Thunderbirds edge LAdy Titans, 2-1

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The Warwick Lady Titans were edged out 2-1 by the Cranston/East Greenwich Thunderbirds on Sunday night at Cranston Veterans Memorial Ice Rink in a girls Division I hockey matchup. 

Thunderbirds senior Abbi Sampson, the league’s third-leading scorer, recorded both of Cranston/EG’s goals and helped the Thunderbirds clinch their first playoff appearance in five years.

It was Warwick’s last game of the regular season and now the Lady Titans must wait for the outcome of No. 6 NK/SK Narragansett Co-op against No. 4 Mt. St. Charles/Cumberland/Lincoln Co-op on Friday night to learn their own fate. Warwick, who is currently in a tie for sixth place with NK/SK Narragansett, would make the playoffs if NK/SK Narragansett loses because the Lady Titans hold the tiebreaker.

After a scoreless first period, Sampson put the Thunderbirds on the scoreboard at 9:12 of the second when she punched in a puck from point-blank range after assists from Lindsey Brady and Olivia Santurri.

Warwick got even at 2:33 of the third period when with a man advantage, Kaylee O’Connor, a senior, lit the lamp following assists from Nicole Procaccini and Ella Centracchio.

Regardless, six minutes later, Sampson, netted what proved to be the game-winning tally, during a powerplay, after assists from Brady and Alexia Bessette.

Rebecca Yaseen, a senior and assistant captain, made 23 saves for the Lady Titans while Hannah Slaiby, also a senior, made 24 stops in net for Cranston/EG.

It was the same result as when the two teams met a month ago at Thayer Arena.

“We’re pretty evenly matched with them, we just came up a little short,” Warwick head coach David Tibbetts said. “They played well and we just made a couple of extra mistakes. But, my girls played hard. They came out in the third period and made it a game. So it could have gone either way.”

“It’s always a close game with Warwick no matter what year it is,” Thunderbirds head coach PJ Bessette added. “But, this year we got the best of them in both games, 2-1. Hard fought games. We score a power-play goal to win the game, they score a power-play goal to tie it. So it was a game of inches. I’m very proud of these kids.” 

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