Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dartmouth 7, Women's Hockey 3

Report based on Live Stats
Hanover, N.H.- Pitting their own packages of stealth and anti-stealth against those of a frightfully truculent Dartmouth Big Green team, the Friars were given an oblique warning that their reactivity was running low in the waning minutes of last night’s second period at Thompson Arena.

Forty-eight seconds removed from Laura Veharanta’s pulling their third knot of the evening, PC slipped a pace behind yet again when Dartmouth freshman Kelly Foley leveled her team back up, 4-3. And this time, there would be no easy shot for amends; hardly any time to envision the prospect of it.

In just another 24 ticks, the Green’s Reagan Fischer granted her club the nightlong elusive multi-point upper hand to lay back out for the final twenty minutes. From there, they paced themselves to a ruggedly executed 7-3 final, the most abrasive voodoo doll treatment –perhaps the only performance fit for such a label- on freshman goaltender Genevieve Lacasse’s otherwise pristine young resume.

Lacasse (25 saves), would be forked out of her cage with 6:59 to spare upon admitting the seventh goal. Sophomore Jen Smith would fill in for her first sliver of action all season and face a melancholy calm after her team was clouted by a 53-minute tempest of red light blindness, endless Dartmouth-inflicted bruises, and spilled power plays.

One law of puck physics immortalized by every coach’s stay-out-of-the-box homily did not materialize against the Green last night. They simply continued to pile on the insurance goals and the penalty minutes (nine total minors) while the Friars recorded a mere three of each.

Upon planting a speedy 1-0 lead courtesy Sarah Parsons and an ominously tone-setting 5-1 upper hand on the shot board within the first three minutes of action, Dartmouth opted for a daring approach to nurture their primordial command. Just seven seconds after Parsons lit up Lacasse, Jenna Cunningham endured a two-minute citation for body-checking, the first of (four) unanswered penalties the Green would accept.

After initially fending off the Friars on their first two kills –which had overlapped towards a 5-on-3 set-up for 39 seconds- the Green felt a fleeting burn over defender Julia Bronson’s term in the box for elbowing. After striker Jennifer Friedman saw her initial bid blocked, she left things up to Alyse Ruff, who slugged home the equalizer on PC’s third shot in as many player-up offerings.

Dartmouth’s psychological slide and disciplinary fumbles carried precariously on to the cusp of the buzzer. A checking penalty to their top gun, Amanda Trunzo, allotted the Friars 1:48 worth of carry-over power play time to commence the second period. But once they cleared that kill unscathed, the Green got down to drawing their own opportunities, bolstering their ability to keep a consistent stride ahead of Providence.

Veharanta paid her club’s first trip to the bin within 35 seconds of Trunzo’s jailbreak. Dartmouth promptly pounced to renew their lead to 2-1 via Foley at the 3:20 mark.

The persistent Friars nibbled back right at 6:02, again circumventing their host’s New Jersey Devilishly defensive barrier and watching Erin Normore deposit their second equalizer behind stopper Carli Clemis (24 saves).

The same fundamental pattern reran in the latter half of the period, Trunzo inserting the Green’s second strike on as many power plays at 12:19 for the 3-2 advantage.

All the while, PC’s forward push was vexingly stuffed up on another two power plays, affording three stabs on one and a handful of wide/blocked attempts plus a shorthanded bid by Shannon Bowman on the other.

The Friars would knot the Green in the third period shooting gallery, 6-6, three of those shots distributed over two more full-length player-up segments. Another, granted at 10:07 on a hooking flag against Foley, was halted at 11:00 by a too-many-players infraction.

Providence would grudgingly settle for one power play conversion out of nine opportunities and 10 shots.

Meantime, connections by Maggie Kennedy (at 6:41) and Marley McMillan (13:01) solidified the 7-3 upshot and exiled the overcooked Lacasse.

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Women's Hockey Log: Ruff's Revival Not Enough

Hanover, N.H.- For her part, established first-liner Alyse Ruff has seemingly reheated her acetylene twig, putting forth a goal-assist value pack in last night’s excursion to Dartmouth for a total of five points in her team’s first four ventures of 2009.

Fatalistic Friar Fanatics ought to have taken at least momentary comfort in Ruff’s scoresheet prominence as she abolished Dartmouth’s initial 1-0 lead late in the first, then aided linemate Laura Veharanta in forging a 3-3 tie one period later. After all, a tangible contribution from Ruff had been growing to spell a guaranteed win/tie night for PC, which entered Thompson Arena at 8-0-1 under that circumstance and 3-8-1 when she is stifled.

But much like goaltender Genevieve Lacasse’s near-immaculate tear through the first half of the season, that intriguing string of success was gunned down by a Cyclopean Big Green strike force last night. Ruff’s multi-point night was overwhelmingly eclipsed by seven like performances saturating the opposing column of the scoresheet.

