November 13, 2009

Engineers Handle Bulldogs

TROY, N.Y. - Junior center Sydney O'Keefe (Prior Lake, MN/Prior Lake) tallied a pair of goals, including her team-leading seventh of the season, as the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) women's hockey team defeated Yale University, 4-1 in ECAC Hockey play. With the win, the Engineers improve to 4-6-3 overall and 2-2-1 in conference action. The Bulldogs drop to 0-5-1 with a 0-5-0 ECAC Hockey mark.

Rensselaer opened the game's scoring as freshman Audrey Stapleton (Barrington Hills, IL/Chicago Young Americans) tallied her first career goal. Off a scramble for the loose puck in the neutral zone, Stapleton found it and split the Yale defense as she headed into the Bulldogs zone for a breakaway tally past junior Jackee Snikeris (Downington, PA/Connecticut Polar Bears) at 5:37.

The lead proved to be short-lived as the visitors evened it at 1-all on freshman Danielle Moncion's (Round Lake Center, ON/Deerfield Academy) goal at 6:35. Senior captain Caroline Murphy (Pomfret, CT/Connecticut Polar Bears) earned the lone assist after she tried to wrap the puck around the back of the net. RPI netminder Sonja van der Bliek (Toronto, ON/Toronto Jr. Aeros) made the initial save, but could not hold onto the rebound, which Moncion buried over her shoulder.

Despite a 9-4 disadvantage in shots in the second stanza, the homestanding Engineers grabbed a 2-1 lead at 15:37 after O'Keefe banged in the rebound of an Allysen Weidner (Wichita, KS/Shattuck St. Mary's) shot in the low slot.

Rensselaer carried the momentum into the final stanza as senior Whitney Naslund (Bloomington, MN/Bloomington Jefferson) and O'Keefe both lit the lamp late in the game. Naslund pushed the lead to 3-1 at the 18:24 mark after she carried the puck into the zone and rifled a shot from the top of the far circle past Snikeris.

Looking to push the score closer in the waning minutes, Yale pulled their goalie in favor of the extra-attacker with just over a minute remaining. The Bulldogs had several chances, but RPI gained control of the puck in its own zone and brought it down the ice.

Freshman Taylor Horton (St. Thomas, ON/Bluewater Jr. Hawks) passed the puck up to Weidner in the near circle. She edged around a defender to send it up to O'Keefe for the empty-net tally at 19:22.

van der Bliek stopped 23 of the 24 shots she faced, including 10 in the first period, to pick up her fourth victory of the season. Snikeris made 18 stops for Yale, which held a 24-22 shot advantage in the game.

Both squads return to the ice on Saturday afternoon as the Engineers welcome Brown (4pm), while the Bulldogs head to Schenectady to face Union (4pm).