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Women's hockey no longer perfect on season, swept by Minnesota at home

By Jonathan Shideler
On December 4, 2012

The No. 1-ranked University of Rhode Island women's ice hockey team will no longer be atop the standings in the American Collegiate Hockey Association following its two losses to the University of Minnesota this past weekend that dropped the team's record to 11-1-0-1.

"It's always tough to play when you're the top team," head coach Beth McCann said. "The team learned a lot this weekend, they want to do whatever they can to get back to that top position."

On Friday night the Rams lost a tough battle 3-2. Sophomore Kristy Kennedy gave the Rams a one-goal lead scoring four minutes into the second period.

Minutes later the Golden Gophers tied the game with a power-play goal. Rhody bounced back when sophomore Cassondra Catlow and freshman Bethany Saunders worked together to find freshman Kristen Levesque for her eighth goal of the year.

The third period was a rough one for the Rams as they could not work the offense and failed to get a goal. With eight minutes remaining in the game Minnesota senior Julie Baumgartner scored to tie the game.

Three minutes later, senior Maddie McGraw scored again for Minnesota to give them the lead, which led to the win.  

Saturday was another defensive game between the two top-10 ranked teams as the Gophers escaped Boss Ice Arena with a 2-1 overtime win. Junior Lauren Lanioe scored in the first period but that would be the only goal for the Rams.

Minnesota tied the game in the second period and failed to score in the third, sending the game go to overtime.

In overtime it was sophomore Molly Sparks who won the game for Minnesota, scoring 30 seconds into the extra frame.

For the first time this season the Rams failed to hold onto early leads, which translated to two loses.

"We needed to do a better job of continuing our offense when we have that one goal advantage." McCann said. "It's difficult losing games when you have a lead, even if it is just one." 

The Rams struggles to put shots on goal was an area where Minnesota thrived, almost doubling the attempts Rhody had 72-45.

Although a loss is never a good thing, McCann said she thinks the team will be able to turn a negative into a positive.

"Being undefeated there is never a good time for a loss, " McCann said. "But I think it gave the team a better perspective of how tough it is being the best. They want to improve and get back to the top."

The Rams will end the first half of their season with two road games this weekend. The first will be against the University of Massachusetts Friday night at 7 p.m. before travelling east on the Mass Pike to take on Harvard University on Saturday afternoon.

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