|Institution:||Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute|
|Location:||Troy, New York|
|Colors:||Cherry red and white|
|Home Arena:||Houston Field House|
|Dimensions:||200' x 85'|
The Rensselaer Engineers (commonly referred to as the RPI Engineers) are a team in the ECAC Hockey League in Women's Division I and previously as a Division I Independent for the 2005-06 season while transitioning from the the Women's Division III ECAC East.
History[edit | edit source]
History Although Ivy League schools were sponsoring varsity women's hockey years earlier, Rensselaer's women's team began as a student-sponsored club team during the 1976-77 season, splitting its home games between Houston Field House and the Knickerbocker Arena in North Troy. Rensselaer's student body, traditionally mostly male, simply did not have enough women interested or able to play hockey prior to this time. During the 1970s and early 1980s the team often struggled to stay solvent, most often due to lack of interest as the number of women at the Institute was still relatively low.
The success of the men's varsity team in the mid-1980s gave the team a shot in the arm as interest increased. Through the remainder of the decade and into the 1990s, the team was increasingly competitive among other club teams. In 1992, senior undergraduate Ryan Stone took over as the team's head coach and stayed on as he remained at the Institute to attend graduate school. Under Stone, the team reached new heights. Rensselaer participated in the 1994 AWCHA championships and won the national club title. The team would host the 1995 AWCHA championships, but lost in the semifinals to Minnesota before defeating Colgate to finish the tournament in third place, the team's last game as a club team. In 1995, the team was elevated to the varsity level, competing in Division III.
Division III[edit | edit source]
Stone remained at the helm as the team made the transition to varsity status. The first few years in Division III were difficult, but the team continued to stay competitive, attaining a winning overall record in the 1997-98 and reaching the playoffs in 1998-99. In that year, forward Bridget LaNoir became the first woman in RPI history to be named a hockey All-American. During the late 1990s, the team was among the best in the ECAC North, vying with Middlebury for the top of the division. The team was led by forwards LaNoir (who would later return as an assistant coach), Cindy Acropolis, and Talia Acampora, all of whom still hold team scoring records, and supported in net by Nina Lynch, who still owns records for career victories and shutouts.
Stone finished his doctorate studies left the team after the 1999-2000 season, and was replaced by men's assistant Bill Cahill. Cahill had formerly been the interim men's coach following the departure of Mike Addesa, and had been the head coach of the men's program at Norwich, his alma mater, before returning to RPI in 1995. Cahill's first season was difficult, as the team lost Acropolis, Acampora, and Lynch to graduation, and the Engineers finished near the middle of the pack in the ECAC rather than near the top as had become the norm. When the ECAC was split following the 2000-01 season, the Engineers were placed in the ECAC East league. The 2001-02 season was a year of improvement, but the team again finished in the middle of the smaller league. The 2002-03 season was a breakthrough for the team, as Cahill's style and recruitment classes began to set in. The team went 17-3-0 in the ECAC East and won 20 games for the first time in Division III. The team advanced to the ECAC East Championship game against Manhattanville, but lost a close game, just missing out on the NCAA tournament.
With Cahill behind the bench, the team seemed to be ready to take the next step, but Cahill's sudden death in October 2003 from a heart attack dealt a blow to a team on the way up. Again, the Institute turned to a men's assistant to fill the void, this time choosing John Burke. The team bounced back very well, again finishing near the top of the ECAC East, reaching the ECAC East Championship game for the second straight year, again losing to Manhattanville.
On January 12, 2004, following the defeat of Proposition 65, the Institute announced that the team would be elevated to the Division I level in time for the 2005-06 season, which had been one of Cahill's major goals for the team. The team spent its last season in Division III during the 2004-05 season, which was very similar to its previous two campaigns, playing well and being among the best teams in the nation, but ultimately being unable to solve Manhattanville. Among the noteworthy players during the Engineers' last years in Division III were Sara Riel and Lane Dielwart on defense, forwards Christin Sauca, Katie Woodward, Julie Welte, and Julie Aho, and the goaltending platoon of Julie Vallarelli and Rosina Schiff. The Engineers final season in Division III was the 2004-05 season. In that season, the Engineers qualified to the championship game of the ECAC East Tournament. It was their second consecutive season in the championship. That season, RPI had 21 wins, comparted to only six losses. Their league record was 17-2-0. In addition, the Engineers were ranked second in the nation in scoring defense (allowing only 1.22 goals per game). Nationally, the Engineers were fourth in power play percentage and eighth in scoring offense. The star of the team was sophomore Julie Aho. She was selected as an AHCA National All-America, and led the team in scoring in each of her first two seasons.
Division I[edit | edit source]
In 2005-06, RPI was a Division I independent. The club won 18 games, lost 6 and tied 2. During that season, the school notched wins over Colgate, Northeastern, Connecticut and Boston University. Despite being an independent, the Engineers were ranked fourth in the NCAA in winning percentage (.731) and seventh in scoring offense (3.23 goals per game average). Senior goaltender Rosina Schiff would become the program’s all-time leader in wins with 40 (since broken) and games played with 65 (since broken).
In its second season in Division I (2007-08), Rensselaer won 13 games, compared to 15 losses and 5 ties. In the ECAC, its conference record was 6-12-4. The Engineers matched the single season record for ties, including its first-ever point over then nationally-ranked Dartmouth in a 1-1 draw in Hanover. 
