The University of Rhode Island women’s ice hockey team split their weekend playoff series winning 7-0 against the Pennsylvania State Ice Lions, and losing 4-3 against the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Â
“We played them two weeks prior, so we knew what we were up against,” said Rhode Island head coach Ashley Pagliarini. “The team was playing really well, scoring a lot of goals and as a team, putting pucks in the net.”
Senior Sydney Collins had a solid performance, tallying two goals and two assists for the Rams against Penn State on Saturday. Collins scored her first goal 11:47 into the first period to give the Rams a lead they would never relinquish. Her second goal increased the lead to 4-0, and the rout was officially on.
The Rams totaled 50 shots on goal against Penn State. Â The Rams have averaged 4.1 goals per game offensively and allowed only 2.3 goals per game defensively this season, holding Penn State below their 2.8 goal per game average.
Senior forward Kristen Levesque led the team in points by adding one goal and four assists, while sophomore Monica Darby had two goals and two assists. Caitlin McGuirl and Brenna Callahan each added a goal, and Janessa Courtney recorded two assists.
Sunday, the Rams had a tougher time against the Minutemen as early struggles came back to haunt them.
“We played well enough, we just need to find the back of the net and put goals in,” Pagliarini said. “At the end of the first period, we were down 3-1, fell into a whole, we came back, but we ran out of time and fell short in the final.”
Courtney added a goal and assist against the Minutemen on a power play opportunity, after a hooking penalty 12:56 into the first period that cut the deficit in half, 2-1. McGuirl added a goal, while senior forward Alisha DiFilippo and Collins each added an assist for URI. Trailing 4-2 entering the third period, the Rams began a late surge on a goal by McCormick, but were unable to overcome the deficit.
Freshman goalie Abigail Torres made 29 saves on 33 shots on goal against UMass.
“Abby played great in both games, and as a freshman, it was great to see her step up,” Pagliarini said. “Obviously, that was two big games, and she stepped up and played really well and gave us a chance.”
Pagliarini lauded the four URI players named 2015-2016 ECWHL All-league selections, including Callahan-1st Team Defense, Collins-1st Team Forward, DiFilippo-2nd Team Forward and Levesque as an Honorable Mention.
“There’s a great group of seniors we have this year teaching the younger kids what the program is about and how to be,” Pagliarini said. “I can’t really say enough about the senior class.”
The Rams will prepare to face the Minutemen in the National Tournament in Michigan for the rubber match.
“We play them four times throughout the season, so we get to know our opponents pretty well,” Pagliarini concluded. “Our record with UMass has been 2-2-1 so we’ve been so even on any given day, anybody can win. We’re excited to go to Nationals and see what we can do, and hopefully we can get some revenge there.”
URI will also be in a group that features perennial contender Miami University of Ohio.