BOSTON- Trivial trends, elements and stats are nonetheless realities and must be dealt with accordingly –if only indirectly.
The Friars had just that sort of task glowering before them yesterday at the bottom of a home-and-home series with Boston University. It was a twofold finer-points wager to scrape out their first back-to-back pair of wins in nearly two months and cultivate their first full two-point package at Walter Brown Arena in two seasons and four drop-ins.
“They’re all independent,” said head coach Bob Deraney, who some two-plus decades ago kilned more than a couple of triumphs himself in this building as one of Professor of Puck Jack Parker’s Pupils. “What happened in the past has no relevance on what’s going to happen tomorrow. It comes down to us just getting back to playing high-caliber hockey and again being willing to pay the price.”
Deraney had spoken those words in the aftermath of an epic 2-0 triumph back home on Saturday. The contesting elements, he figured, needed only to coalesce and churn in the Walter Brown melting pot roughly the same way they had at Schneider Arena.
They did, and then some. For the second time in as many days, Providence tipped the scale –albeit through a come-from-behind 2-1 decision- on the strength of a go-ahead goal by senior forward Katy Beach. Beach’s power play strike, inserted with 6:11 gone in the middle frame, would go down as the eighth game-clincher of her career and third in as many PC knockouts of the Terriers.
Yet again, though, before and after the Beach factor, the favorable upshot hardly went down with leisurely facility. The host Terriers, a pinch extra rabid for this immediate rematch, skated up an early tempest around adamant goaltender Genevieve Lacasse (23 saves). Within the first eight minutes, they spiked up a 6-1 upper hand in the shooting gallery, three coming on a power play while Erin Normore did time for an interference citation issued with 5:51 gone.
Right at the time of Normore’s jailbreak, attacker Erin Seman slugged home a fourth stab for an unofficial PP conversion and an unmistakable 1-0 lead.
But in duplicating Saturday on yet another front, the Friars would come to abolish a former 8-2 deficit on the shot clock. When they pulled even under that heading in the final minute before intermission, they did the same under the one roof of dictatorial data.
With 41 seconds to work with –and less than three minutes removed from spilling their second power play of the day- PC drew the 1-1 knot courtesy Jean O’Neill, who polished a rebound dropped off by Stephanie Morris.
For the better part of the latter 40 minutes, the puck continued to alternate zones in football-paced intervals. A holding penalty to Alyse Ruff at 1:49 of the second, in part, let BU reopen its shooting edge to 11-8. But upon her release, the fresh-out-the-box Ruff lassoed the biscuit and proceeded to pelt BU stopper Melissa Haber (20 saves), ultimately precipitating the deciding buzz.
The Friars had restored full strength for merely 46 seconds when they went a player up themselves, the Terriers’ top point-getter Melissa Anderson having been flagged for body-checking at 4:35.
Fruitless in all of its preceding 10 calls to action, and having produced only three goals in its last 24 opportunities, the power play brigade perked back up for a fleeting, one-shot conversion. Beach, already with four strikes when grinding on the player advantage, nailed home a feed from her fellow A-captain Normore, sprouting the fresh, 2-1 lead.
From there, the suddenly bolstered Friars sculpted a 15-11 shooting edge, only to let BU pull back even in that category, 15-15, before the second buzzer. The only difference: Lacasse, unlike Haber, uncompromisingly stood her ground through the whole swirl.
Haber swallowed another four unanswered shots during an early PK in the third. And beginning at 11:14 with a tripping call to the Friars’ Mari Pehkonen, the BU crease custodian was able to loosen her hunching stature and watch as her mates charged up eight of the last nine registered bids of the game.
But even after Amber Yung went off for hooking with 1:21 to spare –an unspeakably ominous reminder of the win here that wasn’t quite back in November- PC filtered the onslaught to a reasonably digestible load for Lacasse, who hauled in BU co-captain Gina Kearns’ last-ditch swing just on the cusp of the final horn to put a stamp on the weekend sweep.
Al Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press