By Ian Carrano
SPRINGFIELD — Despite drawing eight powerplay opportunities, the Springfield College Women’s Club Ice Hockey team fell to Paul Smith, 5-2, at Smead Arena Sunday afternoon. Christina D’Ambro and Nicole Sedlar each scored a goal but failed to overcome Paul Smith’s strong goaltending in the loss.
Springfield had its fair share of opportunities in the first period, earning three power plays. Taking the puck away from Paul Smith, D’ Ambro fought her way for a fastbreak opportunity on the power play but missed the net eight minutes into the period. Later in the period, Colleen Myers attempted to get Springfield on the board first fighting to deflect the puck into the back of the net but was bested by Katey Snyder who made a timely diving save to keep the game evened up with just 24 seconds remaining on the power play.
With only four minutes left, Paul Smith’s Nidra DeArmayero attempted a wrist shot on goal which deflected off goalie and went in to give them a late 1-0 advantage. Drawing a tripping penalty with only 22 seconds left, Springfield went into the first intermission with a powerplay awaiting them in the beginning of the second half. Although the first period didn’t go as planned for the Pride, head coach Tom Verrico tried to instill some confidence in his players despite their struggles on three powerplay opportunities.
“He definitely emphasized to keep shooting the puck because eventually if you keep shooting something’s going to go in. Most of the week in practice we were working a lot on our special teams, a lot of power play, a lot of penalty kills, so that definitely helped us out. We got some good puck movement, just at times we didn’t get the bounces to go our way,” said team manager Jamie Peck.
After a strong opening period, Springfield failed to find much success in the second period, suffering two penalties. Less than five minutes into the period, Paul Smith extended their lead with shifty moves from DeArmayero. Dangling the puck through defenders, DeArmayero shot it past Abbi Conley to push Paul Smith’s lead to 2-0. Shortly after the goal, DeArmayero scored her second goal of the night taking a pass from Sam Peters three minutes later, deflecting it in the goal with Conley out of position which gave Paul Smith a commanding 3-0 lead with 9:23 remaining in the period.
Noticing the team’s struggles on their power play opportunities, Verrico stressed that was an area of emphasis in his preparation for the matchup with Paul Smith.
“We worked on power plays and penalty kills all week in practice and we just had to implement it during the game and it wasn’t 100 percent yet, but we’ll keep on working on it,” said Verrico.
Although Springfield struggled to avoid penalties in the second period, Peck explained coach’s emphasis on limiting penalties. Following a physical matchup against Paul Smith on Friday night, Peck applauded the team’s ability to stay disciplined in a frustrating period.
“We were just trying to keep our heads better than yesterday and just trying to keep our head down and stay out of the penalty box. You don’t win too many games if you stay in the penalty box the whole game. We did a great job at that today. They took a number of penalties that we could have retaliated, but we chose not to which was a very good thing to see,” said Peck.
Less than two minutes later, Springfield responded with their first goal of the game. Slicing through defenders, Rachael Curtis threaded a pass to D’Ambro in front of the net who deflected it past the goaltender to cut the deficit down to 3-1.
Despite the change in momentum, Paul Smith wasn’t done scoring in the second period. With only a minute remaining in the period, DeArmayero once again split Springfield’s defense which fueled another fast break. Moving the puck from left to right, DeArmayero scored past the outstretched glove of Conley to give Paul Smith a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final period.
Facing a series of difficult circumstances, the team still had confidence heading into the third period. Catching a series of unfortunate bounces, Peck acknowledged the team was still upbeat about their chances of coming back, even though they were trailing by a large deficit.
“Given the circumstances, I think we were all feeling pretty good because we were getting a lot of shots, we were winning a ton of faceoffs. We were pretty solidly outplaying them at times, we just couldn’t get anything to go our way as far as getting any good bounces or catching any breaks. It felt like we were in a pretty good spot to go out there and just keep playing well and hoping it would go our way, hope to get a bounce or something and get back into the game which unfortunately didn’t go our way,” said Peck.
The Pride stayed alive early in the third period with a Nicole Sedler goal. Fighting in front of the net, Sedler deflected a shot past Snyder after a shot by Lindsay Corning was knocked away by the traffic in front of the net to keep Springfield in the game now trailing 4-2 with nine minutes remaining in the period. Amidst the Pride’s struggling offense, Peck acknowledged the importance of the early goal in the third period, which was later overshadowed by DeArmayero’s fourth goal of the game minutes later.
“That was a big turning point in the game. Unfortunately, the next one went their way.”
While Verrico pointed out many of the factors that led to his team’s defeat, he also made sure to give credit to Paul Smith in the process.
“Paul Smith was a good team, solid squad. We came out both games this weekend, both first period playing real good hockey. Second period we took too many penalties and let down just a little bit. Then we outshot them the whole game, we out-possessed the puck , just couldn’t score the goalie was good,” said Verrico.
Limiting penalties and staying confident in the offensive zone will be some points of emphasis for Springfield as they prepare for their next matchup.
Featured photo courtesy Jack Margaros