Photo credits: Andrew Vazzano
Sunday’s decisive ECAC quarterfinals game was a marathon on ice at the TD Bank Sports Center between the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Quinnipiac women’s ice hockey teams on Sunday. It took five overtimes and 144 minutes and 32 seconds, the second longest NCAA hockey game in Division I history, for the Engineers to beat the Bobcats, 2-1.
Four minutes and thirty-two seconds into the fifth overtime, RPI senior Laura Gersten scored the game-winning goal, just one minute before the game became the longest in history. Gersten received a pass from Whitney Naslund and fired a shot beneath the upper-right crossbar from the right faceoff circle to give them the 2-1 victory.
The goal sent the Engineer players and bench into celebration, but there was some confusion from the Bobcats bench because the light signaling a goal never went off. After the referees got together to review it, they determined it was a goal, drawing a roar from the Engineers, while Coach Rick Seeley and the Bobcats remained in disbelief.
The Bobcats missed a golden opportunity at the end of the fourth overtime when they had a power play in the final two minutes of the period, but didn’t capitalize on it.
Quinnipiac goaltender Victoria Vigilanti kept the team alive in overtime, including four clutch saves during an RPI power play in the first overtime. She finished the game with 57 saves.
During regulation, the Bobcats trailed for most of the game. With 5:22 remaining in the third period, senior Kallie Flor passed the puck across ice to sophomore Bethany Dymarczyk, who fired a slap shot from the left faceoff circle into the upper left-hand corner of the net for a power play goal to tie the game 1-1.
The Bobcats had some good chances to tie the game before that too. It appeared that they did tie the game in the second period when Flor delivered a slap shot off a faceoff in Quinnipiac’s offensive zone. However, her shot ricocheted off the left post and out of play.
The first period was an indicator of things to come as both teams showed they were evenly matched as each had seven shots on goal. But with 7:29 remaining, RPI sophomore Alisa Harrison received a pass from linemate Allison Wright and lifted the puck over Vigilanti’s dive to give the Engineers the early 1-0 lead.
Despite losing the series, Quinnipiac accomplished its most successful season it its nine-year history. They hosted its first ever playoff game and earned its first playoff win after beating RPI 2-1 in double-overtime on Friday. The team finished with a 19-10-8 record overall, and finished fourth in ECAC Hockey with an 11-4-7 record.
Seeley and the players were not available for comment after the game.