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Monday, November 5, 2007

Hockey Log

Yet-to-thaw Northeastern entertains women’s home opener

Up to this point, the Northeastern University women’s team has appeared victimized by the classic scotch-tape-on-the-skate-blades prank. Coming in to be part of Tuesday’s PC home opener, the Huskies early on have had a way of keeping an interesting pace with the opposition, yet currently boast an intercollegiate transcript of 0-6-1. The only point they have to subsist on as of yet came through a 2-2 draw with North Dakota precisely a month ago.

Before last Saturday’s 4-0 steamrolling at the hands of RPI, the Huskies had only once faltered by more than two goals, and it may be granted that the final goal in that 5-2 Niagara triumph October 21 was an empty netter.

Still, the early record is a relative reflection of the general pothole this generation of Huskies has lived through. The best year any female icers still wearing red and black in the Hub has enjoyed was an 8-24-1 showing in 2005-06. Those eight wins equate the total of what the infinitesimally numbered senior class scooped up in their freshman and junior years.

Among those seniors, altogether two in total, Nikki Petrich has been a by-and-far standout in their attempts to snap out of this rut, having already rung up six goals so far and a two-point outpour in their only conference game to date, a 5-3 drop to early season eye-catcher UConn. Petrich’s classmate, goaltender Sarah Belliveau, has appeared but twice so far this year.

The rest of the notoriety has, incidentally, gone mostly to a couple of rookies, with Leah Sulmya taking on the remainder of the crease patrolling workload while Kristi Kehoe has equated linemate Petrich’s point total with a split package of four goals and four helpers.

Further down the chart, sophomore blueliner Lindsay Berman has locked away 2-4-6 scoring totals while three additional players, reigning rookie sensation Chelsey Jones and Petrich/Kehoe centerpiece Cassie Sperry included, have 4 points to speak of. Aside from that, the Huskies, similar to the Friars, have yet to break out the full depths of their lineup.

Miscellany: PC transfer Stacey Scott, now a junior netminder with the Huskies, took a hunky eleven-game share amongst last year’s Northeastern trio, but has yet to break in her new pads for the 2007-08 campaign…Despite Tuesday being just their second Hockey East game out of eight total, Northeastern will lay off the conference action until a November 16 excursion to Boston College. In the meantime, they will keep themselves occupied with a two-game visit from Wayne State while Friars finally settle in at home and look forward to a Vermont engagement Saturday at 2…All three games in the Friars upcoming homestand can be monitored via CSTV Gametracker, and the network will reportedly provide live online video of the Vermont game.

Anything To Win

Scribe’s note: This week’s edition of The Hockey News (press date: November 6) included an NHL’s teams column themed “Anything To Win.” Just for fun, and to provide work for a little more ink, here now is the PC program’s version of that report:

Changing of masks enlightens both teams

Sports buffs around here who are finally resting their minds from seven months of Red Sox mania should know all too well what Providence College goalies went through in the wee days of the season.

Men’s skipper Tim Army and women’s counterpart Bob Deraney naturally gave seniority the benefit of the doubt, starting senior Tyler Sims and junior Danielle Ciarletta respectively four games in succession. But much like Sox pitchers in various blotches of the past summer, the two cage custodians would either toil to the bone while receiving insufficient offensive compensation or be entertained by their associates with a nice goalfest only to feel the subsequent, fatal wrath of the opposition.

As a consequence, one of the few bright spots to the men’s 0-4 and women’s 0-2-2 breakouts was a couple of three star bestowments for the ones in big pads.

All in all, that was far from calling for full-out panic mode, but both Army and Deraney know better than to build precarious suspense. And coincidentally, in their fifth outings, they each give their overcooked starters a breather and give someone else a bit of a look.

It was an all-win decision. Junior Chris Mannix backstopped the Friars to a sound 3-1 home win over UMass-Amherst Oct. 26 and followed up with a dynamic, point-sparing effort in an epic 3-3 tie the next night against the Minutemen.

Meanwhile, the women’s team stopped the bleeding at the tail end of their prolonged road stretch when the offense eased freshman Jen Smith into her first start-to-finish appearance via a three-goal first period outburst. Afterwards, Smith pulled out just enough strings to hold off host Boston College towards a 3-2 triumph.

And these head-turning performances were not lost on the Hockey East offices. Mannix wound up earning co-defensive player of the week honors while Smith was queen rookie for a week. Early as it still is, though, the Friars oft-unpredictable goaltending carousel will likely remain so.

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