The University of Rhode Island women’s hockey team tied with the University of Vermont on Saturday and defeated the Catamounts on Sunday with scores of 3-3 and 2-1, both in overtime.
The Rams picked up another victory, 6-2, on Friday night when they hosted and beat Colorado State University.
Senior Kristina Kennedy put Rhode Island on the board early against Colorado State at 5:52, tapping in a rebound from junior Bethany Saunders in a scramble at the net. Â Saunders increased the lead 41 seconds later with an assist from junior Brenna Callahan.
At 10:28, Colorado State’s Chandler Art was called for hooking and senior Alisha DiFilippo took advantage of the power play to score with a wrist shot from the left circle at 11:16 with sophomore Janessa Courtney and senior Sydney Collins assisting. Â At 13:09 Kennedy found the five-hole to further pad Rhode Island’s lead. Â She was assisted by junior MaryKate Stimpson. Â Colorado State’s Alicia Ziff notched the team’s first goal at 14:01.
Colorado State’s Nellie Brown was called for body checking at 7:40 in the final period and DiFilippo netted a second power play goal at 8:05, scoring on a rebound from freshman Alexandra Stefekos. Â DiFilippo struck again at 15:10 to record the hat trick with Courtney and Collins providing assists. Â Colorado State’s Brown scored in the left side of the net for the game’s final goal.
“[My teammates] work hard to get the puck,” DiFilippo said. “We work as a team and when we get down to the end, we have to take shots on net and just hit rebounds and I was just lucky enough to be there for the right bounce.”
In the first period of Saturday’s game, it was more of the same as freshman Monica Darby put the puck through the legs of Catamounts’ goaltender Audrey Currier for the Rams’ first goal at 16:47 with the help of Stefekos and Holden.
With 1.4 seconds remaining in the second period, DiFilippo hit the upper net unassisted to extend the lead.
Fifty-seven seconds into the third period Vermont’s Greer Vogl squeezed the puck past goaltender Sarah Ross into the right side of the net, and at 3:58, the Catamounts evened the game with a goal from Sarah White. Â Saunders regained the lead for the Rams at 11:43 scoring between the goaltender’s pads with Callahan helping. Â Vermont’s Katherine Kreis tied the game with 48 seconds left, though, to force overtime.
Neither team could draw blood in the extra period, allowing the game to end in a tie.
It looked like the same result would occur on Sunday, too.
With time running out in the overtime period, Collins and DiFilippo rushed down the ice on a final breakaway. Collins passed to DiFilippo, who returned it to her teammate just in front of the goal. Â With Gluck still focused on DiFilippo, Collins put the puck past her for the game winner with 3.7 seconds remaining.
“I gave the puck to Flip and just skated as hard to the net as I could and just hoped,” Collins said. “Then it just bounced off my stick and went in.”
In Sunday’s contest, Kennedy drew first blood for the Rams with a wraparound goal into the left side of the net at 1:40. Â Each team had a power play opportunity in the period that they were unable to score on.
The Catamounts evened the game at 1:18 in the final period with Dayna Colang finding the left side of the net for the equalizer. Gluck made 66 saves along the way for Vermont.
“We just wanted to play three good periods of hockey and just win battles, get pucks in the net,” Rhode Island head coach Ashley Pagliarini said. “We took sixty-eight shots, so their goalie’s playing extremely well. We just wanted to get shots and play smarter hockey than yesterday. Â We played two good periods then we kind of had a lapse in the third period yesterday, but our focus (today) was really to get three good periods and play as hard as we can.”
The Rams were without two of their leading goal scorers this weekend. Senior Cassie Catlow and junior Kristen Levesque are currently in Spain with Team USA competing in the Winter World University Games but are expected to return Saturday.
“Our lines had to get juggled a little bit,” Pagliarini said. “Everyone’s stepping up trying to fill their shoes. Â We’ve been playing really well so we look to continue that even when we get them back.”
The Rams are currently 18-6-1. Â They will next travel to NCAA Division I Sacred Heart for a pair of games Friday and Saturday. Â The Pioneers are 7-14-2.
As they prepare for the playoffs, Collins said the team is trying to “just work as hard as we can in practice, give a hundred percent the whole time, push each other a lot harder on the ice, come together, and really work towards the ultimate goal of being playoff champions for the second year in a row and keep the [Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League] cup in Rhody.”