Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

Tight defense is always said to win a game, but a few goals here and there help as well.
Defense and aggressive play was the story for the WCU women’s ice hockey team as they played California University of Pennsylvania on Saturday. Watching warm-ups made it obvious that this would be a close game. Cal’s players were very aggressive looking, especially with their practice shots.
West Chester played strong defense from the opening puck drop. The girls continually fended off goal opportunities by Cal. University. WCU cleared the puck several times in order to maintain a score of 0-0. The Golden Rams found themselves in a tight spot at the end of the first period when Cal looked poised to score on WCU’s goalie Presley Fiorilli. She kept composure as she steered off all attempts on goal.
The second period was the real story in this game. West Chester came out with real passion as they jumped on any opportunity they could to score on Cal. “We wanted to build on the momentum we established in the first period. We really wanted to stick with the game plan and play WCU hockey, which is ‘ramming’ the puck in the opponent’s faces.” assistant coach AJ Kowalewski said. Freshman Kristen Baron stood out in her aggressive play. Baron was dynamite as she played hard defense against the Cal squad. “She plays her own physical game out there. She is one of the best on the ice, as she makes her presence known. She is truly a leader out there and she is not given the credit she is due,” Kowalewski said.
This style of play resulted in two penalties for Baron. West Chester would end up with six penalties on the day. Five of those penalties came after a quiet first period. Baron put on a show offensively as well. She showed true determination on the offensive side of the puck. Baron would put the Rams out in front with a goal in the mid second period to put the team up 1-0. “She has been working on her shot all season and it’s nice to see that her hard work is paying off,” Kowalewski said. Great puck movement and hostile play lead to this score. This playing style did not go over well with Cal. University’s players. Many took offence to this style of play and retaliated. Onslaughts of penalties were issued to both teams during this period.
The second period also brought out the best of senior Becky Dobson. Dobson handled the puck well and made her presence known on the ice. She truly looked like a leader, as she was not afraid to stand up for her teammates. In the occasional brawl on the ice you could see that she was always in the middle of the action. It is unfortunate that Saturday was Dobson’s last game as a Golden Ram. It did not end the way she wanted it as she was injured with under a minute left in the third period. “Right now we do not know any updates on the injury, but she saw the trainer and was walking after the game,” Kowalewski said.
The third period brought more aggressive play as the Golden Rams would accumulate two more penalties, one coming after a near benches-clearing brawl on the ice. WCU players and Cal players were caught in a shoving match mid-ice, however only one player from each team was handed a penalty. West Chester would post another score in this period by Baron. West Chester gave up a goal in the final 30 seconds of this period to cut the lead in half. This goal would not be enough as Cal’s efforts to tie the game were fruitless.
Hardly enough credit is given to West Chester’s goalie Fiorilli. The freshman goalie from Limerick had a near shout out in this 2-1 victory. It is always imperative that a team has a strong goalie. This win would not have been made possible without Fiorilli’s efforts. She really showed her composure, especially as a freshman. When the pressure was on she did not back down.
West Chester won this game because of aggressive play, and strong passes. This was an exceptional game due to high tension between both squads. Multiple altercations between players created a drama that made anyone surrounding the rink become attached to the action. The Golden Rams have to keep playing their game, which is good hostile hockey and “ramming” the puck in the opponent’s face.
Michael Murphy is a first-year student majoring in communication studies. He can be reached at MM802071@wcupa.edu 

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