Imperfect Day Ends Perfect Record as UMass Shuts Out Lady Ice Lions

Freshman Riley O'Connor stood out for the Lady Ice Lions Friday night

It was just one of those days.

Fresh off of struggle through New England's notorious traffic forcing an extremely tight window for a pregame meal and leading to a rink arrival nearly an hour later than planned, the Lady Ice Lions were unable to keep up with second-ranked Massachusetts, dropping a 3-0 decision Friday night in Amherst, MA.

The loss knocked Penn State down to 4-1-0 overall and 2-1-0 in the ECWHL. UMass, meanwhile, usurped PSU's first-place standings position with a 2-0-0 league mark as part of a 4-2-0 overall.

Paige Harrington - a standout senior defenseman who spent her freshman year as a Penn State teammate of five Lady Ice Lions - got the scoring started just 3:21 from the game's opening faceoff. On the play, UMass' Brittani Lanzilli got a stick on an errant clearing attempt, allowing Harrington to retrieve at center. From there, the 2013 World University Games bronze medalist did it all herself, weaving though the PSU coverage and popping a backhander past Mary Kate Tonetti.

That tally would stand as the only scoring in the contest well into the third period - although it wasn't for lack of opportunity, as the Lady Ice Lions drew three power plays by the end of the middle frame. The fourth, however, would help put the game out of reach thanks to another spectacular effort from another Minutewomen senior defenseman.

This time it was Caleigh LaBossiere, who burned the Penn State power play with speed straight down the middle for a shorthanded goal to make the count 2-0 with 15:53 left in the game. Ally Perdios would add another marker with 2:09 left to unofficially lock in the result.

PSU's power play finished 0-for-5, while Tonetti made 46 saves in defense of the Lady Ice Lions' cage. On the other end, Penn State fired 35 pucks on UMass' Kasey Zegel, but the UMass senior managed her first shutout of the season. Claire Gauthier, through a couple deflections, Katie Murphy and Riley O'Connor generated several unfulfilled chances for the away side when the game was in the balance.

The two teams will face off again on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. in the Mullins Center's main arena, as the Lady Ice Lions look to rebound and take a hard-fought split home to Hockey Valley.

Box Score

First Period
1. Massachusetts, Paige Harrington (Brittani Lanzilli), 16:39.
1. Massachusetts, Bench (2:00 too many players, served by Erika Von Den Benken), 6:09.
Second Period
2. Massachusetts, Mallory O'Brien (2:00 tripping), 17:55; 3. Penn State, Madison Smiddy (2:00 hooking), 17:33; 4. Massachusetts, Amanda Abromson (2:00 roughing), 13:07.
Third Period
2. Massachusetts, Caleigh LaBossiere (unassisted), 15:53 (shorthanded); 3. Massachusetts, Ally Perdios (Amanda Abromson, Meghan Crosby), 2:09.
5. Massachusetts, Jess Greenwood (2:00 body checking), 16:44; 6. Massachusetts, Michaela Tosone (2:00 hooking), 1:10.
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: L, 46 saves/49 shots. Massachusetts: Kasey Zegel: W, 35 saves/35 shots.

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