Moloughney’s hat trick pushes Syracuse past RIT, will play in CHA final
Moloughney's hat trick helps Syracuse avoid upset against RIT
SYRACUSE — Syracuse needed every bit of Abby Moloughney’s hat trick to get past upset-minded Rochester Institute of Technology on Friday in a College Hockey America semifinal.
Moloughney electrified the Tennity Ice Pavilion crowd when she found the back of the net with 6:12 remaining in overtime to help the Orange (14-10-6) capture a 3-2 win over the Tigers (2-27-4). With the win, SU punched its ticket to the conference championship on Saturday against the Penn State-Mercyhurst semifinal winner.
The Syracuse left-winger took a pass from the neutral zone over the blue line and cut back to her right past one defender before moving toward the slot and roofing a shot past RIT goaltender Sarah Coe, who finished with 49 saves.
Moloughney’s teammates swarmed her after the hat trick goal, as Syracuse went to congratulate her on a shot she did not expect to go in.
“I just remember coming down the side and just trying to get a shot on net,” Moloughney said. “I actually meant to keep it low because I normally like to shoot it low so I can get to the rebounds, but that one came off my stick a little weird. I think it hit her glove. It was kind of slow-motion to me going in, but it was exciting.”
RIT did not go away and started to rally in the second and third frames despite not registering a shot until three minutes remained in the first.
Syracuse finished with a 52-12 shot advantage, but the Tigers were opportunistic on the power play, which helped them net both their tallies.
Abby Davies scored the RIT equalizer just past the midway mark of the second period after a net-front scramble. With 2:16 gone in the third period, Kyla Bear released a shot from the point that took a fortunate bounce and found its way past Orange netminder Arielle DeSmet to give the Tigers the lead.
“It was a heartbreaker at the end, but I’m insanely proud of the group,” RIT coach Celeste Brown said.
“For a group mostly made of young kids to play like that and to lay every ounce of heart and soul out for each other is something special, and I don’t think you see it enough.”
Moloughney evened the contest when she forced a turnover left of the Tiger net and ripped a short-side shot at the 6:33 mark of the third period.
“It’s a good thing Abby was here today,” Orange coach Paul Flanagan said with a laugh. “We certainly relied on her.”
“We have a very determined group. We have fifth-year players and seniors. They were not going to let this happen in terms of letting this slip away. There was never any panic in the locker room or on the bench.”
Flanagan went on to compliment the tenacity of RIT and complimented the Tigers, who were anchored by Coe in net.
“Going through my head is always the next shot and then focusing on the next one and just not letting anything get in my head,” Coe said.
She said she looks forward to what’s next for the Tigers who will look to build from this experience.
“I don’t even think I can find a word for it or to use,” Bear said “We’ve been through so much this entire year that I’m so happy to see everyone battle as hard as they could for that last period. It was so overwhelming, and I couldn’t be more proud. Proud is just an understatement.”
Sunday’s CHA championship will take place at 2 p.m. back at Tennity Ice Pavilion.
“It was definitely a battle,” said Syracuse’s DiGirolamo about the challenges RIT presented. “I am just excited to lead this team, and I am excited for this championship game tomorrow.”