The record for most wins in one season is 19, which was set in 2008-09 (19-14-4). On February 28, 2010, Rensselaer made NCAA history. The Engineers beat Quinnipiac, 2-1, but it took five overtimes. It is now the longest college hockey game in NCAA history. Senior defenseman Laura Gersten had the game winning goal. She registered it at 4:32 of the fifth overtime session to not only clinch the win, but the series victory. 
In June of 2017 Rensselaer has named Bryan Vines the interim head women’s hockey coach, he was previously the assistant coach of the men's team. John Burke was let go after coaching the team for 14 seasons.
Head Coaches[edit | edit source]
- Ryan Stone (1996-2000) 53-41-6
- Bill Cahill (2000-2003) 47-28-3
- John Burke (2003-2017) 184-228-52
- Bryan Vines (2017-present) 23-70-12 as of end of 2019-20 season
Arenas[edit | edit source]
- Houston Field House (1997-present)
Year by year[edit | edit source]
|ECAC Alliance (Division III)||Overall Record|
|ECAC Division III North||Overall Record|
|ECAC East||Overall Record|
|1999-00||17||11||4||2||77||33||24||T-3rd||W, QF 3-1 (Vermont) L, SF 6-0 (Middlebury)||26||13||11||2||99||66|
|2000-01||18||9||7||2||49||51||20||10th||Did not qualify||24||12||10||2||84||68|
|2001-02||18||11||7||0||101||28||22||5th||W, QF 9-2 (Union) L, SF 5-1 (Manhattanville)||27||15||11||1||128||61|
|2002-03||20||17||3||0||113||30||34||2nd||W, QF 11-0 (Salve Regina) W, SF 2-1 (S. Maine) L, F 3-1 (Manhattanville)||27||20||7||0||132||52|
|2003-04||17||13||3||1||59||21||27||2nd||W, SF 4-3 (New England College) L, F 2-0 (Manhattanville)||27||19||5||3||92||43|
|2004-05||19||17||2||0||101||15||34||2nd||W, SF 5-2 (RIT) L, F 4-1 (Manhattanville)||27||21||6||0||122||33|
|NCAA Division I Independent||Overall Record|
|ECAC Women's||Overall Record|
|2006-07||22||8||13||1||52||63||17||8th||L, QF 2 games to none (Dartmouth)||35||12||22||1||91||99|
|2007-08||22||6||12||4||38||57||16||9th||Did not qualify||33||13||15||5||71||73|
|2008-09||22||11||8||3||53||51||25||6th||W, QF 2 games to none (Princeton) W, SF 3-2 (ot) W, SF 3-2 (ot) (Harvard) L, F 6-1 (Dartmouth)||37||19||14||4||86||83|
|2009-10||22||11||7||4||56||42||26||6th||W, QF 2 games to 1 (Quinnipiac) L, SF 5-4 (Cornell)||37||16||15||6||87||77|
|2010-11||22||8||12||2||43||55||18||8th||L, QF 2 games to none (Cornell)||35||10||18||7||63||97|
|2011-12||22||6||14||2||44||63||14||9th||Did not qualify||34||9||21||4||73||102|
|2012-13||22||8||12||2||48||59||18||7th||L, QF 2 games to none (Clarkson)||36||10||22||4||76||99|
|2013-14||22||6||14||2||43||61||14||10th||Did not qualify||33||10||20||3||68||86|
|2014-15||22||5||16||1||42||76||11||9th||Did not qualify||34||7||23||4||63||111|
|2015-16||22||8||9||5||38||49||21||8th||L, QF 2 games to 1 (Quinnipiac)||34||10||17||7||62||80|
|2016-17||22||7||14||1||39||73||15||8th||L, QF 2 games to none (Clarkson)||36||10||24||2||62||117|
|2017-18||22||6||13||3||35||50||15||9th||Did not qualify||34||9||19||6||54||78|
|2018-19||22||10||11||1||33||57||21||8th||L, QF 2 games to 1 (Cornell)||37||14||18||5||50||88|
|2019-20||22||0||22||0||14||82||0||1th||Did not qualify||34||0||33||1||21||122|
Notable players[edit | edit source]
- Julie Aho
- Alisa Harrison
- Rosina Schiff
- Sonja van der Bliek
- As of the end of the 2009-10 season, Sonja van der Bliek was RPI’s single season record holder in numerous categories: most games played (84), most games started (83), most wins (42-31-11), most minutes played (5161:36), most saves (1922) and most shutouts (16). 
- Alison Wright
Awards and honors[edit | edit source]
- Julie Aho, AHCA National All-America (2005)
- Laura Gersten, Sarah Devens Award
- Alisa Harrison, ECAC Hockey All-Rookie Team (2009)
- Whitney Naslund, ECAC Hockey Championship All-Tournament Team (2009)
- Sierra Vadner, Defense, 2009 ECAC All-Rookie Team
- Sonja van der Bliek was named the ECAC Goaltender of the Week (for the week of March 1, 2010) 
References[edit | edit source]
- May 6, 2010. Gersten Named Sarah Devens Award Winner. ECAC Hockey. Retrieved on 11 May 2010.
Rensselaer Resources[edit | edit source]
External Links[edit | edit source]