Missed Chances Doom Lady Ice Lions in 3-1 Loss to URI Saturday Night

Riley O'Connor scored for the Lady Ice Lions

The Lady Ice Lions were unable to topple the fourth-ranked team in the country on Saturday night, falling 3-1 to Rhode Island at Bradford R. Boss Ice Arena in Kingston, RI.

With the defeat, Penn State stands at 5-3-0 overall and 3-3-0 in the ECWHL, while URI is also 5-3-0 overall, but 4-1-0 in the ECWHL.

The Rams got on the board first with 8:57 remaining in the opening period when 2013 Zoe M. Harris Award winner Cassie Catlow won an offensive draw back to Sydney Collins, who blasted one past Mary Kate Tonetti's glove.

Rhody's next goal, with one-third of the second period gone, was a textbook example of the cruelty hockey occasionally exhibits. Katie Murphy's aggressive forecheck created a turnover behind the URI net and, through the ensuing possession battle, the puck popped over the cage and right on to the doorstep. Both Claire Gauthier and Jackie Saideh took tantalizing, but ultimately fruitless, hacks at it, when success would have meant a tie game.

Things went off the rails from there though, as the play was turned the other way quickly, allowing Janessa Courtney a partial breakaway. Tonetti made the initial save, but the Rams retained possession, and Kristen Levesque scored what would turn out to be the winner from near the bottom of the right wing circle. URI appeared to go up 3-0 a couple minutes later on a Courtney tap-in off a scramble, but she was whistled for goalie interference instead to negate the score.

It didn't really matter. After URI killed the penalty, Catlow buried with just six seconds left in the middle 20 to put three goals between the teams headed into intermission regardless.

Penn State had chances to get back in it, notably including an apparent Devon Fisk goal that suffered a death by quick whistle in the second period. The Lady Ice Lions were unable to capitalize on four power play opportunities, although they did kill off all five URI advantages.

Tonetti made 50 often-spectacular saves, including a diving glove stop on Levesque in the third period that drew stick taps from the PSU bench.

Riley O'Connor finally got the blue and white on the board with 3:12 left in the game, by burying from the slot off of Gauthier's feed from behind the net after the latter won possession in the corner. It was the second career tally for the freshman from Boothwyn, PA and the fourth point for Gauthier, whose hometown of Sandwich, MA is just 77 miles from URI's campus.

PSU will attempt to salvage a split with the Rams on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m.

Box Score

First Period
1. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (Cassie Catlow), 8:57.
1. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (2:00 interference), 16:28; 2. Penn State, Sam Siciliano (2:00 tripping), 5:30.
Second Period
2. Rhode Island, Kristen Levesque (Alisha DiFilippo, Janessa Courtney), 13:47; 3. Rhode Island, Cassie Catlow (Bethany Saunders), 0:06.
3. Penn State, Ashton Schaffer (2:00 tripping), 9:49; 4. Rhode Island, Brenna Callahan (2:00 body checking), 6:50; 5. Rhode Island, Janessa Courtney (2:00 goaltender interference), 2:27.
Third Period
4. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Claire Gauthier), 3:12.
6. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 interference), 13:26; 7. Penn State, Katie Murphy (2:00 interference), 7:29; 8. Rhode Island, Brenna Callahan (2:00 interference), 7:29; 9. Penn State, Lucy Yeatman (2:00 tripping), 2:18.
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: L, 50 saves/53 shots. Rhode Island: Kayla DiLorenzo: W, 25 saves/26 shots.

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