Thursday, November 6, 2008

Women's Hockey Log: PC's Deraney Acclaims RMU Goaltender McLaughlin

The team growth motif reeling out of Friars’ coach Bob Deraney’s mouth during media addresses is in an imperfect state.
That notion may have been at its plainest when he offered up his measuring evaluation of the forthcoming, two-game matchup with Robert Morris, which commences tomorrow night at the RMU Island Sports Center in Moon Township, Pa.
Raring to confront the CHA-based Colonials for the third time in as many seasons, and to pay his first-ever visit to the four-year-old program’s compact ice house operated by Slap Shot co-star Dave Hanson, Deraney referenced but one of the two visits Robert Morris has paid here.
And it wasn’t that of last November, when the Friars indulged in an ultimately season-best 7-1 decision, exiling opposing goaltender Brianne McLaughlin after two periods in the process.
Instead, the cautiously confident Deraney centralized his entire historical analysis on McLaughlin’s more typical stability.
Glancing back to the 2006-07 season, when RMU stopped by on November 19, he recalled, “It was a 1-1 tie, and I guarantee you the shots were 50-10. So when she’s in the net anything can happen.”
For the record, the final shot discrepancy was actually 45-15, Providence. Nonetheless, with a few more recent, external chips of evidence, the point is taken.
McLaughlin, now a senior, has amassed a 4-3-0 transcript in the wee hours of this season, saturating her personal stats log with a nightly average of 35-plus saves and a .921 save percentage. She bolstered a booming start on opening weekend through a 63-save dolphin show en route to the Colonials’ 3-2 nipping of almighty Minnesota.
Minus a pair of triumphs over expansion Syracuse, McLaughlin has confronted no fewer than 31 whips at her net per game. And underscoring her individual consistency, which is perhaps sprawled out in seclusion, all four of the Colonials’ victories have been decided by a single goal.
Other nights, no different from her second drop-in to Schneider last year, McLaughlin is inclined to disassemble. And on the Friars half of the spectrum, Deraney has aptly cited traces of his own strike force’s capabilities.
“We just have to keep doing the things that we do well,” he said. “(Boston University’s) Allyse Wilcox is a good goalie, and we got three past her (in regulation) and two in the shootout (last Saturday), so our goal-scoring tactics and goal-scoring ability has increased, so we’re going to make it difficult for (McLaughlin).”
Nonetheless, he continued, “what scares me the most about them is their goaltending, because she can steal a game, as she’s shown…We have to come ready to play and put away our opportunities, because we might not get a second chance.”
Quick Feeds: Senior goaltender Danielle Ciarletta, who concocted her own dynamic performance in the Friars’ cage at BU, has seen every minute of both meetings with the Colonials, scooping up a light bushel of 14 saves both times. Whether she takes in the full length of this weekend’s two-gamer, though, will likely depend on the course of tomorrow’s installment. And Deraney has disclosed no indication that he wouldn’t reinstate Genevieve Lacasse on one night or the other for the mere sake of keeping the rotation fresh…With Erin Normore indefinitely fixed into a forward role, where she will most likely remain especially while Mari Pehkonen is attending to her international duties, classmate Brittany Simpson and sophomore Amber Yung have been a consistent defensive twosome over the last three games, as they were over the first three games of the regular season. Every other branch of the depth chart is still randomly tweaking at ever-so-subtle rates…Pehkonen’s Finns will lock twigs with 2006 alumna Karen Thatcher’s Americans the wrap up round robin play on the famed 1980 Rink at Lake Placid tomorrow night at 8:00.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Women's Hockey Log: Deraney Admits Shootout Shoots Up Excitement

The PC women, by all statistical counts, should have been sentenced to grudgingly chow into a limburger-based donut in the way of points last Saturday. From the moment they started nursing a newly established 3-2 lead at the 5:32 mark of the third period, they collected one count of holding, one of body-checking, one of tripping, and two of hooking –in that very order.
All the while, host Boston University buzzed through the arcane, one-sided offering of power plays and ran up a disproportionate shooting discrepancy of 18-1.
