Friday, December 7, 2007

Yale 2, Women's Hockey 1

Thursday’s contesting teams were rolling in inverse directions at puck-drop: the host Providence College Friars subsisting on a four-game winning streak, the Yale Bulldogs 0-5-1 in their previous six outings. Yet the Dogs proved by far to be the most effectively resistant visitor during PC’s six-game homestand, which concludes Saturday against Harvard.
Whether those circumstances factored in the heat of the play or not, PC coach Bob Deraney acted on his inclination to throw a challenge flag when Yale shone in the middle frame to scurry ahead 2-1. On the equalizer at the 5:22 mark, Friars backliner Brittany Simpson had been chasing a fugitive puck off an attacking-zone face-off, seeking a routine regrouping session in neutral ice.
Instead, Simpson was entangled by Yale’s Caroline Murphy, who dropped on top of her at the far circle top of the Providence end. While the Friar faithful cried foul, alleging interference, Murphy’s fellow winger Kristin Stupay subsequently accepted Danielle Koslowski’s quick handover and snapped it bar down.
Four-and-a-half-minutes later, the officials agreed to go to the newfangled video booth when Helen Resor’s eventual winner was seemingly set up by a high-stick. The call nonetheless stood and the Friars, unable to recompense even in a 16-shot third period saw the 2-1 deficit solidify, and their hot streak vanquished.
Aside from the ultimately decisive, call-it-what-you-will second period, the revamped Providence team had all of its winning elements whirling through Thursday’s contest. Although, the conversely starved Bulldogs kept their borders considerably tighter than, say, the Maine Black Bears or Robert Morris Colonials before them.
The Friars were confined to a game total of 35 shots, their lowest since their last road excursion to Ohio State prior Thanksgiving and were barely outshot in the second by a 10-9 differential.
Nonetheless, they ran away with the shooting gallery for the first chunk of the opening frame, pouring out seven unanswered stabs to lead that category 8-1 by 7:04. But for the next eight minutes of play, the puck took a tour about as random as the footbag that a handful of Friars kick around an hour before each game, and neither team registered another shot until PC’s master puckslinger, Kathleen Smith, unleashed a slapper with 4:19 remaining.
Yale held the Friar strikers off for another lengthy stretch of hot potato in neutral ice before surrendering a wildly executed icebreaker with 1:05 till intermission.
In a sequence rather characteristic of the contest, an array of bodies tumbled in a scrum for the puck along the far red-line boards. When it squirted out, a fresh-off-the-bench Smith swooped in, darted into the Yale zone, and found Kelli Doolin scurrying down the middle alley. Doolin, flocked by backchecking Bulldogs, took her own tumble as she still managed to absorb Smith’s feed and tap it through goaltender Shivon Zilis before pulling off a full-body rollover to the right of the cage.
The Bulldogs, who mustered an infinitesimal two attempts at Friars stopper Danielle Ciarletta, remained hushed even through a power play in the wee minutes of the second period. But not long after that expired, Murray and Stupay caught their peculiar break on the team’s third shot.
Later, at 9:55 of that period, Kristi Howser took her own whack in a heavily congested area along the near post. Ciarletta tilted it over before the vacant left frame of the cage and Resor pounced to swat in the eventual winner.
Yale –which, the win aside, has now not surpassed two goals in its last seven games- looked to have a sufficient grip on its newfound momentum until precisely 90 ticks remained in the middle frame. It was then that defender Carlee Ness was flagged for checking PC’s Pamela McDevitt, seventy seconds before she was joined by Mandi Schwartz, caught tripping in the midst of the Friars growingly familiar power play swarm.
But the Bulldogs deprived the Friars of any shots on the two carry-over advantages, and even when her defending skaters melted and gave her the sweatiest period of the night, Zilis (game total: 34 saves) answered everything.
Providence, which has yet to fall by more than one goal on home ice, ran up five shots in the waning two minutes with six attackers, but could not sustain any prolonged buzzes as Yale cleared its zone three times.
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press