PROVIDENCE --- Mount St. Charles’ best effort of the season against unbeaten La Salle was only able to fetch the Mounties a close loss in Wednesday night’s opening game of their best-of-three state championship series at Brown University’s Meehan Auditorium.
The Rams rode a pair of goals in the first 4½ minutes of the second period and some solid netminding from freshman Taylor Peltier to a 2-0 victory over the Mounties that put them on the brink of an undefeated season and their second straight state title.
The Mounties (15-5) will look to even the series with the Rams (20-0) in tonight’s Game 2 back at Brown, but should the game, which is slated to start at 8:15 p.m., be postponed by today’s snowy weather, it will most likely be rescheduled on Saturday at a time to be announced.
And when the Mounties return to the ice, they will do so with only a dozen players. The Mounties, who have been shorthanded all season long and entered the series with just 13 healthy players, lost the services of one of their defensemen – possibly for the rest of the series – with a head injury.
But despite their lack of numbers, the Mounties did everything they could to beat a team that not only dressed their full 20 players for this contest, but in their three regular-season meetings, also outshot them by a 118-71 margin and outscored Mount, 14-2.
In Wednesday’s game, the Rams only outshot the Mounties, 35-27, but Peltier, who was rarely tested this season (257 shots in 16 games), needed to make some huge stops for the shutout, including two big ones in the third period with Mount on a power play.
Ninety seconds into play, she kicked out a breakaway attempt by Alexis Fagan, and less than a minute later, she denied a 2-on-1 breakaway that saw Jordan McComb try to take a pass from Briana Castro and slip a wrist shot past Peltier.
Peltier, who had a career-best 31-save night earlier in the season against Mount, also turned away a couple of partial breakaways and another 2-on-1 break in the opening period to begin what would be a frustrating night for the Mounties.
“I can’t complain,” said MSC coach Tony DiLorenzo. “We had a few partial breakways, and Alexis had three of them. We just have to get somebody to the net when we shoot.”
Tourtellot, who recorded her 500th save of the season late in the opening period en route to a 33-save
performance, also turned in some quality stops throughout the night, but the Rams managed to do all the damage they needed to do at the start of the middle period.
After a somewhat quiet first period, the Rams quickly jumped on the board just 20 seconds into the second on Sarah Migliori’s 24th goal of the year. She took a pass from Meaghan Rickard at the blue line, and after maneuvering past a pair of Mount defensemen with some fancy stick work, she fired a wrist shot over Tourtellot’s right shoulder.
Less than three minutes later, the Mounties picked up its first penalty of the contest, and with 10:28 left in the period, La Salle made them pay with Rickard’s state-leading 31st goal of the season, set up nicely in front of the net by Michaela McNamara.