RPI women’s hockey battles Boston foes

RPI SENIOR FORWARD TAYLOR HORTON HANDLES the biscuit in Saturday’s game against the Northeastern University Huskies. The match resulted in a loss for the Engineers, with the score ending at 1-0.

The women’s hockey team headed east on I-90 this past weekend to take on two of Hockey East’s best. Rensselaer put up a valiant fight against two nationally-ranked opponents, the Boston University Terriers and the Northeastern University Huskies. Despite a strong performance from the Engineers on both Friday and Saturday, the No. 3 Terriers came away with a 3-2 win, while the No. 8 Huskies were named the victor in a 1-0 decision. The two losses put RPI at 1-2-1 on the season.

Friday evening saw the Engineers take on BU at the Walter Brown Arena in Boston, Mass. Trailing by three after the first period, Rensselaer fought back to nearly knot the match.

The Terriers’ first goal of the match came at 4:09 of the opening frame, as senior forward Jenelle Kohanchuk knocked home a rebound from classmate Isabel Menard. Freshman Sarah Lefort made it a 2-0 match five minutes later as she lifted the puck over RPI sophomore goaltender Kelly O’Brien.

With only 2:07 remaining in the stanza, BU netted the eventual game-winner off freshman forward Dakota Woodworth’s first collegiate goal. Senior Kathryn Miller dished the biscuit over to classmate Jill Cardella, who then dropped the pass back to Woodworth. The rookie’s shot from the left circle sailed past O’Brien to give the Terriers a commanding 3-0 lead.

RPI wasn’t out of the match yet, however, as the Engineers broke the shutout with 41 ticks of the clock remaining in the period. Although the Terriers won an offensive-zone faceoff back to the neutral zone, RPI junior Toni Sanders was able to snatch the loose puck and skate into the BU zone. While Sander’s initial shot on net couldn’t make it past junior netminder Kerrin Sperry, sophomore Eleeza Cox was was on hand to bury the rebound.

Midway through the second period, Cox netted her second tally of the game to pull the Engineers within one. Cox fought off two Terriers in the corner to win the puck battle out to junior Clare Padmore. The Toronto, Ontario native then nailed Cox with a pass, who again snuck the puck past Sperry.

That would be as close as RPI would get, though, as the Terriers fought off two power play opportunities and a minute and a half of 6-on-5 hockey to maintain the lead. Sperry finished with 17 saves in her second win of the season, while O’Brien blocked 30 BU attempts.

The next afternoon proved no easier for the Engineers as they took on another women’s hockey powerhouse in Northeastern University. After skating through a scoreless first period, junior Katie McSorley netted her second goal of the season to take home the eventual win.

Rensselaer outshot the Huskies 10-5 in the first frame, and put a number of impressive attempts on sophomore goaltender Chloe Desjardins. However, the tables were turned in the second stanza as the Huskies came back to take a 13-2 shot advantage.

With 12:29 left in the second period, MacSorley knocked home her own rebound to put Northeastern up 1-0, with the assists going to sophomore Ann Doherty and senior Brittany Esposito. Doherty started the play by skating up the right side of the rink, and sending the puck over to Esposito, who then fed it to MacSorley in the slot. Although O’Brien denied MacSorley’s initial shot, she quickly collected the rebound and hit the back of the Rensselaer net on her second attempt.

The Engineers battled back in the third period, putting 12 shots on Desjardins. Despite three power play opportunities, RPI wasn’t able to bury the biscuit as the game ended in a 1-0 loss.

Desjardins finished with 24 saves as the Huskies moved to a perfect 4-0 on the season. Playing in her second-straight game, O’Brien shouldered the loss after making an impressive 20 stops.

This weekend pits Rensselaer against Route 7-rival Union College in a non-conference matchup. The Engineers take on the Dutchwomen at the Houston Field House this Saturday at 4 pm in their last match before the start of ECAC play.