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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Holy Cross 6, Men's Hockey 4

Friars upgrade output, but can’t top Crusaders

Down on his iced knees, the cage dislodged, and his head tilted downward, Providence defenseman Mark Fayne was doing all that was logically imaginable to acknowledge his final fate and that of his associates.

Right at the final buzzer of the Friars’ hosting of Holy Cross, Fayne lost a footrace with Peter Lorinser, who poked the puck into the vacated cage to solidify a 6-4 Crusader triumph in an earthquake of a season opening game at Schneider Arena.

In most every way, the forces of nature appeared present and at their stormiest, especially by contrast to PC’s first three road tilts, in which a fair number of allotted slots throughout the scoresheet had been left free of ink. This time around, an offense that previously did not seem to have its net-whacking code nearly as well memorized as their dorm room codes exploded for four second period goals.

But once again, there was a flipside for the still winless Friars (0-3-1-0 overall). Holy Cross, despite thrice allowing PC to pull a knot during that middle frame, was able to keep their pace after sculpting a 2-0 lead within the first five minutes of action thanks to a checking from behind major to Ben Farrer.

Before Farrer was whistled, the Friars’ incentive to unhesitatingly get on task was there, whether or not they took the time to read their invitation when Crusader Marty Dams went off for cross-checking at the 0:38 mark.

A predictable representation of the bound up PC gun rack, their power play, suddenly lashed out four shots on their first opportunity and constantly thrust their bodies on the penalty killers in their clearing attempts. But seconds after Dams’ release, Farrer was caught going too far in his effort to keep the Friar attack flowing.

Promptly turning to the back page of their special teams leaflet, the Friars were pucky dory until Trevor Ludwig joined Farrer in the cell at 4:07. Within another fifteen ticks, Holy Cross broke the ice as Ryan Driscoll, perched at the back door, snuck home left pointman Rob Forschner’s rebound.

And, with the five-minute all-you-can-score buffet still valid, Driscoll struck again thirty-two seconds later, this time squirting out of a right corner scrum, catching up to the fugitive disc, and tipping it through a kneeling netminder Tyler Sims.

The elements generally neutralized both ways from that point until intermission, but it didn’t accurately presage the subsequent forty minutes. PC started to break loose in the shooting gallery, which was 10-apeice through the opening frame, and the top power play unit finally proved to rinse off a little rust when given the chance to start the second.

At 2:53, Eric Baier, holding the puck at the far outer hash marks, forwarded it to fellow blueliner Matt Taiormina on the center point. Taimormina’s straightaway low rider had a brush with Kyle Laughlin’s stick before it went in for the beaconing junior’s second goal in as many games.

It was but two and a half more minutes before the same unit pulled the Friars even. Baier was in the same position as before to accept Greg Collins’ feed and promptly wrist it into the upper right shelf.

That prodded the Crusaders well enough for them to restore their edge on the game’s first even strength conversion at 7:34. After Sims booted away his initial shot, Forschner stayed his course, vacuumed the rebound whilst looping around the walls and handed things over to Brodie Sheahan. Sheahan likewise shipped the puck to Dewey Thomson back in the slot and he nailed it to the left of Sims.

The Friars starting line countered that on another man advantage four minutes later. John Mori was behind the cage to collect his team’s umpteenth wide attempt on the night and nudged it in front to Laughlin by the near post. Laughlin ultimately set up Jon Rheault, who also shanked on a grand three shorthanded breaks, to tip home another equalizer.

But in less than another minute, the equally persistent Crusaders caught Sims on a smooth rush, Lorisner carrying a feed from Matt Werry in from the neutral zone and zipping it top shelf from the far alley.

Long before that point, it was apparent that the toughest task for anyone between the boards was to settle a play. That didn’t stop Holy Cross from trying to lay down a breakout within the final five minutes, nor did it stop PC’s Pierce Norton from pouncing when it broke down. Norton couldn’t finish his spontaneous one-on-one encounter with a jammed goaltender Ian Dams, but a trailing Laughlin was there to roof it, sending things into the closing frame four-all.

The roles that allowed PC to hit the board to start the second period reversed at the same point of the third to give the Crusaders the ultimate game winner. Captain Matt Burke lateralled the puck to right point patroller Mark Znutas, whose rocket was tipped in by Dale Reinhardt.

Sims faced but two more shots afterward, but his skaters could not chip the Crusaders’ defense shield despite near endless possession in the last seventeen minutes.

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