In both of last weekend’s preseason friendlies against McGill University, no PC women’s defender mustered more than two shots on goal, save for senior Amber Yung. She leveled three at the likes of Taylor Salisbury on Friday and tested Andrea Weckham five times on Saturday.
And in Saturday’s come-from-behind 6-4 triumph, Yung’s puckslinging may have been the most clutch facet in the Friars’ kit. With his team ahead, 3-2, at the 4:49 mark of the second period, only 119 seconds after Ashley Cottrell had sawed a 3-1 difference, Martlets head coach Peter Smith decided to utilize his timeout.
So much for halting whatever shift in momentum Smith must have detected. Within seven seconds of the post-timeout face-off, Yung lined up along the far-center point, absorbed a pass from partner Maggie Pendleton, and nailed a bar-down equalizer.
One period later, with Providence on its fifth power play and a barren 0-for-4 on the advantage, Yung set up shop along the far circle-top and her slapper cleared a well-placed screen with 8:23 to spare, granting the Friars a 5-4 lead and herself the eventual game-winner. It was her first deciding strike in a collegiate game, exhibition or otherwise.
Could there be more of this to come? A greater improvement on the five goals she supplied last year, which buried an arid sophomore season?
“Just whatever helps my team win, I’m gonna do,” said Yung, who during another shift on Saturday was spotted going out of her way to grind for the puck behind the McGill cage a la Erin Normore.
“I don’t really care about my points, as long as we win.”
On the home front, where Yung is naturally expected to lead, PC held fort Saturday in part due to a staggering 17-0 advantage in the third period shooting gallery. Playing before two unripe goalies in Christina England and Nina Riley, the defenders grated McGill’s ammo to a fairly digestible 33 shots within the weekend’s first five periods. The only trouble worth noting was when England authorized two goals on four shots and gave way to Riley at 13:34 of Saturday’s opening frame.
And only in Saturday’s second period were the Marlets allotted more than 10 shots (11). In the other five stanzas, they took no more than eight.
Was there added motivation to make this a painless practice quiz for Genevieve Lacasse’s reinforcement tag team? Did the defensive brigade gain enough comfort being backed by the newbies?
“It goes both ways,” said Yung. “We helped out our goalie and the goalie saved our butts a couple of times too, so I think it was a good effort by both parties.”
Cohen back, O’Neill still to come
Sophomore forward Jess Cohen, out of commission all last week with the remnants of an offseason injury, was back in uniform for yesterday’s practice. Meanwhile her former linemate, senior Jean O’Neill, was still confined to the sidelines due to the same mild ailment that had her withdrawing from Saturday’s game during the second intermission. That puts her at least one day behind her original timetable for a rapid return.
Head coach Bob Deraney is still holding out hope that both players will be ready to give his team a quorum of 12 active strikers come Friday’s regular season opener at Robert Morris.
Tangled with poll Cats
The Friars tied age-old rival New Hampshire with 18 points apiece for No. 10 in yesterday’s uscho.com preseason poll. Boston University leads all Hockey East institutions with a No. 6 ranking (86 points) while Boston College ranks ninth in the nation with 32 points
Of the 11 non-WHEA teams featured in the preseason rankings, only two are included on PC’s schedule, but both are coming quick. Clarkson, ruled No. 7 with 51 pollster points, comes to Schneider Arena on Sunday, October 10, one day after a visit from St. Lawrence, who received an honorable mention with two points.
Quick feeds: Lacasse returned to campus yesterday after flying back from the five-day Hockey Canada National Team Evaluation camp in Calgary. She figures to return to her normal routine without delay… USA Today will release its preseason national poll today…Schneider Arena will host one home game for Boston’s new CWHL team, featuring PC alumnae Katy Beach, Cherie Hendrickson, Brittany Simpson, and Karen Thatcher. The still-yet-to-be-named Hub franchise –which commences its schedule against Burlington at the end of October- will host Montreal at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 28, five-and-a-half hours before the PC women battle Union.
Al Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press