Rensselaer Rallies Past Cornell
TROY, N.Y. - Powered by a two-goal effort in the final period, the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) women's ice hockey team defeated Cornell University, 3-1, in ECAC Hockey action on Friday. With the victory, the Engineers improve to 15-13-4 and 10-8-3 in conference play.
The Big Red drop to 11-12-5 overall and 7-9-5 in ECAC Hockey.
RPI remains seventh overall in the league standings with one game remaining. The Engineers are one point behind sixth-place Clarkson and four points behind tomorrow's opponent, Colgate. Tonight's game also marked the second season that Rensselaer has been victorious on Pink at the Rink Day. Last season, the Engineers defeated Colgate in the first year of the event.
Locked in a 1-1 tie after the first two periods of play, Rensselaer broke the game wide open with goals by junior Whitney Naslund (Bloomington, MN/Bloomington Jefferson) and Alisa Harrison (Vienna, VA/Washington Pride) in the third stanza.
Naslund gave RPI the 2-1 edge at 4:53 after she settled the puck just to the right of Cornell goalie Jenny Niesluchowski (Camarillo, CA/Cal Selects U19 AAA) and roofed it over her right shoulder. Earning the assists were senior Melissa Boik (Allen Park, MI/Michigan Capitals), who passed the puck from the near point, and junior Laura Gersten (Queensbury, NY/Troy-Albany Ice Cats).
Looking to grab the equalizer, Cornell pulled its goalie twice with under a minute remaining in the game, but was unable to keep control as RPI held strong on the puck in the offensive zone. With Niesluchowski out and 38 seconds left in the game, Naslund took a shot which was blocked and rebounded out to junior Allison Wright (Oakville, ON/Oakville Ice) at the top of the near circle. She sent a quick shot over to Harrison in the high slot, who tallied her 12th of the season.
Rookie Jill Vandegrift (St. Paul, MN/Minnesota Thoroughbreds) got things going early for the Engineers after she scored her fifth of the season at just 1:45 into the opening period. Sophomore Sydney O'Keefe (Prior Lake, MN/Prior Lake) earned the primary assist after her shot rebounded off the goalie and out to Vandegrift at the bottom of the far circle. Boik was credited with the second assist.
The visiting Big Red wasted little time in tying things up as freshman Catherine White (Brampton, ON/Mississauga Chiefs) sent a shot from the mid-slot past the reach of RPI's Sonja van der Bliek (Toronto, ON/Toronto Jr. Aeros) at 3:46. Through traffic in front of the net, the puck somehow slid out to the right circle and the stick of Cornell's Amanda Young (LaCombe, AB/Red Deer Chiefs), who passed it to White for the power play tally.
RPI, which held a 35-27 advantage in shots for the game, saw van der Bliek stop 26 shots for the win. Niesluchowski made 32 saves in the loss.
Rensselaer concludes its regular season schedule tomorrow afternoon against Colgate at 4pm. Saturday's game will feature a number of activities, including honoring the 15th anniversary of the 1993-94 National Club Championship team and Senior Appreciation Day as RPI celebrates its six seniors and their families. The Big Red head to Schenectady for their regular season finale against Union (4pm).