RPI has been doing very well this year and it is almost entirely due to Lovisa Selander’s incredible performances over and over and over. She often faces huge amounts of shots on goal, thirty to forty and in the case of Saturday, 56 shots on goal.
Friday’s game against Dartmouth was interesting because RPI scored five goals, higher than most of their games all season and they were all scored by different players. Selander faced more shots on goal but it was a relatively equally played game, with both teams having good scoring chances and it was end to end play. Most of the goals were interesting ones, not the usual redirect shots from the person in front of the goal. They also kept up with shots on goal through the game, until the last period when Dartmouth pulled ahead.
It was nearly a 5-1 game but during a power play, RPI got sloppy and allowed a shorthanded goal. I’m not saying Selander was screened by her own player but it was a really silly goal all around.
The game versus Harvard was a super fun one at first. RPI was tied with shots against Harvard in the first period and actually led them in shots against for a little while. End to end, back and forth play. Selander made her 11th save of the game, which put her into first place in career NCAA saves, beating Brianne McLaughlin of Buffalo Beauts 16-17 season fame. RPI scored a goal in the first period, a nice redirect that put them ahead.
Whether it was that goal or Selander’s saves or something the coaches said, Harvard came out swinging. And swung so hard they put 25 shots on goal in the second period. They scored once, flipping a rebound up over Selander’s pads. But holy crap. RPI had no offensive zone time and often they barely got the puck out of the zone. There were several moments where Harvard caught them on a change, picking the puck up at the red line or at their own blue line and speeding past RPI’s players.
The second goal was also in the second period and it was a huge scramble in front of the net with Selander in the middle and the puck trickled past her where a Harvard player easily popped it into the net. There was a review, but they said there was no goaltender interference so it stood.
The third period was slightly more balanced in that RPI had some more chances but Harvard kept pressuring. They put another 19 shots on goal but Selander saved them all for a total of 56 shots on goal and 54 saves. 54!
I think she had a perfect storm to get to all time save leader and it’s a team that really fails on defense and playing against teams like Colgate, Cornell, Princeton and Clarkson that produce a lot of shots on goal. This year, RPI only has five defenders. They’ve been switching lines up recently but I think this is a key issue.
Selander has really carried this RPI team this year. They’re doing far better than they have been in the past several years. She’s been their starter all four years she’s been playing for them and I think she’s finally hit an incredible stride. Overall RPI runs around 1-2 or 1-3 wins to losses with a few ties thrown in. The two exceptions are Selander’s freshman year where they were 8-9-5 (ECAC) and this year where they are currently 9-8-1 (ECAC). I suspect her freshman year was in part due to a strong forward presence, especially with current Riveter’s player Alexa Grushow being a senior that year. This year, I would attribute to Selander, who is a really fun goalie to watch.
It will be really interesting to see if Selander plays professionally after this, whether with the Boston Pride, who drafted her, or back in Sweden in the SDHL or somewhere else. I bet she will continue playing with the Swedish National Team and it will be really fun to follow her if she continues to play. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if she plays in the IIHF Women’s Worl Championship in April.
I think RPI has some tough teams to finish their season with and I don’t think they’ll be making top four. But if they force some games into ties, they might have enough points to move up to fifth in the ECAC ranks, and they should be proud of that.
They play Quinnipiac, Princeton, Cornell and Colgate in the next two weekends, all ECAC games. So Selander will have many more goals added to her record.