National Scoring Leader Collins, Rhode Island Too Much for PSU Again

Claire Gauthier was heavily involved in Penn State's offense on Saturday

Ultimately, a big part of the story of the Lady Ice Lions' two home defeats to Rhode Island on Friday and Saturday was the performance of the Rams' stars.

In the series opener, center Alisha DiFilippo's hat trick powered URI's 5-2 win. On Saturday night, it was Sydney Collins' turn, as ACHA Division 1's leading scorer (16 goals, 30 points entering the contest) posted her own trifecta to help her squad to a 3-0 sweep clincher.

Collins burned PSU once in each period, with all three coming on similar effort plays.

The first came with 1:14 remaining in the opening period, immediately after Aimee Little made arguably her best stop of the game, using her glove to deny Janessa Courtney before Collins bulled her way to the net for the follow-up. Another late-period marker was in order for the second period, with just 53 seconds left and on another second-chancer - this time chasing herself. Courtney picked up a second helper on the play.

Midway though the third period, Collins closed the scoring on a try that appeared to deflect in off of the Lady Ice Lions' defense and in.

From Penn State's perspective, the truly frustrating part was that Saturday's execution and effort far exceeded what was present on Friday. Abbey Torres was forced to be sharp all evening long but was up to the task, turning aside all 35 shots she faced for her second shutout of 2015-16.

PSU came out strong and generated eight of the game's first nine shots, helped by a pair of power plays in the first 15 minutes. Devon Fisk had the most notable chance of that early stretch, stepping around the defense and firing a solid shot on before pursuing the rebound, but Torres made both saves.

Another close call came early in the second period when Cassie Dunne launched out of the penalty box following a hooking minor and broke in alone on Torres. However, Brenna Callahan tripped up the defenseman to foil the immediate chance, and the Lady Ice Lions could not convert what would turn out to be the final power play for either side. Claire Gauthier was also involved in a pair of narrow misfires, first joining Fisk for a pair of hacks on a puck that caromed off of the end boards late in the second period, then another with 3:47 remaining in regulation that saw the Sandwich, MA native chip around the Ram defense to the front of the net, but a bouncing puck and a scramble in front was ruled no goal.

Little turned in her typically-sound effort and finished with 38 saves, but saw her record drop to 0-4-0. Another record that looks a little worse than it did before: Penn State's all-time mark at Pegula Ice Arena, which sat at 18-2-0 coming into the weekend but is now 18-4-0 following the first-ever series sweep by a visiting team.

The team will now enjoy a week of optional practice and another week including Thanksgiving break before returning to game action at home on December 4th and 5th against third-ranked Adrian - a team that, of course, took two meetings with PSU in Michigan last month. Before then, the second ACHA in-season ranking is scheduled for release during the week after November 22nd with the now 2-6-1 club hoping to advance from its current 15th-place spot.

Box Score

First Period
1. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (Janessa Courtney, Brenna Callahan), 1:14.
1. Rhode Island, Monica Darby (2:00 high sticking), 14:32; 2. Penn State, Caitlin Costello (2:00 tripping), 9:26; 3. Rhode Island, Bench (2:00 too many players on the ice, served by Sam Evans), 6:56; 4. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 hooking), 0:10.
Second Period
2. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (Janessa Courtney), 0:53.
5. Rhode Island, Brenna Callahan (2:00 tripping), 17:57.
Third Period
3. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (unassisted), 12:03.
Penn State: Aimee Little: L, 38 saves/41 shots. Rhode Island: Abbey Torres: W, 35 saves, 35 shots.

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