RPI protects rink against Harvard, Dartmouth

TAYLOR SCHWALBE EMBRACES her teammates during their suspenseful win against Dartmouth.

Rensselaer defended its home ice well this weekend, in what were its final two home games of the season. First, the Engineers tied a tough Harvard team 1-1 behind excellent goaltending from freshman goalie Lovisa Selander in the second game, they came from behind to defeat Dartmouth 2-1 on Senior Day.

In the first period against Harvard, the Engineers tallied four shots on goal compared to 10 for the Crimson. But, Selander stood up to the challenge and the game remained scoreless after 20 minutes of play. Five minutes into the second period, sophomore forward Shayna Tomlinson corralled the puck behind the Harvard net and passed to senior forward Alexa Gruschow on the wing. Gruschow fumbled the puck before passing it between her legs to junior forward Laura Horwood in front of the Harvard net. Horwood dished back to Gruschow who ripped a shot toward Harvard goalie Emerance Maschmeyer. Maschmeyer failed to collect the shot, and the puck bounced free to Tomlinson who flicked it into the Crimson net to give the Engineers a 1-0 lead.

Harvard responded ten minutes later when the Engineers failed to clear the puck from their zone. After a missed shot by Harvard, RPI tried to work the puck behind the back of their net and start a possession of their own. But, the puck bounced free to Crimson forward Grace Zarzecki who slapped it by Solander glove side to tie the game at one apiece.

Despite strong efforts from both offenses, the third period and overtime elapsed without a tiebreaker. Selander had another high quality performance, making 42 saves on 43 shots, her third-most saves this season. Meanwhile, Maschmeyer turned aside 25 of 26 shots to help Harvard earn a tie on the road.

On Senior Day, Dartmouth scored six minutes in when Big Green forward Kennedy Ottenbreit fired a shot at the RPI net that deflected off of the skate of forward Alyssa Baker and into the Engineer net. That, however, would be the last of Dartmouth’s goals against Selander, who stopped the other 28 attempts that went her way. In her final game at the Houston Field House, senior goalie Sara Till started the game recording one save before being replaced by Selander.

Late in the second period, senior defender Brandi Banks gathered a pass from junior defender Hannah Behounek and skated into Dartmouth’s zone. With the lone defender lagging behind her, Banks took a shot at Big Green goalie Robyn Chemago. The puck deflected off of Chemago’s pads and skittered into the Dartmouth net to tie the game at one.

Then, with five and a half minutes remaining in the game’s final period, freshman forward Taylor Schwalbe stole the puck from a Dartmouth defender and fired a shot stick-side past Chemago to give the Engineers a 2-1 lead. Rensselaer improved its record to 10-14-6 overall and 8-8-4 in ECAC Hockey.

Next weekend, they will travel south to take on ECAC foes Princeton and Quinnipiac in their final two games of the regular season.