URI women’s hockey team captures 10th league title in 15 years

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Reaches national D1 club final four a ninth time

KINGSTON, R.I. — March 26, 2014 — The University of Rhode Island’s women’s hockey team certainly knows how to celebrate an anniversary in style.

Now celebrating their 15th year of existence, the Rams captured their 10th Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League (ECWHL) title with big wins against the University of Vermont and the University of Massachusetts in the recent league tournament.

Ranked third nationally after winning the eastern title, the Rams beat Big 10 squads Michigan and Michigan State and tied Miami of Ohio in national pool play, putting them in the final four of the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s (ACHA) Women’s Division 1 championship tourney, held March 13 through 16 at the University of Delaware. The Rams battled hard, eventually finishing fourth in the national tournament.

“We gave it a great effort and I am very proud of the team,” said coach Beth McCann, of Westerly, who is celebrating her 15th year as the only coach the team has ever had. “We again came close to a national championship, and we are disappointed that we didn’t win. However, we had two players named second Team All Tournament and three players selected to the two ACHA All American teams. These selections show that URI women’s hockey has great respect across the country.”

Kayla DiLorenzo, a senior goalie from Chepachet, R.I. was named an ACHA first-team All American, while Lauren Hillberg, a senior defenseman from Westwood, Mass. and Alisha DiFilippo, a junior forward from Hope, R.I. were each named second team All Americans.

Lauren Lanoie, a senior forward from West Warwick and Hillberg were each named second team, All Tournament.

Rhody has reached the final four in 8 of its 15 years of existence.

In the regional tourney, URI defeated Vermont in the semifinal, 4-0, with Lanoie, a member of the regional competition’s All Tournament Team, scoring every goal. In the championship game, DiLorenzo, another All Tournament Team selection, nailed down her second shutout, as the Rams posted a 2-0 victory over UMass. Sydney Collins, a junior defenseman from Warwick, the regional tournament’s most valuable player, scored the first and game-winning goal. Hillberg also earned a spot as the top defenseman on the ECWHL All Tournament Team. Rhody’s ECWHL championship means that the Rams will host the regional league tournament next season at the Bradford R. Boss Arena at URI.

McCann had high praise for her core players who helped keep Rhody’s record of dominance alive.

“Sydney Collins is so versatile that I can play her anywhere,” McCann said. “She often plays forward, but I moved her back to defense, and she scored that power-play goal against UMass that got us going.”

Hillberg, one of the Rams who represented URI on Team USA for the World University Games, which won the bronze medal earlier this season, is one of the best defensemen in the region.

“Lauren went to the World Games, and has been a driving force on defense,” MCann said. “She is so solid, and she can make that transition from offense to defense so smoothly,” the coach said of the senior captain.

“What can you say about the goaltending of Kayla (DiLorenzo), the only netminder on URI’s roster this year?” McCann asked. “She has been the backbone of the team.”

DiLorenzo holds national records for the most minutes played and the highest saves percentage.

Pictured above

CHAMPIONS AGAIN: Members of the University of Rhode Island women’s hockey team proudly display the championship trophy after having captured their 10th Eastern Collegiate Women’s Hockey League title in the last 15 years. The Rams, recently finished fourth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Women’s Division 1 national championship tourney March 13 through 16 at the University of Delaware. It was the Rams’ ninth entry into the national tournament’s final four. Photo courtesy of Beth McCann.