Repeated movements and jumps of referees and linesmen, echoing sounds due to the collision between players and boards at full speed, and high-pitched shouts both from the hockey rink and grandstand all attributed to the enthralling and intense women’s hockey game.
At 4 pm on Saturday, October 3rd, as the puck fell from the referee’s hand, the women’s hockey game between the University of North Dakota and the Rensselaer Engineers launched with the faceoff between senior forward Shannon Kaiser of UND and senior forward Alexa Gruschow of RPI, won by the Engineers. Both teams were aggressive and energetic, while both made mistakes. After UND pressured the puck into their offensive zone for seven minutes, the Engineers started a power play at 7:01 due to a penalty on UND’s freshman forward Rebekah Kolstad for checking. However, instead of seizing this opportunity with a step-by-step organized strategy, the Engineers failed to take possession of the puck and missed an excellent opportunity to give themselves a lead in the game.
A second chance for a power play in the first period quickly fell on the Engineers at 12:35, beginning with the faceoff won by North Dakota. Despite the fact that the Engineers should have held an obvious offensive advantage, RPI didn’t pose a strong threat to the visiting team in these two minutes. In the last 30 seconds of the power play, UND’s defense stood strong against the Engineers, despite the Rensselaer team having an extra player at the time. At 14:06, the last 19 seconds of the Engineer’s power play, UND’s senior forward Layla Marvin scored, assisted by Kolstad and junior forward Amy Menke.
For the majority of the second period, the visitors still dominated, leading the game with its second goal at 6:28 by senior forward Meghan Dufault, until the Engineers earned their first point at 15:28.
In the third period, UND scored twice more: once during a power play, and once in the last 15 seconds of the game. RPI took the risk to put an extra forward in the rink with an empty net at 17:33. However, Rensselaer failed to capitalize with its additional player. UND won the faceoff to the defenseman who wrapped the puck around the boards at 19:32. North Dakotas’s senior forward Becca Kohler broke the Engineers’ 6-on-5 offense in empty net goal, shooting in the neutral zone.
The Engineers finally ended the game 1-4. However, the save percentage of RPI’s freshman goalie Lovisa Selander, 91 percent, was still impressive relative to that of UND’s 95 percent, and allowed only one goal during the game. The 41 saves made by Selander in the 57:46 of gameplay were truly highlights of the game.
It is true that the result weighs heavily for games as competitive as ice hockey. However, scores are not the only measure to judge a game. Many alumni came to watch the game. Bill Bernstein ’65 commented after the game, “It is my first time watching an RPI women’s game. Back then, there was no women’s team at RPI.”
“There were only two women graduated in four years when I was in RPI, I remember,” said Barry Freedman ’55, “I am so delighted and excited to see that RPI can have so many ambitious, powerful and high-spirited young ladies to make this community a brighter and more colorful one.”