following a slap shot by junior Regan Boulton from the point, Frykas was there to stuff home the rebound. Shortly after at 12:52, Babstock scored her first of three on the afternoon, and the eventual game-winner.
Babstock made it a 3-0 match at 15:56 with her 16th tally of the season. The sophomore intercepted a pass in the Bobcat’s offensive zone and swooped across the crease before burying the biscuit past RPI freshman goaltender Brianna Piper.
The Engineers managed to get on the scoreboard at 14:28 of the third period off sophomore Toni Sander’s sixth goal of the season. However, empty net goals from Babstock and senior Bethany Dymarczyk eliminated all chances of an RPI comeback. Quinnipiac junior goaltender Victoria Vigilanti made 18 stops in the win, while Piper blocked 17 attempts.
Rensselaer nearly made the ECAC playoffs, and although tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with Brown University, lost the tiebreaker against the Bears. Following a rebuilding season which saw many freshmen find success at the Division-I hockey level, the Engineers should come back as a force in the upcoming year.