The no. 9 University of Rhode Island men’s hockey team secured a sweep against West Chester University this weekend, winning 3-1 on Friday and 6-1 on Saturday.
The Rams moved to 14-2-2 on the season and sit four points ahead of Stony Brook University in the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League standings.
In Friday’s game, West Chester struck first with a goal from Justin Finnerty at 8:35 in the first period. Â Each team had a power play opportunity in the period but neither was able to convert.
The Rams took control of the game in the next period. Â They went on the power play at 8:31 after West Chester was called for having too many men on the ice. Â Rhode Island capitalized on this with a goal from sophomore Billy D’Amore at 10:15, assisted by juniors Robbie Buehrer and Daniel Grogan.
A few minutes later, the Rams had another power play when West Chester’s Manny Billones was called for tripping but the Rams were unable to score. Â The second goal for the Rams came from junior Sam Scannell at 16:29, with an assist from freshman Mike Pesola. Â Scannell scored once more with 23.8 seconds remaining in the period with assists coming from sophomores Steve Donahue and John Ferguson.
In Saturday night’s game, the Rams got on the board first when they found the net with 49.8 seconds remaining as freshman Ray Boudiette scored on a deflection, assisted by junior Paul Centauro.
Once again, the Rams were able to dominate both ends of the ice beginning in the second period. The Rams were able to successfully kill a penalty on sophomore Nick Zellmer on one side of the ice, then Matthew Pederson gave the Rams their next goal at 8:04 assisted by Scannell and freshman Matt Armenti. Rhode Island’s third goal came from Pesola in a scramble in front of the West Chester net.
“I just think we settled down a little bit,” Boudiette said. “We were running around a little bit in the first period and we kind of got our legs going. Â It took us a couple shifts to get going.”
In the third period, Ferguson cushioned the Rams’ lead with a goal 21 seconds in, assisted by Buehrer and senior Cameron Schneck. Â West Chester was able to finally get on the board at 10:26 with a goal from Bill Swahl, who was assisted by Finnerty and James Muncie. Â At 12:57, the Rams further increased their lead with a second goal from Boudiette, who was unassisted. Â Junior Mark Luciano took advantage of a late power play and was assisted by senior John Del Padre as he scored the game’s final goal at 16:29.
“I thought we played a pretty decent first period,” Rhode Island head coach Joe Augustine said. Â “We had a lot of chances that we didn’t finish but really the only difference in the second and third is that we started finishing on our chances.”
In both games, the Rams were able to create many shots due to crisp passing while preventing West Chester from getting quality scoring chances. Â Friday, the Rams outshot West Chester 49-15 and on Saturday, outshot them 46-13.
“Puck possession was key for us,” Boudiette said. “Keeping them out of the middle, keeping them to the outside, staying on them, and not giving them a lot of time and space.”
The Rams will next go on the road to face Rutgers University in a pair of games Friday and Saturday. Â Rutgers is currently 3-8 and tied for last place in the ESCHL.