Women’s hockey loses two close games to Endicott, drops to 1-2

Despite a solid showing against a strong opponent, the Suffolk women’s hockey team lost back-to-back games against Endicott this weekend. 

Going into the weekend, it was clear that Endicott would be a tough challenge to the Rams, as the Gulls only lost two games last season on their way to a second straight conference title. The advantage that the Rams had over Endicott was that this was Endicott’s first weekend of competitive play.

The first ever tilt between the two teams took place at Endicott’s Raymond J. Bourque Arena on Saturday evening. 

The game was back and forth for the first two periods. Endicott took the early lead by scoring about four and a half minutes into the contest, but junior defenseman Natasha Savage made it a 1-1 game with her first collegiate goal halfway through the first period. 

Junior forward Meghan Gazard scored her first collegiate goal two minutes into the second, giving the Rams a 2-1 lead that would last until Endicott scored with six minutes to go in the period. 

At the second intermission, Endicott led the shot count by only three shots. 

The third period was Endicott’s most dominating period of the weekend. While Suffolk had some good opportunities, they were only able to register one shot on goal. The Gulls, meanwhile, got 11 shots off, firing two past sophomore netminder Julia McLellan to earn a 4-2 win.

Then it was back to Porrazzo Rink on Sunday for the latter half of the home and home series. 

Junior and captain Shana Cote opened the scoring for Suffolk six minutes into the game, thanks to a great pass to the slot from junior forward Julia Volpe. Endicott tied the game three-and-a-half minutes before the first intermission. 

The remainder of the game was a defensive standoff. The teams combined for a total of 18 blocked shots and 38 saves in the final two periods. Unfortunately for the Rams, Endicott scored toward the end of the second period, which was all they needed for a 2-1 win. 

Even though the Rams didn’t get the results they were looking for, there were a lot of positive takeaways from the weekend. 

Despite Endicott winning both games, the heavyweights of the CCC never appeared to be too much for the Rams to handle. 

“I think we were pretty equal,” said junior and captain Madison Duff. “I wouldn’t say they didn’t compare to Norwich, but the Norwich games definitely ended a lot differently than those did this weekend and they were our top competitor in our last league. If that’s going to be our top competitor in this league, I’m very excited to start next year.”

What stood out the most in Suffolk’s play this weekend was how tight their defense was. The Rams never made it easy for Endicott to get to the net, as they had over 35 blocked shots over the weekend. 

“Everyone was laying out for shots,” said coach Taylor Wasylk. “I thought all of our [defense] did a great job, especially on the PK just being where they’re supposed to be. It’s easy to watch the puck go around and get out of position a little on the PK, but the defense did really well blocking shots and staying in lanes.”

The most notable news from the weekend was Savage and Gazard each netting their first collegiate goals. 

“I dislocated my knee last season and was out for 10 weeks,” Savage said when talking about her goal. “So coming back this season, even though it was a lot later than expected, it felt really good to come out strong.”

Savage’s goal and combined 11 blocked shots this weekend earned her a nomination for this week’s Ram of the Week. 

Of course, there are still things that the Rams can improve for next week. 

“Gotta tidy up the [defensive] zone a little bit,” Wasylk said. There were a lot of 50/50 puck I thought we could’ve got out. We gotta bear down a little more, gotta want it a little bit more.”

On Saturday the Rams head to Marlborough for an 8 p.m. showdown with Anna Maria. 

 

Follow Jamie on Twitter @JamieTaris