The rundown: two goals by Kelly Foley, a 1-2-3 punch via Maggie Kennedy, one point of each kind for Sarah Parsons and Amanda Trunzo, and two helpers courtesy Julia Bronson, Jenna Cunningham, and Sarah Toupal.

Save for Parsons and Toupal, each of those Dartmouth strikers also garnered at least one pair of penalty minutes. Their starting right winger Trunzo, in particular, landed a curiously timed unsportsmanlike conduct infraction within the final 4:39, at which point the eventual 7-3 final was already up.

Meantime, Ruff and Veharanta led all 36 active skaters on the night with five and six SOG respectively while Dartmouth’s laser-beamed defense restricted the rest of the Friars to two apiece or less. Dartmouth’s slightly more balanced attack was led by four shots off the tape of Cunningham, Kennedy, and Parsons.

Other extensionsAshley Cottrell, Ruff and Veharanta’s inseparable centerpiece, was hushed on merely one shot of her own, thus halting her six-game point streak. But the likes of Veharanta, Erin Normore (goal), Kate Bacon, Katy Beach, and Jennifer Friedman (assist each) all sprinkled a point onto their nightly log for the second straight game.

Additionally, project defender Christie Jensen etched her first collegiate point with credit for the first assist on Veharanta’s goal.

Second period storm
Each team discharged precisely half of their night’s total of shots (PC: 13 out of 26, Dartmouth: 16 of 32) during the second period, wherein the Green outscored the Friars, 4-2.

Quick Feeds: Last night was the sophomore Ruff’s fourth multi-point performance of the season and eighth of her career. She is also now tied for second on the team, opposite Beach and Mari Pehkonen, with four power play conversions, the same number she had last year…Bacon posted a +1 rate on the night, enhancing her cumulative mark to a +4…The Friars tied a season-low in paying a mere three minor trips to the penalty box. They originally set that standard in a 2-1 OT loss at Yale two weeks ago…Barring any spontaneous postseason encounters, Dartmouth goalie Carli Clemis has closed her all-time series with the Friars a perfect 3-0, pushing away 85 shots and authorizing four goals over that span. Forward Maggie Kennedy moves on having pelted PC with a goal and five assists…PC coach Bob Deraney left his game night depth chart exactly as it was last weekend, only starting the defensive pair of Friedman and Brittany Simpson rather than that of Amber Yung and Colleen Martin…With Jen Smith’s brief season debut, PC has given three different goaltenders at least a sliver of regulation game action in five of their first seven years in Hockey East.

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Women's Hockey Log: Friars Set Tone For 6-Team Playoff Push

The upshot from the young phases of the Women’s Hockey East season, together with yesterday afternoon’s lineup of action, had its middle pack of contenders ready for a potential seven weeks of rabid, random lottery ball bounces.

The Friars (5-2-1 in league play) entered their home tussle with New Hampshire (5-1-3) perched tightly in fifth place, but a mere two points behind the second place Wildcats. A collision across the western border between UConn and Boston University –co-recipients of third place as of yesterday morning- automatically barred Providence from pole-vaulting to the silver slot, but their 5-0 triumph knotted them with UNH and starved their rivals’ craving for an all-15-point knot for first with Boston College.

So now, with the Huskies’ 3-0 clipping of the Terriers, this morning’s revised standings have BC safely solitary at the throne. Their most proximate chasers are now from UConn, trailing by a single point. The Friars have lassoed themselves with the Wildcats to share third place, a position just as tight as they had previously occupied with fifth-place BU behind by a notch.

In other words, the points break down as follows: 15 for the Eagles, 14 for the Huskies, 13 apiece for the Friars and Wildcats, 12 for the Terriers.

Northeastern has yet to concede, as they stressed Thursday night through a 2-0 road blanking of BU, which improved them to 5-4-0 on the year versus conference cohabitants. The Hub Huskies and Friars both have the best of all the slim offerings of breathing room, each still with 12 dates to consume on their 21-game agenda.

For their part, PC still has their interleague finale at Dartmouth on Tuesday and a two-game home set with the plebeian Vermont program straight ahead. Following that, it is strictly fellow contenders. They will face all five of their fellow pennant racers in a home-and-home series over the final five weekends of the regular season.

Pehkonen’s persistence paysSenior forward Mari Pehkonen unleashed nine shots on net yesterday, eclipsing her cumulative output from her previous five appearances since she recovered from mononucleosis circa Thanksgiving. Her promising boundlessness effectively engaged her in an entertaining personal derby with New Hampshire’s Courtney Birchard, who charged up a supernatural 11 registered stabs on the day.

But while PC stopper Genevieve Lacasse never budged on anything heaved her way –by Birchard or any of her 13 active associates- Pehkonen snapped her string of scoring futility on her ninth shot, nailing a power play conversion with 6:00 remaining for a 4-0 Friar lead. Out of five connections on Pehkonen’s season, four have been bolstered by a 5-on-4 sequence.

