Monday, October 27, 2008

Women's Hockey Log: Defender Erin Normore Making Good On Forward Assignment

Trying to cement a singular, concise, permanent definition of senior Erin Normore’s position with the Friars is about as bamboozling an endeavor as trying to put an effective, restraining hook on the two-way connoisseur.
Those who have followed the Friars long enough should be apt to remark that just the goal-assist value pack the senior picked up in yesterday’s 4-2 win over Maine was hardly sufficient evidence that she has had a weeklong stint amongst the team’s offensive dozen. Even as a defender, Normore has been characteristically inclined to venture with the puck deep to the corners of the attacking zone. A PC women’s hockey experience is hardly such without seeing her singlehandedly tour the biscuit from end to end at least once.
So, when Normore –who was implanted between Kate Bacon and Alyse Ruff on the starting line yesterday- hurdled over the boards for a line change, absorbed the fugitive puck in neutral ice, and strolled right in to thrust home PC’s fourth goal at 0:44 of the third period, it meant nothing beyond getting the day’s task done.
“When you have players that can play two positions, it gives you a lot of versatility based on what you need,” acknowledged head coach Bob Deraney. “And right now, she’s doing a wonderful job. So in the foreseeable future, she will continue to play up, but don’t be surprised to see her back at D or (at least) taking shifts at D.”
Technically, she did do a little of that yesterday, assuming the backline position for both power plays and penalty kills. She would be credited with a helper on the Friars’ second goal upon shipping a feed to Brittany Simpson, who proceeded to set up Laura Veharanta at 13:17 of the opening frame.
And based on the bench-wide round of shuffles that occurred in the middle of last weekend, Deraney’s configurations as a whole probably have a light coat of Zamboni-born water still yet to freeze.
But as the skipper says, Normore is a runaway leader in terms of flexibility.
Normore, who up to this point has suited up for all 115 possible games in her collegiate career, was strictly a blueliner for the duration of her freshman campaign. As her venturous tendencies broke the surface in the form of a breakthrough 6-16-22 scoring transcript, though, she played precisely two-thirds of the 36-game slate up front in 2006-07, charging up a 7-14-21 log.
The general rotation carried over the dawn of last season, when Normore started as a centerpiece in all but one of the Friars’ first ten outings. Deraney, however, ultimately regressed her back to the defense stable, where she remained for the rest of the campaign, though not without umpteen of her end-to-end rushes, another 22 points, and a team-best +19 rating.
And until a week ago, she was contentedly still a nominal defender with two assists over the first five games of her senior year. As of yesterday’s buzzer, she had bulked it up to 1-4-5 on the year and 70 points all-time.
Quick Feeds: Senior goaltender Danielle Ciarletta –playing in her 50th career game at PC- collected 20 saves yesterday to pick up her first win in three attempts this season…Sophomores Jean O’Neill and Leigh Riley are the lone two skating Friars who have yet to receive a penalty this season. Riley, though, momentarily thought she was busted at 13:08 of the first period after she had become entangled with Maine’s Ashley Norum, taking one another down within the far circle of the zone. Instead, Norum went off alone on a diving citation…As was announced over the PA system yesterday, the domestic violence awareness fundraiser conducted during Saturday’s game raised an estimate of over $500.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Women's Hockey 4, Maine 2: Friars Shake Off A Bear Scare

Over the only timeout utilized on the day, with 25.6 seconds to spare in regulation, the trailing, short-stocked Maine Black Bears’ bench was by a full rink’s length the more fervent sector of Schneider Arena.
The Friars’ visitors had resurrected for the whole closing frame to more than double their shooting output (14 for a day’s total of 22) and, starting with less than eight minutes to work with, had drawn nearly back-to-back 5-on-3 segments and cashed in to halve a 4-0 PC lead to 4-2.
Albeit not to the same degree as the previous afternoon against Boston College, Providence was again fiddling with hot, stick-fusing heat guns, risking another dramatic letdown.
