The St. Lawrence University women's hockey team picked up its first win of the season on Friday afternoon, as the Saints skated to a 3-2 victory over Rensselaer at Appleton Arena in the 2012-13 ECAC Hockey opener. Senior captain Kelly Sabatine had a pair of goals including the game-winner, though the Engineers gave the home team all it could handle before falling a goal short.
St. Lawrence (1-5-0, 1-0-0) used a pair of power play goals to get the win, including the first collegiate tally by first-year student Abbey McRae. RPI falls to 1-4-1 after losing a game that saw all five goals come in the first period.
"Our first five games prepared us well for today," said St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells. "RPI is always one of the best-coached and hardest-working teams in the league."
St. Lawrence, which opened with five games against current top-5 teams, fell behind 1-0 only 56 seconds into regulation on Friday, as Taylor Horton converted a two-on-one try for the Engineers, lifting a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Carmen MacDonald. Katie Daniels was credited with an assist.
The home team would rebound with a pair of goals only 2:08 apart to take its first lead of the season. Sabatine scored her second of the season to tie the score at 1-1 at 8:12, while McRae followed at 10:20 on the power play. The London, ON native pounced a rebound in the slot to give her squad a 2-1 lead.
Though Mari Mankey would level the scoring at 14:51 of the first after converting on a St. Lawrence turnover in the defensive zone, Sabatine would give her team the lead for good at 17:45. With Rensselaer short-handed, sophomore Amanda Boulier pushed a rebound to the blue line to senior Brooke Fernandez, who quickly sent a pass for Sabatine outside the left circle. Her blast squeezed inside the near post and past RPI goalie Brianna Piper for a 3-2 lead. Boulier earned her second assist of the evening on the go-ahead goal.
MacDonald delivered a crucial performance in both the second and third period to keep RPI from tying the game, as the Engineers had the better of the play throughout the final two stanzas. The Pictou, NS native turned away 15 shots in the final 40:00 minutes to earn the victory, while Kelly O'Brien, who relieved Piper after the first period, made 11 saves in her stead. Piper suffered the loss having made 11 stops in the first period.
"Rensselaer had us on our heels after we took the 3-2 lead," added Coach Wells. "Our power play scored when we needed it and we were able to preserve the win."
St. Lawrence closed with a 25-22 edge in shots on goal thanks to a 14-7 advantage in the first. Rensselaer was 0-for-3 with the extra skater, while St. Lawrence finished 2-for-3, with the lone failed try coming on a five second power play.
The Scarlet and Brown will look to earn a sweep on the opening weekend of ECAC Hockey play when they host Union College tomorrow, Saturday, October 27 at Appleton Arena at 2:00pm.