KINGSTON, R.I. – February 11, 2011 – University of Rhode Island men’s hockey player Kyle Krannich had one goal in mind when he and three of his Rhody teammates left in late January for the World University Games – win a medal.
Well, the Team USA and URI captain didn’t reach his goal, but the Americans did achieve a first by the time competition wrapped up earlier this month. They captured sixth place out of 12 teams, the best finish in the world games for the Americans.
Russia won the tourney, but the United States put together a solid 3-3 record with a 7-3 win over Slovakia, a 4-1 win over Spain and 5-3 victory against Japan. A 6-3 loss to eventual finalist Belarus pushed the USA into the consolation round.
The four URI players each appeared in all six of Team USA’s games, and the Rams accounted for 36 percent of all goals scored and 29 percent of all points.
“Getting to the medal round felt great,” Krannich, a senior from Randolph, N.J. “We played three teams that had members of their top national squads. “Belarus went all the way to the final game, but we had no regrets. Belarus had Olympians on their team. We wouldn’t have changed the way we played. It just didn’t go our way. A lot of European teams don’t like to hit, and even though we were a lot smaller, our opponents were afraid of us. All the URI guys did well.”
First-time Team USA member Alan Dionne of Scituate finished second among all tournament defensemen in total points with six, and tied for first among all defensemen with his four goals.
Krannich, who wrapped up his international career with two goals and an assist and finished sixth in faceoff percentage with a rating of 67.24.
Junior Dan Lassik of Garnet Valley, Pa., an alternate captain for Team USA, had one goal and two assists and senior Devin Sheehan of Binghamton, N.Y., also an alternate captain, had two goals.
Now back home in Kingston, the quartet returns to action with the Rams, who appear to be peaking for the final stretch of the season. Ranked sixth nationally among Division 1 club hockey teams, the Rams have a 26-4-1 record and captured the Eastern State Collegiate Hockey League’s regular season title. URI wraps up its regular season with games against Villanova tonight and Saturday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Boss Arena, 1 Keaney Road.
The following week, the Rams host the ESCHL’s tournament Feb. 18 through 20 at the Boss Arena. The Rams have a first-round bye and will open play Saturday, Feb. 19 at 7 p.m. Here is the full list of the schedule and the teams is here.
Women’s team debut is dandy for Ducie
It wasn’t enough for URI’s Justine Ducie to simply get selected to the first women’s version of Team USA. The senior URI captain from Sandwich, Mass. was Team USA’s leading scorer with one goal and six assists, all collected in a 15-0 win over host Turkey. Of the athletes from the six-team competition, she finished 10th in total scoring.
Equally impressive was her chance to play for a medal. Team USA earned a trip to the bronze medal game against Slovakia. After its win over Turkey, it notched an impressive 3-1 win over hockey-rich Finland and 8-1 victory over Great Britain. In the bronze medal game, Team USA fell, 3-1 to Slovakia.
“Making it to the bronze medal game was a great accomplishment for our team, especially since it was USA’s first time in the games,” Ducie said. “Although it didn’t go our way, we played well and contended with every team we played. The whole experience was something I will never forget. I had a great time and made many new friends from all over the country.”
Ducie is back with the Rams, who travel to Bridgeport this weekend for Friday and Saturday night games against Division 1 varsity squad Sacred Heart University. Then, like their male counterparts, the Rams will host the Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League playoffs Feb. 26 through Feb. 27 at the Boss Arena.
Dan Lassik #4 and Justine Ducie in action for their respective Team USA squads in the World University Games.
Kyle Krannich stands for the Star Spangled Banner during the World University Games
Alan Dionne, # 6, in action at the World University Games
Photos Courtesy of USA Hockey