Saturday, October 3, 2009

Women's Hockey Log: Jess Cohen Bags Two Points, First Star In Debut

A tempestuous sweep check of most every database available could not locate another instance of what Jess Cohen attained for the Friars’ last night. For all of the marquee names branded into the books, no player to have come through PC in this waning decade, and possibly long before that, has ever nabbed a goal-assist value pack in her intercollegiate debut.
Ironically, the closest find was none other than current assistant coach Meredith Roth, Cohen’s fellow alumna of the almighty Shattuck-St. Mary’s Prep, who charged up a two-point outing in her second college game versus Findlay on October 29, 2000.
So last night, statistically speaking, Cohen set a peerlessly lofty bar for herself in PC’s 4-0 win over Maine. More to the point, though, she made an equally sound visual impression on her coach and associates.
She charged up two attempted shots in the first period, one which Maine goaltender Candace Currier turned away, the other going wide. She would launch another three in the second, the first homeward bound from the near face-off dot for the icebreaker and eventual game winner.
And in the third, though she would be finished thrusting pucks squarely at Currier’s property for the night, she would issue a magnetic cross-ice pass from the near outer hash marks of the Maine zone that linemate Arianna Rigano slugged home with 13:38 remaining.
Her final transcript for the evening: one goal, one helper, three SOG, a plus-2 rating, and the distinction of the game’s No. 1 star. Meanwhile, her linemates Rigano and Alyse Ruff led the team with four shots apiece on the night.
“Not surprised. She’s a very good player,” assessed head coach Bob Deraney. “She played in the shadow of players like Brianna Decker and Amanda Kessel (at Shattuck), but when you watch her, she kind of held the whole line together and did some fabulous things.
“So, I’m not surprised. I knew it was going to come at some point. Did I think it was going to come this fast? No, I didn’t, so I’m really happy for her. She deserved it tonight.”
O’Neill rolling along
Junior Jean O’Neill, a first-line winger and newly anointed A-captain, joined Cohen in the multi-point club last night, collaborating with fellow wing Laura Veharanta to assist on Ashley Cottrell’s second period goal and nailing her own just 3:15 later.
Her late conversion to curtain a decisive second period quickly abolished any residual disappointment from late in the first period, when she saw two consecutive tries scurry wide of the cage. It would also equal her first two-point performance since her freshman year, an unhesitating hint that she is back to her old, ideal form after a so-so, injury-riddled sophomore campaign.
“She really worked extremely hard over the summer to prepare for this season, and I think it’s the benefit of how hard she worked,” said Deraney. “And if anyone deserved to come out with thus type of effort in her first game of her junior year, it was her.”
Quick feeds: Sophomore defender Lauren Covell, who assisted on Cohen’s decider, led the team with a plus-3 rating on the night…Starting Maine defender Jessica Bond led both sides with six shots…The Friars’ recently released prospectus indicates that the Skating Strides charity will make its annual stop at Schneider Arena on January 23, when PC hosts Boston College…2009 program and school graduates Mari Pehkonen and Brittany Simpson both put in an appearance at last night’s game…Dating back to December of 2007, PC has now scored exactly four goals –no more and no less- in each of their last five meetings with Maine, all of them wins…Part II of this series faces off at 4:00 p.m. and will be viewable through online streaming on the Friars’ official website.
Al Daniel can be reached at
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press