But minus the last-minute equalizer, spotted by Terrier Gina Kearns on her team’s last regulation shot and last of a whole dozen power play stabs, senior stopper Danielle Ciarletta bailed the Friars’ out of a full-scale spillage catastrophe.
Furthermore, head coach Bob Deraney noted, the quartet of skaters before Ciarletta made a practice of sending BU into frequent regrouping mode with more resolve than he’s seen all season.
In his book, that made the point saved in the eventual regulation tie/shootout loss a point well-earned.
“We are a much better team than we were two weeks ago,” Deraney acknowledged. “We’ve improved tremendously in a lot of different areas, both in wanting to win and in our commitment to winning.
“There’s definitely a new commitment to winning. You can see it in how determined we are to get the puck out of (our) zone. There were times when we cleared the puck over them rather than try to shoot it around them. There’s that little extra effort that basically tells (the opposition) ‘Hey, no matter what you do, you’re not gonna keep this one in.’”
And as an ultimate result, after both parties collected their guaranteed point, a mutual treat was shared between the Friars, Terriers, and the packet of onlookers at Walter Brown Arena. Each lineup went two-for-three in the “regulation shootout” round, PC’s Laura Veharanta and Ashley Cottrell each lighting up the Terriers’ Allyse Wilcox and Melissa Anderson and Tara Watchorn –who made the difference two nights prior in a shootout tipover of New Hampshire- converted once more against Ciarletta.
The fetters of tension only tightened as Kate Bacon stepped up for the first sudden-death whirl, ultimately missing and opening a wound for Erin Seman to finalize the BU triumph.
Most certainly, purists will deprecate the alleged peewee treatment each team got –i.e. everyone skates off with something beyond moral achievement for their efforts. And there will likely continue to be the protect-the-integrity-of-the-game outcry.
So be it, Deraney intimated.
“I thought there was some unbelievable skill showcased on both ends,” he said. “BU scored two, we scored two. Veharanta and Cottrell’s moves (for our goals) were absolutely outstanding and at the same time the kids who scored for BU –Melissa Anderson and Tara Watchorn- were outstanding. We had a chance to showcase the skill of our game, and I think that’s really important.
“When (the spectators) walked away from there, I’m sure they were talking about our two players and their two players. Not just the game that went on but, ‘Wow! Did you see those moves?’
“(If) you get people to start talking about our game outside the game, you’ll have a chance to bring in bigger crowds. So we’re willing to sacrifice that to grow the game.”
Warming Pehkonen’s seat
Senior forward Mari Pehkonen, whose goal-assist value pack Saturday splashed a personal four-game scoring drought, promptly parted with the Friars after the game to link up with Team Finland in Lake Placid –site of this week’s Four Nations Cup.
The Finnish Flare’s temporary absence is nothing new, although it may be interesting this year to see newcomer Laura Veharanta adjust to not collaborating with Pehkonen on the top forward line for the first time since her September arrival. Together, Veharanta and Pehkonen have assisted one another’s goals four times and run substantially ahead of their teammates in the way of shots (36 and 32 respectively).
Come what may, Deraney asserted, “I’ve always said that when you recruit world-class players, you have to be willing to let them go. At the same time, you have to be prepared to play without them. And our program is bigger than one player.
“Obviously, not having (Pehkonen) in the lineup will be a bit more challenging, but we like challenges.”
The Finns commence round robin action against almighty Canada at 1 this afternoon.
Quick Feeds: Sophomore forward Jean O’Neill sat out Saturday’s action due to a mild illness. But with her return, Deraney foresees a first-time vacated IR ward. “We’re looking forward to, hopefully, having everyone healthy for the first time all year,” he said…Just as the Friars did earlier in the season, BU ran a depth chart consisting of 11 forwards and 7 defenders Saturday…Sophomore defender Leigh Riley is currently the Friars’ solitary plus-minus leader with a +3 rating.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Boston University 4, Women's Hockey 3 (SO): Friars Spill Lead, Take Single Regulation Point

Report based on CSTV Gametracker
BOSTON- Hankering an opportunity to reiterate the old adage concerning a third whirl-around, the Friars, this time, all but had their Saturday afternoon beans ready for feasting at Walter Brown Arena yesterday.
