Monday, January 19, 2009

Women's Hockey Log: Top Scorer Veharanta Coiled By Catamounts

Laura Veharanta was in logical position to round out her facile trek to become the first Friar to crack triple digits under the SOG heading this past weekend. The proficient puckslinger entered with 98 registered stabs to go with her 14-11-25 production record over her first 22 games.

At a bare minimum, she would have had that 100th swing yesterday in the desperation drive of a vinegary 5-2 loss, if not for the red iron. With less than six minutes to spare in the third period, her only attempt of the game dinked off the pipe, ultimately collected by linemate Alyse Ruff, whose own bid was swallowed for a whistle by Vermont stopper Kristen Olychuck.

But for the length of this split series, both contesting defenses simply presented their adversaries with a laser-beamed defense shield. PC ran up a shallow 18-16 advantage in Saturday’s shooting gallery –ultimately good enough for a 3-0 win- and followed through with a still-lightweight 28-20 upper hand yesterday. Veharanta’s trusty centerpiece, Ashley Cottrell, led all Friars yesterday with four tests of Olychuck while another five –Kate Bacon, Jennifer Friedman, Erin Normore, Ruff, and Amber Yung- charged up three apiece.

PC transfer Brittany Nelson matched Cottrell’s four-pack yesterday –with a more fruitful upshot- but no one else surpassed three in either game on the weekend. And Veharanta, who was belatedly credited with an assist on Friedman’s first of two goals Saturday, was one of six skaters per side to be kept shotless yesterday.

Result: her solitary stab from Saturday merely ups her season total to 99.

Apart from Veharanta, who went without a point for only the seventh time in 24 games played, classmate Genevieve Lacasse’s track record felt similarly pace-changing ripples from the weekend’s mutual constriction. In each of all but one of her first 14 decisions, the freshman stopper had been forced to make at least 25 saves. She would deal with a mere 16 Saturday and 19 Sunday, Vermont’s penultimate shot being an empty net conversion, the fourth PC has allowed this season.

And, quirkily enough, Lacasse is also suspended on the precipice of a trivial personal milestone. Her cumulative save total yesterday shot up to exactly 499.

Returned favors(?)Nelson, who is splitting the Vermont “C” with fellow junior Chelsea Furlani and senior Sarah Smiddy, now has two goals and four assists in six encounters with her ex-teammates, matching the point total she had kindled in 32 games as a Friar freshman two seasons ago. Her game clincher and empty netter yesterday made for Nelson’s first two goals in 2008-09, coupled with a career high seven assists.

Quick Feeds: Winger Mari Pehkonen notched two assists for her third multi-point game on the year…All nine Friars taking at least one face-off yesterday had a winning percentage of .500 or better in the dot. As a whole, Providence claimed 41 of 64 draws…PC endured its first Sunday loss after having won each of its first four games on that day of the week…Junior Jackie Duncan was worked back into the lineup after missing the team’s previous three ventures. She and Arianna Rigano flanked Stephanie Morris on the fourth line…With her goal yesterday, Bacon ties linemate Katy Beach for second on the team with six total goals. Meanwhile, Normore’s assists knots her for second with Veharanta in that category (12 each)…The Friars lost for the fourth time when scoring first and the second time when leading after the first period. Failing to abolish Vermont’s 4-2 lead at intermission, they dropped to 0-5-1 when trailing after two…The remainder of the regular season consists of five home-and-home series, the Schneider half falling first in each case. Providence will host Boston University at 2 p.m. this Saturday, reconvening at Walter Brown Arena the following afternoon.

Al Daniel can be reached at