With 14:09 remaining in regulation yesterday, the PC women started pushing their luck with a 4-1 lead when freshman defender Maggie Pendleton was flagged for interference, already the team’s second infraction of the third period.
Suddenly, St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells summoned goaltender Maxie Weisz to the bench in favor of an eccentrically early six-pack attack. Up to that point, the Saints had whiffed on all but one out of 30 stabs at PC stopper Genevieve Lacasse and had missed on their last five power play shot attempts.
That trend continued for the moment as Kayla Sullivan shanked a bid wide while Friars’ defender Amber Yung blocked Lauren Brozowski’s shot. But down two skaters and unprepared for the surprise scenario, Providence could not clear its zone long enough until the Saints did it for them, ultimately forcing Weisz back into the net at 7:19 when an offside play brought the face-off back into the visitors’ territory.
Less than four minutes after her jailbreak at the 7:51 mark, Pendleton was in the bin again for hitting from behind. With that, the Saints forked Weisz out yet again, still with 8:20 work of clock time to start nibbling at a potentially brittle three-goal cushion.
But Lacasse denied three separate bids by Michelle Zimmerman, then one by Brooke Fernandez. And then, 65 minutes into the kill, the Friars’ Kate Bacon carried a feed from Alyse Ruff out of harm’s way and activated her turbine blades en route to an empty netter, augmenting the lead to 5-1 with only 7:15 left.
“I actually think that was a turning point in the game,” said head coach Bob Deraney. “I didn’t realize it right away but it just showed some desperation by St. Lawrence. I thought it was a very interesting tactic by them, and good teams will capitalize on that opportunity and we capitalized on it.
“We put the game out of reach at that point. We proved we’re a good team because they gave us an opening and we basically put the nail in the coffin there.”
Maybe not so coincidentally, the Saints, their hope-deprivation suddenly elevated, did not so much as attempt another shot in the 55 seconds of power play time they still had. After Pendleton was released, they would distribute two far-between shots, both repelled by Lacasse, before they pulled Weisz yet again and watched as Laura Veharanta golfed home an extra dagger all the way from her own end with 3:05 to spare.
“That 6-on-4 goal, that’s a character goal,” said Deraney. “They score there, they make it 4-2. Instead, we make it 5-1 and the game is over. Great teams find a way to exploit that opportunity and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
Al Daniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press