But upon the subsequent draw in far half of the Black Bear end, the Friars clamped down to bar anymore rallying rushes and cemented the 4-2 win. Still not a complete game, in head coach Bob Deraney’s book, but an indubitable tilt to the upswing.
Deraney started with the obvious, gratified statement of acknowledging his team’s immediate redress. “Again, though,” he continued, “things are going along great then we take an unintelligent penalty, and then another one, and we breathe life into them. So, we have to find a way to play a full sixty minutes instead of fifty, or as it was yesterday, forty.”
But unlike Saturday’s partially self-inflicted, fall-from-ahead setback, Providence proudly made a case for majority rule through yesterday’s fifty minutes of command. After initially attending to the task of clogging Maine’s jumpstart onslaught over two early penalty kills, confining the Bears to merely one whole shot and constantly clearing the zone over those two sequences, they invaded goaltender Genevieve Turgeon’s vicinity and snowballed their own offensive, racking up a 16-3 shot count in the opening frame alone.
By the 10:58 mark, the Friars had already used their first power play to charge up three shots and center Jackie Duncan, churning like an aimless fly in the slot, drew a hooking infraction on Maine counterpart Vanessa Vani.
In the resultant 5-on-4 segment, Duncan carried right along with her non-mathematic input, offering a diagonal feed out of the near corner to point patroller Amber Yung. Yung dished a tape-to-tape lateral to associate Colleen Martin, who in turn whooshed it to Alyse Ruff, patiently parked before the far post. Ruff just as nimbly raked home the icebreaker with 11:42 gone.
Ninety-five seconds, one power play, and one recorded shot on net later, radiant rookie Laura Veharanta enhanced the edge to 2-0, accepting Brittany Simpson’s parallel feed and lobbing in her team-leading fifth strike of the season.
Although that would be a wrap for the man-up production, the Friars ultimately finished the day with a respectable 2-for-6 power play proficiency rate. And they had a slightly more rigid foundation to fly over compared to the majority of their outings in the young season.
“If you score power play goals, you’re probably going to be successful,” said Deraney. “And we have good personnel on our power play, and I think they’re all starting to adapt pretty nicely.”
Veharanta, who has now booked half of the team’s 10 total power play conversions, struck once more with 7:55 remaining in the second, finally renewing her feel for even strength scoring. Neither whistles nor zone clears on the Black Bears’ part could disrupt a chronic swirl in the depths of the attacking zone by the line of Kate Bacon, Erin Normore, and Ruff.
The buzz carried along as Veharanta, Ashley Cottrell, and Mari Pehkonen leapt on in a short-distance change and climaxed with Turgeon vainly attempting to clamp down a rebound around the near post.  Cottrell tapped it up front for Veharanta to poke into the gaping goal.
Normore, who had earned the initial assist on Veharanta’s first connection, made it 4-0 less than a minute into the third, assuming control of the disc in neutral ice and strolling right in to snap her first tally of the season over Turgeon’s trapper.
Only then did the scrappy Black Bears –who dressed but 17 skaters to start the day and lost defender Elyce Thomas to a freak injury late in the first- perk up. They hatched their goose-egg with 6:45 remaining in the waning ticks of their first 5-on-3 edge courtesy of Ashley Norum’s homeward bound ice-kisser from the straightaway point.
In another two-and-a-half minutes, with Jennifer Friedman locked away for cross-checking, Jessica Bond nailed a one-time slapper off a behind-the-net feed from Jordan Colliton.
But the whistle scale balanced back out with 2:37 remaining as Pehkonen drew a tripping minor against Colliton while driving to Turgeon’s porch. The Friars proceeded to lash out another three power play shots while waiting out their redeeming, breathe-easy buzzer.
“We wanted to come out and play a better brand of hockey today, and we did,” Deraney granted.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Boston College 3, Womens Hockey 1: Friars Fold In Third

Tediousness in his team’s habits reminiscent of the pre-2004 Red Sox aroused season-high terseness in Friars’ head coach Bob Deraney’s post-game address yesterday.
