Monday, February 21, 2011

Hockey Log: A Merry Ending For England

Christina England accepted her routine reserve position well ahead of yesterday’s Senior Day contest, but was nonetheless prepared to improvise in case Father Fortune were to bless her. Namely, were the game to be wrested safely out of reach, she would have the opportunity to close the game for the PC women ahead of minute-munching starter Genevieve Lacasse.

“I kind of heard a rumor that (head coach Bob Deraney) was going to do that,” she said. “Two days ago, Genevieve had kind of secretly, accidentally told me.”

Through two periods, the Friars were safeguarding a 2-0 lead, sculpted within the first five minutes of the opening frame, and leaning on Lacasse to ensure Vermont’s 19-17 lead in the shooting gallery went to waste.

But moments after Lacasse repelled four Catamount power play shots early in the third, PC’s offense erupted like it hadn’t done since the first month of the season. And by the time Corinne Buie had made it 4-0 with 13:29 to spare, assistant coach Karen Thatcher approached England to inform her that her call was imminent.

Four minutes, 20 seconds, three Lacasse saves, and one other Providence goal later, it happened. The Schneider Arena masses drove up the dinning roars as Lacasse joined the round of fist-bumps at the bench and passed on good wishes to England, whose only other relief appearance at home was a five-minute stint in the October 2009 Mayor’s Cup mayhem.

“I’m really happy for her,” said Deraney. “She epitomizes the class and the dignity and respect of our program. I’m glad we were able to do that and the way we did it. It was only fitting that all of our seniors got an opportunity to play in today’s game.”

In nine minutes and nine seconds of crease time yesterday, England would face but two shots, one of which found a home via Catamount power play attacker Celeste Doucet with 2:43 to go. But naturally, that couldn’t do anything to tarnish the Friars’ encouraging postseason prelude.

Nor did it affect what will likely be England’s final transcript in the PC crease. Over four total regular season appearances, she consumed 93 minutes and 57 seconds of play and repelled 28 of 32 shots faced.

Her lone start-to-finish outing and only decision was earlier this season when, in Lacasse’s absence to represent Canada at the MLP Cup, England backstopped a 2-1 road win over Maine Jan. 2.

“That’s cool,” she said, sporting a gratified grin. “A 1-0-0 record is a good way to go out. I don’t have any losses against me, so it’s fine with me.”

Al Daniel can be reached at

This article originally appeared in the Friartown Free Press