Despite roughly 50 shots on goal, Minutewomen came up short 2-1
The Massachusetts women’s hockey team entered its senior day game with a large crowd, fill the building which drew a high momentum in the game which the Minutewomen (15-4, American Collegiate Hockey Association) seemed to feed off of as the game continued.
It was the University of Rhode Island’s goaltender, Madeline Ashenfelter, that really posed a challenge for UMass. Leaving the first period, it was 13-5 shots on goal in favor of the Minutewomen, but they were yet to get one past even though they dominated their offensive zone. It was not until the second period that forward Coco Klisivitch shot the puck in over Ashenfelter to make the game 1-0. UMass almost followed it up with another from a shot by Marissa Gregory that just rang off the crossbar.
Despite having four power plays throughout the game, the Minutewomen were unable to convert on any of those chances. It proved costly for them as the game continued and they remained up by one with the Rams (6-11, American Collegiate Hockey Association.)
The second period was undisputedly UMass’s to take. It only allowed one shot on goal the entire period and that came down to the final seconds at that. What worked well for UMass in the second was its strong defense and pressure in the offensive zone. Even during their power kills, the Minutewomen held strong and did not give the Rams any room. Defenseman Kat Nikolopoulos was a part of that effort as she protected the line and maintained puck possession for UMass. During a power kill in the second, Nikolopoulos and forward Holly Russell raced down the ice with the puck to try and get it on net. Although they were unsuccessful at scoring, it wasted time on the clock that URI could try to use in their favor. This however could not be said for them at the end of the third.
It was a tough penalty for Kat Paradis to take with 1:57 left in the game and being up by one. It proved costly for UMass as URI pulled Ashenfelter from between the pipes and played a 6-on-4 game. 30 seconds passed when URI slipped one past UMass goaltender and crowd favorite Casey Marshall. Now in a tied game and 1:27 to go, the clock ticked down to overtime.
It became a 3-on-3 overtime where it truly was anyone’s game. Unlike regulation play, it really became a back and forth for the puck. At one point, URI forward Audrey Rowen had a lane to the net that she tried to take, Nikolopoulos was there once again to battle for the puck, but Rowen was persistent. Taking the shot, Marshall made the big save and kept the Minutewomen going. However, with just a couple minutes remaining, URI’s Carissa Rego got the game winner, slipping it past Marshall.
The hard loss for UMass comes right after its 7-2 win against URI less than 24 hours before on Friday night. The two teams face off against one another again on Feb. 25th in Rhode Island. It will be an interesting game to watch to see if the Minutewomen can turn things back around and dominate on the scoresheets once more. They had the making of it in today’s game, but once again, it was Ashenfelter who was the star for the Rams, having 47 saves in net and prevented UMass from many opportunities.
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