Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Providence College Women's Hockey's Final Player Reports

Kate Bacon, forward- A lesser recognized member of the depth chart’s top six, Bacon insidiously beefed up her scoring resume, finishing with an 8-4-12 transcript and three firsthand strikes against almighty New Hampshire and second only to classmate Laura Veharanta with 111 shots on net.

Katy Beach, forward- Immediately after Beach nabbed her 16th point on the year for a career high at the end of January, enticing hints of a booming exit were cruelly curtailed. She would whiff on her next 18 registered shots and was held utterly scoreless in her final month as a Friar.

Danielle Ciarletta, goal- Though confined to the bench by Genevieve Lacasse’s season-long hot streak, Ciarletta had to have done something right if she put in nine appearances for a career total of 56, enough to surpass Amy Quinlan for fourth all-time in the Friars’ goalie guild. And she only needed three years to do that.

Ashley Cottrell, forward- The most frequent first-line centerpiece for the majority of the schedule, Cottrell has demonstrated a growing comfort with every responsibility that comes with that. Her playmaking propensity hardly fizzled in the second half (she finished the year with 16 assists, second best on the team), she stamped an altogether assuring +9 rate on the year, and her winning percentage at the face-off dot exponentially improved on a nearly nightly basis.

Lauren Covell, forward- The rising sophomore is still evolving after a scoreless, 24-game freshman campaign.

Jackie Duncan, forward- Duncan will surely be itching for a smoother personal road next season after a handful of injuries cut her back to merely 22 games played.

Jennifer Friedman, defense- The tenacious, towering newbie fed well off of captain Brittany Simpson on the No. 1 D-Unit for the duration of the second half. In hindsight, her curious January scoring spurt (six points in seven games) may have been a little fluky, but her proficiency in the depths of the Friars’ zone is hardly in question.

Abby Gauthier, forward- Her first Friar campaign as a whole did not steadily balance with the hype, but the ex-St. Mary’s of Lynn scoring beacon chipped in a worthwhile six points –including two goals versus UNH in the stretch drive- to up her transcript to 3-7-10.

Christie Jensen, defense- Her season briefly disrupted by a head injury sustained versus Connecticut on January 31, the rookie blueliner recovered quicker than one would have expected and proceeded to finish with a +5 rating in 32 games played.

Genevieve Lacasse, goal- After two tattered, terminated starts at Cornell and Dartmouth in early January, Lacasse swiftly restored her rigidity in the cage en route to the league’s rookie and goaltending crowns. The natural laws of the game combined with her near-Sara-Decosta-like data (.933 save percentage, 1.94 GAA, six shutouts) point to her as the nucleus of a long-yearned-after PC resurgence.

Colleen Martin, defense- The final plus/minus leader among all PC skaters (+10) also retained an admirably clean nose with merely 14 penalty minutes in 33 ventures. Going on her senior year, Martin figures to be the prime candidate for next year’s captaincy.

Pam McDevitt, forward- Pitted amongst up to four other candidates for the final three game night forward positions, McDevitt ultimately earned the right to suit up in each of the last 12 outings after missing a sparse three of the first 24.

Steph Morris, forward- Like McDevitt –her eventually established linemate- the senior centerpiece had nailed her nightly roster spot by early January and cultivated a game clincher versus Connecticut on January 31.

Erin Normore, fwd/def- Permanently placed up front upon Jensen’s return, Normore sealed her celestial career with a genuine, productive fervor, posting 4-4-8 totals in the final 10 games. Her overall transcript boasted a career high nine goals and 26 points, coupled with a .122 shooting efficiency rate. She tied top gun Laura Veharanta with 15 power play points, thus factoring into nearly half of the team’s 31 total conversions.

Jean O’Neill, forward- Having restored her health, O’Neill linked up with Beach and Gauthier on a stable grind line. Although she still has yet to replenish her former productivity rate, which will indubitably be her top priority as a junior next fall.

Mari Pehkonen, forward- Not unlike Normore, Pehkonen’s passion accelerated in proportion to her collegiate sand timer. She unleashed 35 shots on net in her last eight games for a season total of 106 in 30 games and enhanced her scoring log from 4-3-7 at the half to 11-6-17 at the curtain.

Arianna Rigano, forward- Still acclimating to the upgrade in tempo from Division-III, Rigano saw action in 26 games, pitched in a sparse four points, and was one of the odd women out when the time came to cement the active forward lines on the cusp of the playoffs. Look for her to brandish an extra coat of self-assurance, hunger, and maturity as a senior next season.

Leigh Riley, defense- Finally a constant in the lineup after a year-and-a-half’s worth of waiting, Riley made her case to stick around with a trusty +6 rating on the season, sprinkled three assists over the last eight games, and went penalty-free in the last seven.

Alyse Ruff, forward- Once known strictly for a bloodhound’s nose for the corners and a knack for polishing off scoring plays, Ruff has rapidly broadened her horizons in recent months. She perfectly doubled her point totals (10) from the holiday break to 20 –with eight of those in the form of assists- and is also a newly established penalty killer with an assertive way of clearing the zone.

Brittany Simpson, defense- Of all the constants in PC’s lineup, their captain was one of the least penalized, ultimately visiting the box a mere five times in all 36 games. Additionally, Simpson charged up a career-best 12 assists on the year, eight of them on the power play. And if only not for one abysmal Senior Night falter versus Boston College –wherein she endured a minus-4 rating- she would have easily finished in the black under that heading.

Jen Smith, goal- Smith saw all of six minutes and 59 seconds worth of relief duty in a 7-3 slip at Dartmouth on January 13, facing zilch in the way of shots on net. With Ciarletta’s graduation, she should not expect such an undemanding workload next season. She figures to put in at least six or seven lengthier appearances behind the incredibly stable –though still human- Lacasse.

Laura Veharanta, forward- The radiant rookie’s stats from the first four months may have gone to her head in the stretch drive, amounting to a six game point drought in the thick of February. But assuming she learns from that, Veharanta (team-best 16 goals, 31 points, and 140 shots on goal) can only evolve into a stronger scoring asset for the next three seasons.

Amber Yung, defense- Her Normore-like behavior beyond the opposing circle tops has all but dissolved. Instead, Yung devoted her sophomore campaign to strict defensive duties and was a standout shot-blocker in the climax of the playoff run.

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press