Senior Jean O'Neill posts hat trick and assist for Friars

Senior forward Jean O'Neill had a hat trick and an assist for the Friars

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The Providence College women's ice hockey team got a hat trick and an assist from senior Jean O'Neill (Strafford, Pa.), but still fell, 5-4, to host Robert Morris in the season opener for both teams.

The Friars trailed 5-2 with 4:30 to play in the third period before launching a fevered come-back that fell inches short. Freshman Corinne Buie (Edina, Minn.) got the rally started on the power play, capitalizing on a scramble in front to beat Colonial goalie Kristen DiCiocco at the 15:34 mark to cut the deficit to 5-3.

Just over two minutes later, junior defenseman Jen Friedman (San Gabriel, Calif.) blasted a slapshot from just inside the blue line. It was tipped home by O'Neill, completing the co-captain's hat trick and bringing the Friars to within 5-4.

The Friars nearly knotted the game in the waning seconds. With the extra attacker on, senior co-captain Alyse Ruff attempted a wrap around from behind the net. DiCiocco covered the near side in the nick of time.

The Friars started off the game in fine fashion, scoring the games first goal. O'Neil gave the Friars a 1-0 lead at 3:42 of the first, assisted by junior Abby Gauthier (Lynn, Mass.) Robert Morris answered immediately, with Dayna Newson depositing a rebound just :37 later to tie the game 1-1.

The Friars regained the lead at the start of the second, with O'Neill scoring her second of the night at 4:31 into the middle period. Again, the Colonials responded, this time with senior Maria Stoa getting the honors at 7:46.

Then came the key portion of the game, with RMU scoring with :15 left in the second, and twice more to start the third, taking the 5-2 lead.

In addition to Buie, freshman Rebecca Morse also earned her first collegiate point. She assisted on O'Neill's final goal.

Friar goalie Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ontario) recorded 26 saves in the loss.

The teams will play again tomorrow afternoon. The game, originally set for 4 p.m., will now face-off at 3 p.m. It can be heard on Friars.com, and video will be streamed on the Robert Morris website, rmucolonials.com.