PC, staring down its third Boston-based adversary in as many Saturday afternoons, had cultivated a 3-2 lead over Boston University courtesy Mari Pehkonen early in the third period. They proceeded to dramatically shield that lead by means of letting the Terriers heave 18 shots at goaltender Danielle Ciarletta in the final 15 minutes, and letting Ciarletta handle them all.
That is, until there were eleven ticks to spare, with BU on the power play and their stopper Allyse Wilcox (19 saves) perched on the bench in favor of a six-pack attack. In a scarring manner fraternally reminiscent of her 1-0 letdown at Northeastern two weeks back, Ciarletta (35 saves) defaulted on the last regulation shot she faced, letting the Terriers’ top gun Gina Kearns knot things up, 3-3, and force a bonus round.
And in a fashion reaching the same spiritual effect of last week’s 3-1 drawback versus Boston College, the Friars –albeit with a single point to take home for their regulation tie efforts- ultimately faltered in a shootout, 3-2, Erin Seman whipping home the decider for BU in the fourth round.
En route to the half-full finish, Ciarletta was a no-duh cornerstone in neutralizing the Terriers’ breakout firestorm and retaining the parity where it mattered. Heading into the closing frame, in which they logged a 19-4 romp in the shooting gallery, Boston had a slimmer 18-17 edge in that category.
An air hockey-paced first period featured 10 saves apiece for the contesting goaltenders, four registered stabs by the Friars Finnish flare –grinding all-out through her last collegiate contest before she took immediate leave to join the Suomi Skating Sorority at the Four Nations Cup- three others by Kearns, and a balanced, generous offering of power plays.
The medium-sized bushels of shots were all but a direct attribute to the three penalties assessed to each side. Providence leveled seven of its first eleven shots over power plays, two of which were slightly cut into by infractions of their own. The Terriers similarly charged up five attempts in their first two 5-on-4 segments.
Ciarletta stood out in the latter stages of the period upon withstanding a four-shot salvo while Erin Normore served a two-minute sentence for body-checking.
Less than five minutes later, with BU’s Amanda Shaw off for hooking, the Friars converted on their lone full-length power play of the period with precisely one minute to work with till intermission. Point patrollers Normore and Brittany Simpson collaborated in setting up freshman Kate Bacon.
Even with Pehkonen flagged for tripping 23 seconds after the icebreaker, and a resultant savory 83 seconds worth of fresh-sheet power play time to commence the middle frame, the BU brigade suddenly went numb for a stretch, affording no shots on Ciarletta while PC logged six blocks.
But once Katy Beach took her second interference call of the day at 12:51, the Terriers finally popped open their long-bottled carbonation and vented two goals in a matter of 58 to usurp the lead. Unlike the taxing tempest from about the same point in the first period, Ciarletta could only withstand three out of four consecutive stabs, culminating in Jillian Kirchner batting home Sarah Russell’s rebound at 13:43.
On the following play, first-line winger Lauren Cherewyk inserted a feed from Anderson to spark a 2-1 Boston edge.
But it took less than another three minutes for a reverse reversal. Jenelle Kohanchuk went off for hooking at 16:18, granting the Friars their fifth power play of the night. The numerical advantage was enhanced to 5-on-3 when Russell was flagged for high sticking at 17:16, and the Terriers’ scoreboard advantage disintegrated at 17:40 via radiant rookie Laura Veharanta, who now has nine points in as many career games at the Divine Campus.
Veharanta and Pehkonen –the Providence half of four two-point recitals yesterday, opposite Anderson and Kearns- traded roles to renew the lead at 5:32 of the third. But the Friars would be allotted an infinitesimal two more hacks –one later in the third and one in the bite-sized overtime period- at depositing the full two-point package.
The rest of the bittersweet ride was underlined by five individual penalties, including two 5-on-3 instances and one uninterrupted, 5:13 string of shorthanded labor.
PC, which clicked on two of six total power plays, saw its PK frequency bloat from six to 11 in the stretch drive. And twelve of BU’s last 18 whacks at Ciarletta were on one power play or another.
All those shots were in vain –until the cusp of the buzzer.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press