After winning 3-1 on Saturday evening, the no. 4 University of Rhode Island women’s ice hockey team lost 3-2 Sunday morning against no. 12 Pennsylvania State University at the Bradford R. Boss Ice Arena.
The Rams (5-2) controlled the tempo of Friday’s game from the puck drop and got on the scoreboard eight minutes in when senior captain Sydney Collins scored her third goal of the young season, giving Rhode Island a 1-0 edge after the first.
Just six seconds into the second period, senior captain Cassie Catlow extended the Rams lead to 2-0. The score was followed by another off the stick of Kristen Levesque, who finished the scoring for the Rams to give them a 3-0 lead.
Rhode Island senior goaltender Kayla DiLorenzo got the win, but could not hang on for the shutout as the Nittany Lions’ Riley O’Connor tallied a third-period goal. Penn State goaltender Mary Kate Tonetti faced 53 shots from the Rams, saving 50 in the fast-paced contest.
“The Penn State goaltender played well, making some nice saves on our quality scoring chances and was definitely a big part of their success on Sunday” Rhode Island head coach Ashley Pagliarini said. “Hopefully we can learn from this game and play three strong periods to avoid early deficits. My team responded well but we have some work to do moving forward to avoid games like this.”
In the second game, Penn State swayed momentum its way early on. The Nittany Lions opened up the scoring 12 minutes in when defenseman Cara Mendelson got behind the Rhode Island defense and scored on a clean breakaway to give Penn State a 1-0 lead.
The Rams had a chance to tie the score late in the first when senior forward Alisha DiFilippo rang the left post on a short-handed attempt. The following trip down the ice, Nittany Lions forward Anna Marcus added to the lead by beating DiLorenzo on a second-chance rebound in front of the net.
Penn State kept control to start the second period with a quick goal by O’Connor just 1:23 into the period. The third goal would be the last time the Nittany Lions would beat DiLorenzo.
“We wanted to keep the score where it was at 3-0 and get some goals right away,” Pagliarini said. “We made a lot of fundamental mistakes in the first period and that’s where Penn State capitalized.”
Rhode Island got on the board halfway through the period when a pass from Janessa Courtney connected with Levesque who was waiting at the back post to bury it and cut the Penn State lead to 3-1.
The momentum quickly shifted to Rhode Island, as six minutes later Courtney controlled a rebound at the top of the right circle and beat Tonetti to cut the deficit to 3-2. Tonetti held strong for the rest of the game, stopping multiple scoring chances for the Rams including a late one-man advantage with five minutes remaining in the game.
The Rams will travel to Virginia to play no. 2 Liberty University on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon. The split this weekend tied Penn State and the Rams in the Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League standings with eight points apiece, trialing the University of Massachusetts by four points.