The University of Rhode Island women’s hockey team opened the 2017-18 season this past Saturday with a 3-1 win over the University of New Hampshire.

The Rams put the pressure on UNH from the start. After only 1:09 into the first period, sophomore Maddie Balutowski scored to give URI the lead. Balutowski scored again later in the first, assisted by Jillian Gonsalves and Monica Darby, with only 2:09 to spare. URI outshot the Wildcats 15-5 heading into the second period.

Balutowski was the Rams top offensive player last season as she scored a team high 28 goals in her freshman campaign.

“Our plan going into the game was to get a good start, get one on the board, and set the tone of the game,” Rams head coach Ashley Pagliarini said. “For Maddie to score 1:09 into the game as coaches we were very pleased, but even more so as a team we continued to keep that same pressure on UNH after not letting up. We also had very solid goaltending from junior Abbey Torres. She made game saving saves and gave us a chance to win the game.”

Balutowski went on to score the lone goal of the second period on a hat-trick that would give URI a 3-0 lead. New Hampshire’s Samantha Ginsburg scored the team’s only goal early in the third period. Goaltender Abbey Torres recorded 27 saves throughout the game.

“Our goal is to keep pushing one another to be better everyday and play with consistency,” Pagliarini said. “We want to be an improved team each game and by the end of the season. We have a great senior and junior core that bring a lot of experience that our younger players can learn from this season.”

URI will be back in action this weekend playing at Boston University on Saturday and at Johnson and Wales on Sunday.