Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass women’s hockey defeat Rhode Island 2-1 to close out the regular season

Minutewomen have strong showing as tournament play approaches
Johnny Depin/Daily Collegian

The University of Massachusetts women’s hockey team won its lone game of the weekend against Rhode Island on Saturday evening to cap off a season in which it won four of its five matches against the No. 18 Rams (7-12).

The No. 7 Minutewomen (16-4) established dominance early, registering 18 shots on goal in the first period. None of these shots on net resulted in goals however, keeping the score knotted at zero at the end of the first.

“We’re dominating, we’re just not getting the bounces right now,” UMass coach Bill Wright said. “As long as we keep working, it’s going to come.”

The Minutewomen kept up their intensity heading into the second period, rarely finding the puck on their side of the ice. The relentless pressure paid off as UMass drew a penalty to head to the powerplay.

The powerplay would prove fruitful for the Minutewomen, as Brianna O’Neil had nice stick work and found the five hole to give UMass its first goal of the game. Less than two minutes later, Marissa Gregory found the back of the net off pretty passes from Regan Paterson and Nicole Maimonis, making the score 2-0.

It wasn’t just offense that was propelling the Minutewomen’s success on the ice Saturday night, as by the end of the second, goaltender Casey Marshall had stopped 18 out of 18 shots on net, and by the end of the game had stopped 24 out of the 25 shots she faced.

Despite outshooting the Rams 21-7 in that period alone, the score stood still heading to the third, stuck at 2-0.

“Obviously scoring is another thing that we could do better on,” Wright said.

For much of the third period, the theme remained the same: the Minutewomen dominating puck control but never really being able to pull away. The tide began to turn when Marshall got called for a trip midway into the third period. This penalty led directly to a URI goal, scoring on a slapshot to make the score 2-1.

“There’s all kinds of stuff we can improve on,” Wright said. “Staying out of the box, avoiding penalties.”

Wright’s sentiments would be echoed as URI drew a body check penalty with 1:33 remaining in the game. This, combined with the Rams pulling their goalie, led to a 6-on-4 power play for URI. Again, the defense stood strong, and the Minutewomen won by a final score of 2-1.

“We [didn’t] want to give up the blue line,” Wright said. “They’re six, we’re four, so we have to play a tight zone. We have to make sure we’re putting pressure on the puck when we can.”

Despite only winning by one goal, this was a dominant performance by a group who looks to make noise in tournament play. The Minutewomen doubled URI’s 25 shots on net, finishing with 50.

“It would be better if we had 10 goals to go with those 50 shots,” Wright said.

UMass awaits its ranking for the National Tournament, which is scheduled to take place from March 16-20 in St. Louis, Mo.

Johnny Depin can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @Jdepin101.

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