Weekend preview: Back on the road

The Saints take to the road this weekend to start a four-game road trip, heading to the capital district to take on Union and RPI, two teams below the Saints in the standings. SLU will stop at Messa Rink first for a matchup with the Dutchwomen on Friday before making the trek to Troy to face Rensselaer on Saturday. 

Compared to last season, Union is having a decent year, but it’s impossible to get worse than a winless season, which is what the Dutchwomen endured a season ago. They won’t suffer a similar fate this season at 4-21-1, but it appears they’re still destined to finish last in the ECAC. 

In a tumultuous offseason, Union first said they wouldn’t fire their head coach, then ultimately did, as they should have, and brought in Josh Sciba, who’s first order of business was to find a new goalie after Melissa Black transferred to UVM. The answer has been Kate Spooner, and she has been pretty good for Union. Her record is only 4-13-1, but a 2.57 GAA and a .921 save percentage shows she’s better than her wins and losses indicate. 

Rookie Haley Shughart leads Union in scoring with 10 points, but she’s the only one to reach double digits. They average barely a goal a game and allow more than three to the opposition. Their PK is decent at 84.4% but their power play is stuck below 11%. 

Scoring early and often should be the goal for the Saints. If SLU can come out of the first period leading by a pair of goals, the game should pretty much be over. Union is 1-15-0 when trailing after the first period and 0-12-0 when trailing entering the third. 

Union has improved significantly over last season, but they’re still a bottom-dwelling ECAC team. Their four wins are spread over the course of the season, against pretty bad teams (all are among the worst ten teams in the PairWise). If the Saints play a smart but aggressive game against the Dutchwomen, two road points should be no problem. 

They’ll take on Rensselaer on Saturday in a game that provides just a touch more difficulty. RPI is 9-15-2 overall, but 6-7-1 in ECAC play. They are in the midst of a 4-1-1 stretch, with wins against Union, Harvard, Yale, and Brown, three of the worst teams in the ECAC. They also lost to Dartmouth and tied Union in that stretch. 

RPI has piled up wins recently, but not against tough competition. They haven’t come close to beating a ranked opponent, and lost 4-1 to SLU at Appleton in November. That being said, they aren’t a team to take lightly. 

Statistically, their offense gets close to two goals per game, but they have individual players who can make plays, like Laura Horwood (14 points in 19 games) and rookie Sabrina Repaci (13 points in 24 games). Lovisa Selander is one of the more under-appreciated goalies in the ECAC and has the capability to steal games. 

Another smart game for the Saints should put two points in their pockets and keep them two points back of Clarkson in the ECAC standings and in second in the PairWise. 

In other news, Kennedy Marchment was named ECAC player of the week for the second time this season after putting up four points on the weekend. She now leads the team in scoring with 41 points, good for second in the country. She'll look to pad her stats and reach career points 100 this weekend.