Rhode Island Rams Lady Ice Lions Out of ECWHL Playoffs by 4-1 Count

Riley O'Connor scored Penn State's lone goal

Kristy Kennedy scored two late goals, while teammate Kristen Levesque added a goal an assist to boost seventh-ranked Rhode Island over the Lady Ice Lions 4-1 on Saturday afternoon.

The defeat bounces eighth-ranked Penn State, now 16-7-0 from the ECWHL playoffs in the semifinal round, erasing hopes for a first-ever playoff title from the league for a Penn State team and the ACHA National Tournament autobid that would have gone with it.

Things started well enough for PSU, which carried a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a Riley O'Connor goal with 11:22 left. On the play, Kim Badorrek found the streaking redhead up the middle for a one-on-one opportunity. URI goalie Sarah Ross made the initial save, but the combination of a charging O'Connor and a pinballing biscuit was eventually just enough to clear the goalline. A combo pass between Madison Smiddy, Cara Mendelson and Darby Kern shortly after got Kern in behind everyone - enough to draw an ultimately unsuccessful power play, but a situation that PSU would have preferred to play out without the penalty.

After a couple other missed opportunities, Kristen Levesque tied the game early in the second period with a slot redirection of a Cassie Catlow feed out of the left corner.

From there, the game was largely as advertised between the two powers. Each had a power play opportunity, each had surges where their respective style won out. But it would be the Rams who turned that into goals.

Kennedy, one of the ACHA's top scorers, grabbed what would turn out to be the winning goal midway through the third period. After Levesque won an offensive faceoff leading to a Jackie Keable shot, Kennedy was able to hook the rebound around Mary Kate Tonetti's pad. Her second came with 108 seconds remaining in the contest, another rebound effort, this time on her own 2-on-1 shot.

Tonetti finished with 36 saves, including absolute gems on Levesque and Monica Darby that maintained the Lady Ice Lions' chance to win late.

Janessa Coutney concluded the game's scoring into an empty net.

An ECWHL third-place game against either Vermont or Massachusetts is set for 10:00 a.m. on Sunday, where the Lady Ice Lions will hope to present a convincing final statement. After that comes an uncomfortable wait for, hopefully, a mid-week phone call and an invititation to the ACHA National Tournament March 4th through 8th in York, PA.

Box Score

First Period
1. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (unassisted), 11:22.
1. Rhode Island, Jillian Holden (2:00 tripping), 6:42.
Second Period
2. Rhode Island, Kristen Levesque (Cassie Catlow), 17:06.
2. Penn State, Darby Kern (2:00 roughing), 12:59; 3. Rhode Island, Marykate Stimpson (2:00 hooking), 6:09.
Third Period
3. Rhode Island, Kristy Kennedy (Jackie Keable, Kristen Levesque), 11:24; 4. Rhode Island, Kristy Kennedy (Brenna Callahan), 1:48; 5. Rhode Island, Janessa Courtney (Sydney Collins, Alisha DiFilippo), 0:45 (empty net).
Penn State: Mary Kate Tonetti: L, 36 saves/39 shots. Rhode Island: Sarah Ross: W, 25 saves/26 shots.

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