On Nov. 24 and 25, women’s hockey competed against Rensselaer Polytechnic’s Engineers (RPE). The Lakers raked in their first win on home ice all season on Friday, but lost the ninth of 14 games the following afternoon. After losing to Minnesota two weeks ago, the Lakers could not have found a more promising way to start the weekend in their last series before this weekend’s showdown with ninth-ranked Robert Morris in Moon Township, Pa. The Lakers were challenged by two Engineer power-play goals a day after killing off all seven Engineer power plays in a 4-1 win while dropping a 4-3 matinée the following day in a series that saw a combined 18 penalties.
Just seven and a half minutes in, freshman Laker Megan Korzack made her presence known, after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone. She wristed her second of the season at 7:56 past Engineers goaltender Lovisa Selander in what was just the fifth shot-on-goal of the contest for the Lakers. It would be less than four minutes later that Selander couldn’t keep her composure, losing a trickling puck in the crease that Lakers Sarah McDonnell and Molly Blasen had played in their defensive zone. From here, the Lakers’ Summer-Rae Dobson fired from the blue line and found goal, her fourth of the season. But just 1:20 after that tally doubled the Lakers’ lead, an interference call on Morgan Stacey handed the Engineers their first of seven power-plays. Laker Maggie Knott cleaned up her fourth of the season just as the penalties expired to score in her third straight game.
Selander made just nine saves in the first period before the Engineers’ Kira Bombay came in relief to halt the bleeding and sway momentum for the visitors. It appeared as if exactly that would occur after Alexa Vasko of the Lakers was booked for a tripping call a 4:18 of the second, but they mustered just a single shot on McDonnell along with two wide shots. The Engineers managed a block off Laker Brooke Hartwick over the ensuing six minutes, continuing into a hooking minor on Hartwick at 10:01. But McDonnell stopped five shots in the shorthanded stretch, along with three more after a hooking call on Jennifer MacAskill at 13:56. The Engineers finally got on the board more than 5 minutes later as the Engineers’ Marisa Raspa found her second of the season to cut the deficit.
A string of four blocked shots in the following four and a half minutes led to a kneeing call on Laker Callie Paddock, appearing to bring the Engineers closer to a comeback. But an unproductive power play that made up the final advantage of the game for the Engineers saw only a wide shot. Vilma Tanskanen sealed the contest for the Lakers with her sixth of the season into an empty net, with assists from Stacey and Samantha Isbell. In the end, the Lakers handed the Engineers just their third loss in their last 12 games.
The following afternoon, despite McDonnell tying a season-high with 31 saves the previous night, she couldn’t keep the Engineers (5-7-3) from striking first. After the Engineers’ Whitney Renn blocked a shot from Isbell, the Engineers’ Blake Orosz scored her second of the season. But the Lakers responded just 59 seconds later after Korzack won a draw, and Blasen rebounded a block off of Kendra Farole and found Celine Frappier for her first of the campaign. The Lakers then killed off their eighth-straight penalty of the weekend after Emma Nuutinen was called for a cross-check.
Six and a half minutes later, after Rachel Marmen (Lakers) was called for a trip, the Engineers finally capitalized on a power-play. Madeleine Burnett (Engineers) sent her third of the season past Laker goalie McDonnell (2-6-2. 2.68) to increase the Engineers’ tally. The Lakers tried to find an equalizer after Stacey blocked two shots as part of five, but Thomas (Engineers) found her fifth of the season at 6:13 on assists from Jaimie Grigsby and Shayna Tomlinson to extend the lead. After the Engineers took their timeout at 9:08 of the second, it would be just 66 seconds later that Knott was called for a trip. Grigsby sent her rating to a team low -8 at 10:42 with her fourth of the season on assists from Renn and Sabrina Repaci. Kennedy Blair (1-3, 2.69) was inserted by the Lakers to stop the bleeding, and a series of three blocked shots, two saves off Selander.
However, two wide shots finally came to fruition with 4:46 left in the period after Laker Sarah Hine found Samantha Fieseler for her second of the season. The squads exchanged penalties to wrap up the second. Knott was called for tripping at 16:06 and Burnett for slashing just 41 seconds later. Selander opened the third with seven on her 38 saves, including 18 overall in the third. Isbell connected her second on the season on an assist from Sarah Robello, her first point since returning from surgery on Nov. 3.
But Selander sealed the victory with a string of 11 more saves to close out the contest. The Engineers were outshot 40-33 and lost the faceoff battle 38-21. The Engineers did go 2-5 on the power play though, and as such avoided the sweep. Although they are now 3-9-2, the Lakers still stand at 2-2-1 in their division. The Lakers will be back in Moon Township at Robert Morris University.