Pehkonen would be one of 11 Friars credited with a point on the day.

More balanced load
First line staple Laura Veharanta nabbed two assists for the second time in three ventures and third of her last six. She has upped her team-leading totals to 13 goals and 23 points, but is making more regular secondhand appearances on the scoresheet. Eight of her last 12 points have been helpers. Similarly, linemate Alyse Ruff –normally a master finisher in key plays- paired up with Veharanta to assist on Brittany Simpson’s second period goal.

Quick Feeds: PC sealed its first win over a nationally ranked adversary after snuffing on each of its first four tries (0-3-1)…Yesterday was New Hampshire’s second-widest margin of defeat on the year, behind an 8-2 falter before the still-undefeated Wisconsin in mid-November…Freshmen defenders Jennifer Friedman and Christie Jensen played in separate tandems for the first time in 13 games. Friedman teamed up with Simpson, Jensen with sophomore Leigh Riley…Lacasse’s victorious 42-save performance statistically equated her first win over Colgate on Oct. 11, also the only other time this season where the Friars have won by a three-plus difference.

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press

Women's Hockey 5, New Hampshire 0: Friars' Futility With Wildcats Ends

Report based on Gametracker
This most up-to-date edition of the Providence College women’s hockey team has had a way of keenly clutching poised-to-pop firecrackers. They have been dangerously drama-maniacal.

Some game days, they have snatched a quick teaspoon of tangible, visible momentum, and then appeared to step back to let it take its preferred course. If not that, then they have let their ice slim to a high-wire state of matter before proceeding to salvage a close shave or take a nasty nick to their track record –not to mention, their spirits.

And ever since the middle of 2005, when UNH Blue settled in and sturdily became the new PC Black under the Hockey East championship banner, the Friars have had a way of repeatedly succumbing to the region’s incumbent sovereign entity. Their most recent history with the Wildcats: a winless stretch of 0-11-2 dating back to Jan. 30, 2005.

In one grand sweep of a massive accumulation of Zamboni snow, they purged all of those nagging tidbits yesterday, stamping an authoritative 5-0 victory –their broadest margin of triumph to date- at Schneider Arena.

And in eerie symbolism of their intent to reverse the WHEA’s two-way road all over again, new blood paved the way –goaltender Genevieve Lacasse charging up a 42-save shutout and four freshman skaters brushing the scoresheet over the team’s first three strikes. From there, they exploited New Hampshire’s notoriously short bench in drawing a late rash of penalties and sprinkling a few insurance goals.

The Wildcats’ excruciating deconstruction in the dusk of the third period smoothly sealed a day that began with their head-spinning use of Rockstar, which translated to a tempest that dislodged most everyone in their path but Lacasse.

Bolstered by a presto pair of Friar penalties –Katy Beach doing time for holding at 1:01 and Kate Bacon garnering a hooking citation at 2:48- the Wildcats rabidly ran up a 9-0 shot differential within the first five minutes of action. Owing in part to another Bacon infraction –cross-checking at 15:06- UNH cultivated another four power play stabs and owned the shooting gallery, 19-8, at intermission.

The early shooting imbalance aside, Lacasse was not mollified at nearly the same rate as the lapis lazuli –Kayley Herman- in the countering cage. Herman, who authorized all of two Providence strikes over four encounters in her Lacasse-like rookie campaign, squinted at 10:15 when her own PK brigade was serving its only shift of duty on the period.

Fifty-two seconds after top line centerpiece Kelly Paton sat down as penance for hooking, a pair of other Friar freshman collaborated for the pounce. Playmaker Ashley Cottrell set up point patroller Jennifer Friedman for her first collegiate goal and third point altogether.

The Friars made haste to enact a little more restraint on the unflagging UNH buzz and would ultimately take command of the shooting gallery in the tempestuous middle frame by a 16-12 difference. Lacasse kept making like herself –pushing away all of 12 registered stabs- while her mates shook off another penalty kill and dabbed another blemish on Herman’s transcript at 7:56 courtesy captain Brittany Simpson, allotting themselves a 2-0 upper hand through forty. It was their first multi-goal edge since they tipped over Connecticut here on Nov. 16.

New Hampshire had one radiant calling to pierce their way back into the game when PC’s Christie Jensen was flagged for body-checking at 4:16 of the third. Instead, after a three-shot, go-nowhere sugar rush, a flustered Jenn Wakefield used her heat gun to hack a Friar, zapping the power play at age 26 seconds.

Bacon augmented the lead to 3-0 at 9:16, and the Wildcats discipline –already the shabbiest in the league- continued to melt. With Wakefield boxed again and precisely six minutes to spare, Mari Pehkonen converted fellow Finn Veharanta and classmate Erin Normore’s set-up.

PC may have exercised its resuscitated power play a seventh time within the final two minutes, if not for Beach slugging home the finale amidst the delayed call. Instead, it settled for exorcising its most telling demon of the current collegiate generation.

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press