Although none of his blueliners had contributed firsthand in the first seven games of his program’s offensive renaissance, PC women’s head coach Bob Deraney was quick to commend their combined 20 assists and additional intangible contributions.
“I think we’ve gotten tremendous shots from the point,” he said. “And that’s what we want to see. Our defenders have taken good shots, but they haven’t hit the net.”
That finally changed at 9:52 of the third period yesterday when Jen Friedman, the nation’s leading helper coming into the weekend with nine assists, slugged a high-flying puck from the near wall over the glove of Princeton goaltender Cassie Seguin. As it happened, fellow junior defender Lauren Covell was credited with her second assist on the play.
And there was a slight positional role reversal in Friedman’s goal. Deraney singled out one of his forwards, Jessie Vella, for promptly bolting the face-off circle to screen Seguin, all within the three seconds it took for the puck to drop and to ultimately find its way home.
No point for Vella there, but an integral part of the goal, Deraney said.
“That’s a terrific shot, and a lot of people won’t see it with Vella going to the net and basically taking away the goalie’s eyes. And it’s just a great shot by Friedman to walk into it and put it top shelf.”
Friedman’s goal was her fourth power play point of the year, already matching both her freshman and sophomore totals.
Cottrell steps back up
Junior center Ashley Cottrell, the team leader last season with 14 goals and 31 points, stamped her first multi-point game of the season with a goal-assist value pack yesterday. With that, she bumped her 2010-11 scoring transcript to 2-3-5 through eight games.
Although still a few strides behind six of her teammates and not yet producing at quite the pace most had expected, Cottrell takes comfort in the depth of her crew.
“I don’t think there was any pressure (on me),” she said. “Points don’t really matter to anyone on the team as long as we’re winning, working together as a group.”
Cottrell, the only player to attain a plus-2 rating yesterday, does have one jutting distinction. After posting the icebreaker in yesterday’s 4-0 win, she has two clinching strikes on the year, joining her with teammate Alyse Ruff and only 10 other NCAA skaters already with multiple game-winners.
Sophomore forward Nicole Anderson had not received a penalty prior to yesterday’s game. That changed promptly on her first shift when she had a chippy encounter with her fellow six-footer, Princeton defender Sasha Sherry, behind the Tigers’ net. Both were escorted to the sin bin for coincidental roughing minors at the 2:40 mark.
The injured Jean O’Neill and freelance forward Emily Groth are now PC’s last two skaters yet to do time for a single offense this season.
PK perfect again
In all four of their regular season home games, the Friars have gone 21-for-21 on the penalty kill. The Princeton power play came up empty yesterday on five opportunities, whiffing on eight total shots.
The Tigers’ promising moment came after PC’s Laura Veharanta was called for cross-checking at 3:52 of the second period. They mustered a cyclonic three stabs within 25 seconds, but by then their 5-on-4 time had ended prematurely with Paula Romanchuk going off for slashing.
On the other side of the special teams’ spectrum, the Friars piled on 17 power play shots –their most since heaving 20 at Robert Morris on October 1- over nine opportunities, converting twice.
Quick feeds: Ruff was retroactively credited with an assist on Abby Gauthier’s goal in Friday’s 3-2 loss to Rensselaer, keeping her tied with Friedman for a team-leading 10 points…Kate Bacon launched a team-high nine shots on goal yesterday and extended her point-scoring streak to seven games with an assist on Gauthier’s third period goal…PC and Princeton played an aggregate five minutes and 13 seconds of 4-on-4 action…As a team, the Friars own the best plus-minus rating in Hockey East at a collective plus-15…The defending Hockey East champion Boston University is next on PC’s agenda, slated to visit Schneider Arena this Friday. The Terriers tied a program-record six-game winning streak yesterday, warding off Clarkson at Walter Brown Arena, 3-2.
Al Daniel can be reached at email@example.com
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press