URI Scores Early, Often as Penn State Drops Weekend Capper

URI senior captain Casey McCormick scored twice and added three assists on Saturday

Casey McCormick led a parade of five Rhode Island Rams offering multi-point efforts on Saturday morning in Altoona, PA with two goals and three assists, as URI completed a weekend sweep of the Penn State Lady Ice Lions by an 8-1 count.

Rhody tallied in the first minute of each period, beginning with McCormick finding Madison Balutowski just 20 seconds after the opening faceoff to set an early tone. Forty seconds into the middle period, with the score standing at 3-1 Rhode Island, the two Rams switched roles, with Balutowski dangling to the front of the net, and McCormick hammering the resulting loose puck through, a goal that deflated a home side that had come out of the locker room charged up for a rally.

Caitlin McGuirl grabbed the third quick goal, on a power play 58 seconds into the final frame, with McCormick also earning an assist on that play, one that pushed all doubt from the contest in making the score 7-1.

Early on, Penn State did receive one bit of respite, off of the stick of Riley O'Connor. With the Lady Ice Lions forechecking following an offensive faceoff, Katelyn Trask created a turnover in the left-wing corner. Trask then moved behind URI goalie Abbey Torres before slipping the puck to O'Connor in front for the bury, which came 1:55 into the game and served as an expeditious response to Balutowski's opening strike.

For O'Connor, the marker represented her 28th career goal and her 53rd career point. The first number is now good for a tie with Becky Holmes '05 for 11th in program history, while the second is one better than Holmes in 14th place.

Although PSU had a bit of momentum and a tied hockey game at that point, McCormick had an unfortunate answer to that situation. Just 3:32 after the O'Connor goal, the senior Rhody captain created a 2-on-1 with her speed down right wing, then centered for Sam Evans to finish. Lexie Stefekos pushed things out to 3-1 with a transitional goal on a stretch feed from Brynne Costa that saw Stefekos battle through the last Lady Ice Lions defenseman before sniping from the slot.

After the early-second-period McCormick goal, Stefekos took another turn, then was followed by Monica Darby's third goal of the weekend, the McGuirl power play score, and a solo McCormick effort to round out the scoreline.

Torres finished with 16 saves for the Rams, often with a high degree of difficulty, as Sarah McGillicuddy and Crosby Deliman offered arguably the best chances for PSU to follow up the O'Connor goal. One Deliman shot in the third period made it through Torres, forcing the junior netminder to reach behind her, but the puck was ruled not to have crossed the goalline.

With the defeat, Penn State is now 1-10-0 overall, 0-9-0 in ACHA games, and 0-2-0 in the ECWHL. Fifteenth-ranked URI is 5-3-0, 4-3-0, and 2-0-0, respectively.

Up next, the Lady Ice Lions will head back to Amherst, MA for the second time in three weeks to face off with the defending ECWHL champion UMass Minutemen. Puck drops from the Mullins Center are set for 7:50 p.m. on November 17th and 9:20 a.m. on November 18th.

Box Score

First Period
1. Rhode Island, Madison Balutowski (Casey McCormick), 19:40; 2. Penn State, Riley O'Connor (Katelyn Trask), 18:05; 3. Rhode Island, Sam Evans (Casey McCormick), 14:33; 4. Rhode Island, Lexie Stefekos (Brynne Costa), 6:09.
Second Period
5. Rhode Island, Casey McCormick (Madison Balutowski, Sam Evans), 19:20; 6. Rhode Island, Lexie Stefekos (Monica Darby), 15:11; 7. Rhode Island, Monica Darby (unassisted), 6:35.
1. Rhode Island, Michelle Monet (2:00 tripping), 12:26.
Third Period
8. Rhode Island, Cait McGuirl (Madison Balutowski, Casey McCormick), 19:02 (power play); 9. Rhode Island, Casey McCormick (unassisted), 12:32.
2. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (2:00 roughing), 19:54; 3. Penn State, Katelyn Trask (2:00 tripping), 8:34; 4. Rhode Island, Brynne Costa (2:00 high sticking), 5. Rhode Island, Abbey Torres (2:00 roughing, served by Anita Mayfield-Sheehan), 3:45; 6. Penn State, Meghan Miller (2:00 slashing), 3:41; 7. Rhode Island, Michelle Monet (2:00 interference), 3:41.
Penn State: Emma Shannon: L, 35 saves/43 shots. Rhode Island: Abbey Torres: W, 16 saves/17 shots.

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