Lady Ice Lions Buried Early by DiFilippo and Rhode Island, Fall 7-4

Darby Kern's latest beasting was not enough for Penn State

For all of Penn State's late-game struggles in the spring semester, this weekend has been a pretty sharp departure, with the Lady Ice Lions winning two third periods by a combined 5-3 count. That number includes a 3-3 barnburner of a 20 minutes against Rhode Island on Saturday evening in Kingston, RI.

The problem, for once, was the first part of the game, as the Rams jumped all over the Lady Ice Lions in the opening period to put PSU in a 3-0 hole en route to a 7-4 defeat.

Alisha DiFilippo, who scored three times at Pegula Ice Arena back on November 13th, did so again against Penn State on Saturday, as the dynamic number 7 dominated the ice for long stretches throughout. Her first came nine minutes into the game on a shot through traffic from up high, and the senior buried again in the final minute of play, with Lexie Stefekos gaining an assist.

Twenty-eight seconds before that second goal, Kiki Levesque cashed in the only power play goal of the game by either side, (with both teams getting two tries at it) as she ripped one home from high in the left circle, set up by Brenna Callahan.

The Lady Ice Lions, despite the handicap, managed to hold URI to a stalemate the rest of the way - and even put a moment of fear into the hosts, thanks largely to Darby Kern.

Kern put up her own hat trick, beginning with an early-second-period setup from Riley O'Connor stationed behind the goal line. The winger then fired from the slot and pinged the bar behind goalie Abbey Torres to ricochet the puck in. Although DiFilippo answered that tally with her third just over a minute later (for a 4-1 score that held through two periods), Penn State's top gun still had more to offer.

After Sydney Collins, the ACHA's second-leading scorer, pushed the Rhode Island lead to 5-1, Kern scored twice in less than a minute to make it a two-goal affair. Both goals were similar-looking plays, a low turnover generated by Kern's reach, then an unassisted bury to place her on 97 career points.

The wild final frame - the first Collins marker and the last two from Kern all happened in the first five minutes - continuted from there, but not in a way conducive to Penn State completing a comeback. Collins took another turn next, stealing the puck in her own end, wheeling down the right side, and firing through Allyssa Long. MaryKate Stimpson sniped the score to 7-3 by creeping into the top of the right circle and blasting home a Monica Darby feed.

With 2:01 remaining, Claire Gauthier closed the scoring to continue her spring resurgence. She found herself in a 2-on-1 with O'Connor, and while Torres saved O'Connor's initial shot, the native of nearby Sandwich, MA was able to pot the rebound. Gauthier now has ten points in ten games this semester (she also assisted on Kern's first goal) after just two in ten during the fall.

Long wound up with 29 saves on 36 Rams shots, while Torres stopped 20 of 24 PSU tries. The two teams will close the series on Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. before the Lady Ice Lions return home to face Liberty next weekend.

Box Score

First Period
1. Rhode Island, Alisha DiFilippo (MaryKate Stimpson), 12:54; 2. Rhode Island, Kiki Levesque (Brenna Callahan), 1:09 (power play); 3. Rhode Island, Alisha DiFilippo (Lexie Stefekos, Casey McCormick), 0:42.
1. Rhode Island, Kiki Levesque (2:00 body checking), 4:02; 2. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 interference), 1:44.
Second Period
4. Penn State, Darby Kern (Riley O'Connor, Claire Gauthier), 18:36; 5. Rhode Island, Alisha DiFilippo (Casey McCormick, Lexie Stefekos), 17:12.
Third Period
6. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (Kiki Levesque, Brenna Callahan), 18:38; 7. Penn State, Darby Kern (unassisted), 16:08; 8. Penn State, Darby Kern (unassisted), 15:12; 9. Rhode Island, Sydney Collins (unassisted), 10:56; 10. Rhode Island, MaryKate Stimpson (Monica Darby), 5:38; 11. Penn State, Claire Gauthier (Riley O'Connor, Lucy Yeatman), 2:01. 
3. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 interference), 10:20; 4. Rhode Island, Brenna Callahan (2:00 tripping), 9:19.
Penn State: Allyssa Long: L, 29 saves/36 shots. Rhode Island: Abbey Torres: W, 20 saves/24 shots.

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