RIT enjoys signature weekend
RIT put together a more than respectable 2012 portion of the season. The Tigers entered the break with a 7-9-3 mark, including 2-3-3 in the CHA. Their worst defeat was a 7-0 setback versus Mercyhurst, but that came in the first weekend.
However, a summation of their season would likely have been “not bad,” rather than a more ringing endorsement for two reasons. RIT lacked any wins that would really make one take notice. Sweeping Sacred Heart was expected even when the Tigers played in D-III. The other wins came against Brown and Yale, two programs showing signs of a return to respectability but still having ground to cover, and Penn State and Lindenwood, teams making a similar exodus as the Tigers. In addition, RIT’s performance in the second game of a series had consistently dropped from the level of the series opener. Through its first seven series, the goal differential regressed by an average of three goals in series finales.
Neither criticism is valid any longer. The Tigers went on the road to face Robert Morris, the team with the best winning percentage in CHA play, and shocked the Colonials on Friday, 2-1. Perhaps even more impressively, a second victory on Saturday by the identical score proved that the first win was not a fluke.
Goaltender Ali Binnington led the way, stopping 29 of 30 shots on Friday and 31 of 32 on Saturday. RIT’s special teams also played a vital role. In each contest, RMU struck first, but the Tigers drew even with a power-play goal. RIT’s two-for-five conversion rate with the advantage stands in sharp contrast to the zero-of-eight power play of the Colonials. The turning point for the weekend may have come in Friday’s third period when the Tigers’ Carly Payerl was assessed a five-minute major for checking from behind at 2:29 while the score was tied, 1-1. The penalty kill held off RMU, and Lindsay Grigg scored the game-winner with five minutes remaining. Kim Schlattman fueled the Tigers’ offensive push with a goal and two assists over the two games.
Robert Morris loses much of the edge gained by its December sweep of Mercyhurst. The Colonials were a team under consideration in the PairWise Rankings and were poised to break into the top 10 in the polls. Now they find themselves looking up at two teams in the CHA standings.
Colgate ends Vermont unbeaten streak
Vermont advanced its program-record unbeaten streak to six games with a 2-1 win over Colgate on Saturday. Freshman defenseman Gina Repaci scored her first collegiate goal on a third-period power play to decide matters, and senior Kelci Lanthier turned aside 31 shots in improving her personal record to 2-2.
The Raiders exacted some revenge on Sunday. On three separate occasions, Vermont scored to erase one-goal deficits, the latest coming from Emily Walsh with under two minutes remaining in regulation. When the Raiders’ Jocelyn Simpson scored with a minute to go in overtime to make the score 4-3, the contest ended with no further opportunity for the Catamounts to answer, and the Vermont string was snapped. The goal was Simpson’s second of the game, to go with two assists. Klara Myren had a goal and two helpers for Vermont.
No. 5 Boston College and No. 9 Northeastern of Hockey East traveled to New York’s North Country to face ECAC squads, No. 2 Clarkson and unranked St. Lawrence. The Saints proved to present the more formidable challenge, as two top players for the Golden Knights, forward Jamie Lee Rattray and defenseman Erin Ambrose, were playing for Canada at the Meco Cup in Germany.
Clarkson was no match for the Eagles on Thursday. BC’s power play clicked on three of five chances in a 5-1 win, as 10 different Eagles recorded points, with Dana Trivigno, Emily Field, and Haley Skarupa each producing two.
The Knights put forth a better effort on Friday against the Huskies, taking a 3-1 lead on a Vanessa Gagnon goal early in the third period. Clarkson only had 14 skaters dressed, and that may have taken a toll, as Northeastern stormed back with three straight goals to win, 4-3. Rookie Paige Savage had a monster game for the Huskies, scoring the game-winner at 13:51 after assisting on the first three tallies.
Meanwhile, SLU showed early signs of making a second-half run as it did a year ago. The Saints outclassed Northeastern by a 6-0 score on Thursday. Rylee Smith had two goals and an assist, while Carmen MacDonald was flawless in a 27-save shutout.
Friday, Alex Carpenter had a goal and two assists as Boston College took a 3-1 lead, but St. Lawrence staged a third-period rally with Abbey McRae and Kelly Sabatine scoring to force overtime. However, Blake Bolden scored on the only shot of OT to give the Eagles the 4-3 triumph, stretching their unbeaten streak to 14 games, the last nine of which have been wins.
How the rest of the top 10 fared
No. 4 Harvard was the only other ranked team to play an official game; No. 1 Minnesota, No. 3 Cornell, No. 6 Boston University, No. 7 Mercyhurst, No. 8 Wisconsin, and No. 10 Ohio State were either idle or playing exhibitions.
The Crimson improved to 11-1-1 on the season by demolishing Union, 9-0, and edging past Rensselaer, 2-1, on the strength of a third-period power-play goal by defenseman Kelsey Romatoski. Jillian Dempsey spurred the rout of the Dutchwomen with a pair of goals and three assists.
Each side claims a battle of the Bears
Maine traveled to Providence for two games on the weekend, defeating Brown, 4-2, in the opener. Kelly McDonald and Brianne Kilgour each contributed a goal plus an assist for the Black Bears. Sunday was the Brown Bears’ turn, as the hosts’ offense ended a long hibernation with a 6-5 victory. The six goals were the most scored by Brown since a 6-1 win over Quinnipiac on January 11, 2008. One has to go back to December of 2004 to find a game where the Bears have tallied more than six times. Maine’s Brittany Dougherty and the Brown duo of Laurie Jolin and Lauren Vella all had three-point games.