Gripping a brittle 1-0 lead for the better part of the first period and the full scope of the second, Providence went into roly-poly mode in the climax, allowing the Boston College Eagles to whip home three unanswered strikes and cement a stodgy 3-1 decision at Schneider Arena.
“We played forty good minutes, and then in the third period, BC wanted it more than we did,” said Deraney flatly. “They were down by a goal, and they just came out, they won more one-on-one battles, and they made the big plays when they had to, and we didn’t.”
Period by period, the output from the Friars stick rack either lessened or failed to escalate. They ran up a substantial bushel of 26 registered shots over the first two periods -13 apiece for each frame- and drew first blood at the 12:07 mark of the opening period through a jumpy shorthanded rush.
With Mari Pehkonen newly jailed for interference at 11:56, penalty killer Katy Beach chased down Eagle Kelli Stack’s fugitive face-off win and throttled with it down the near alley to set up a face-to-face confrontation with netminder Molly Schaus (34 saves). Inducing the distinguished veteran stopper to embrace the far post, Beach left a rebound square in the crease for associate forward Kate Bacon to swoop in and tuck home.
From there, though, an expectable goalies’ dual between Schaus and Genevieve Lacasse (27 saves) crossed the surface. The Eagles whiffed on their first 20 stabs at Lacasse and egregiously spilled a savory four power plays over their two periods of silence.
But on the flip side, the itching host club blew five extra-body invitations, four of them full length and most of them with no more than two shots to speak of. When BC’s Meghan Fardelmann took her second citation of the day in the second minute of the closing frame, the Friars’ strike force took a slug of Rockstar and leveled four shots at Schaus before Fardelmann’s release.
Nothing doing, though.
“I don’t’ think we tested her enough to really have her make a difference,” mused Deraney in reference to Schaus’ show. “We had some opportunities to add on (to our lead) and we missed the net. We had some good, clear cut chances and we just gotta add on. We didn’t. We allowed them to stick around, and when you do that to a good team, you’re living dangerously.”
Rolling along in the depths of the Boston zone at the conclusion of Fardelmann’s two-minute sentence, PC eventually turned the puck over and braced itself for a breakout. None other than the fresh-out-the-box Fardelmann absorbed Mary Restuccia’s moving feed, snaked it through the three zones, and snuck in her long-awaited first goal of the season –and the Eagles’ long-awaited equalizer, which may have been at 16:44 of the second if not for a washout- through a backhander homeward bound within the near post.
Barely three minutes later, one of the first protracted patches of time that saw no tests on Schaus whatsoever, Andrea Green slugged the eventual winner from the far circle top to the right of Lacasse and enticed a pile-on from her colleagues in her kneeling, fist-pumping celebration.
Suddenly, the momentum had turned a 180, slapping the Friars into an all-too-familiar pothole. For the fifth time in seven outings –the two exceptions being definitive triumphs- Providence found itself anarchically cramming for an equalizer.
Within the less-than-thirteen-minute stretch drive, the Friars drew yet another power play a quick 47 after Green’s tally, but cultivated nothing in the way of shots. They bounced one attempt off Schaus with under five minutes to spare and another PP in hand, only to cut it off via Arianna Rigano’s interference infraction at the 15:48 mark. Their collective skates dulled by another degree when Chrisie Jensen was flagged at 16:19, ultimately granting the Eagles a 27-second 5-on-3 edge.
And in the final minute, with a 5-on-4 set-up dictated by PC’s vacant cage and coincidental roughing minors to Beach and Stephanie Olchowski, BC’s Tracy Johnson, who had scooped up a helper on Green’s decider, whipped home the insurance point.
Scrap that gravy goal from the equation, and the Friars more or less have a full package of single-goal falters to their credit. Expectably, the “falter” half of that stat is the prevailing term in a dream-big locker room weary of slights and clips to the chin.
“It’s not good enough,” said Deraney, unable to pick out or cook up any more solace in these repetitive results. “It’s a hollow statement to (accept moral victories). We can’t rest our hat on that. We’re past that point now. We have to get the job done.”
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press