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Monday, October 22, 2007

Hockey Log

Friar ice couple still not getting any (wins)

“Whole lotta hockey left to be played,” they often pronounce in a situation like this, one notable example (or maybe not so much) being Sean Linden, the impressively serene main character of that Slap Shot sequel of about five years ago. Or else, something like that.

All of the 2007-08 stat sheets and record books would give an approving nod to such cool-as-ice posture. Still, in the young hours of the campaign, the rink-going breed of Friar Fanatics has yet to have a right to any feeling other than that of wrench and itch. After all, however little damage it really causes, no one is expected to feel good about stepping in on the wrong skate.

Perhaps the buffs can at least be soothed by the fact that they have only been able to stroll to Schneider Arena once for a formal game thus far. Furthermore, inter-conference action, which at the end of the day is always a tad less important than intra-conference contests, is still the bulk of everyone’s fill thus far.

Nevertheless, both of the Providence College hockey teams have curtained two weeks of action winless, the women (0-1-2) subsisting on two points earned via ties, the men’s 0-3-1-0 transcript moistened merely by an overtime point courtesy of Friday’s 3-2 falter to Northeastern.

And in the aftermath of Saturday, the way all current events are swaying, the Friar faithful was practically looking at the anti-Boston sports scene. In their first home impression, the Friar men did extract more offense and spent a tempestuous second period topping their entire three-goal output of their first three outings with a whopping four power play conversions. But unable to hurdle over the opportune Holy Cross Crusaders in the eventual 6-4 losing effort, they left their fans still hanging on their wait for a straight-up, smoothly paved sixty minute stretch.

The promised offense was visible for the first time in the middle frame, and when lined up with the Crusaders’ jumpy play, penalties were not the sharpest issue, at least not aggregately. An uncharacteristic discipline outburst, i.e. a first period major PC infraction spawned two Holy Cross goals and seemingly tilted the final momentum their way.

Meanwhile, in rustic New York, the women’s team endured one of its most discouraging upshots in recent memory, an 8-0 drubbing by the always counted in St. Lawrence. Superficially, that shows a lot less to build upon compared to what the men mustered in their second period and the Lady Friars’ two preceding ties with Maine and Colgate.

Then again, the Saints are a verified powerhouse in the women’s game and have no direct influence on the Hockey East affairs, which the Friars will soon be able to fixate their eyes on after they again come back to campus to retool.

To reiterate Mr. Linden, there is quite plainly a whole lot of hockey still to come.

The bottom line is, though, the Fanatics, as the stadium tune by CIV goes, can’t wait one minute more for the guys to face the Minutemen of Amherst Friday; and likewise the girls to visit another potent east coast rival, UConn, on Thursday, thus renewing the opportunity to convincingly break out.

Primordial Parity

What applies to the Friars applies to the rest of their conference in that everyone has merely broken in their skates; and both Maine and Merrimack have yet to play a Hockey East game on the men’s side of the conference while the same holds true for half the women’s side. Nonetheless, an unusual number of ties have already found their way to the conference-play column. The two UMass’s drew a 2-2 wash in Amherst Friday while Vermont warded off Boston College well enough for a 3-3 decision at Gutterson Fieldhouse. Both UNH teams started off their Hockey East slate with a win over Boston University.

Losing the lids

On a quirky two occasions Saturday, a Holy Cross hit rendered a Friar player helmetless. With 6:42 gone in the opening frame, defender Matt Celin pinned his opposing point watchman Greg Collins in a routine scrum along the far boards at the PC blueline. Later, at almost the same point of the second period, Mark Fayne was strolling through the right corner of the Friars end trying to initiate a breakout when a 6-1, 200 lb. Dewey Thomson zeroed in for the check.

Sporty sweaters

True to form with the bulk of the hockey world, the Friars presented their new-look RBK design home jerseys. The new scheme is roughly similar to what the Bruins have going with prominent Friar gray shoulder caps and a bold strip of gray-and-black trim across the midsection.

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