Yet Again: Rhode Island Bounces Penn State From ECWHL Semifinals

Kelly Watson scored Penn State's only goal

Tai Marino scored twice, both on tappers in front of the net and both assisted by Monica Darby, while Janessa Courtney, Shaylyn Maybury and Maddie Balutowski added single goals to power Rhode Island past Penn State 5-1 in their ECWHL semifinal contest on Saturday afternoon in Amherst, MA.

For the Lady Ice Lions, the defeat was the latest chapter in a recurring nightmare: the Rams have now dispatched PSU from the ECWHL semifinals in each of the squad's three seasons since returning to the conference and ACHA Division 1. Additionally, URI has won 11 straight games in the series overall, or every meeting since a 3-2 Penn State win on November 9, 2014.

Marino's first tally set the tone early, just 3:55 from the opening puck drop, and slightly contrary to what had been an even, highly-physical start to things. Nine minutes later, an uncovered Courtney made the score 2-0 from the top of the circle with Trisha Cierniak in the box on a hooking call, a margin that held into the first intermission.

The physical nature of the rivalry match didn't wane from the first couple minutes, as it produced fifteen total penalties (seven for cross checking, elbowing or body checking), and even a couple of near-fights. Despite the heavy parade to the box, however, each team only managed one power play goal.

Following Marino's second, which pushed the Rams' edge to three through 40 minutes, Maybury's floater from just inside the line made it 4-0 with 15:02 remaining in the third period. Kelly Watson managed to answer that one quickly though, thanks to some help from a Brynne Costa hooking call just 20 seconds after the Maybury goal.

On the play, which occurred nine seconds into the Costa penalty, Meghan Miller won an offensive draw back to Liz Tuorinsky. Tuorinsky whipped a D-to-D pass across to Watson, who fired home her fourth of the year.

The highlight would be short-lived though, as Penn State couldn't venture any further into a comeback attempt, while Balutowski capped the game's scoring with 2:11 remaining.

Meg Lydick checked in with her typically-stout effort in goal, stopping 47 shots. URI's Abbey Torres turned aside 14 of the 15 Lady Ice Lion shots she faced.

Penn State, now 6-19-1 overall, will close the 2016-17 season on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. in the ECWHL consolation game, against either Northeastern or Massachusetts.

Box Score

First Period
1. Rhode Island, Tai Marino (Monica Darby), 16:05; 2. Rhode Island, Janessa Courtney (Sam Evans), 7:00 (power play).
1. Penn State, Trisha Cierniak (2:00 hooking), 7:44; 2. Penn State, Anna Marcus (2:00 hooking), 5:42; 3. Penn State, Cassie Dunne (2:00 tripping), 4:44; 4. Rhode Island, Tea Williams (2:00 tripping), 1:14.
Second Period
3. Rhode Island, Tai Marino (Monica Darby), 10:56.
5. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (2:00 cross checking), 19:32; 6. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 elbowing), 18:20; 7. Rhode Island, Lexie Stefekos (2:00 body checking), 15:09; 8. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 body checking), 5:19; 9. Rhode Island, Caitlin McGuirl (2:00 slashing), 4:14; 10. Rhode Island, Michelle Monet (2:00 tripping), 0:55; 11. Penn State, Liz Tuorinsky (2:00 roughing), 0:55.
Third Period
4. Rhode Island, Shaylyn Maybury (unassisted), 15:02; 5. Penn State, Kelly Watson (Liz Tuorinsky, Meghan Miller), 14:33 (power play); 6. Rhode Island, Maddie Balutowski (Tea Williams), 2:11.
12. Penn State, Darian Dempsey (2:00 elbowing), 19:16; 13. Rhode Island, Brynne Costa (2:00 hooking), 14:42; 14. Rhode Island, Maddie Balutowski (2:00 roughing), 6:28; 15. Rhode Island, Brynne Costa (2:00 tripping), 1:02.
Penn State: Meg Lydick: L, 47 saves/52 shots; Rhode Island: Abbey Torres: W, 14 saves/15 shots.

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