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Monday, November 26, 2007

Hockey Log

PC Women looking true to form again

They've got to admit, it's getting better.

A little better, since they’ve been home, where they are to, essentially, slow down and hang about for the remainder of the year 2007.

The widespread critically presupposed humble beginnings that defined the Friars' petite, home-game-free October appears to have been effectively razed and reformed by the calendar Zamboni. Looking ahead to a comparatively relaxing December slate, PC withholds a .500 transcript through five Hockey East games and is riding its first winning streak via last weekend's decisive drubbings of Brown and Robert Morris, which nimbly doubled their overall stash in the W column (4-6-2 record).

The Friars have accordingly settled in to their second consecutive five-day block of game preparation (and second since they commenced their game schedule) before they, albeit temporarily, resume their conference slate with a two-game visit from Maine. That will serve as the middle chunk of a six-game homestand, which will subsequently close out next week when Yale and Harvard drop in.

Naturally, the cursorily viewed statistics have replicated the morphing mood around the women’s front of Schneider Arena. Saturday’s 5-2 Mayor’s Cup conquest and the 7-1 pinning of the Colonials were exponentially innovative margins of victory, arguably enough to recompense the back-to-back shutout ruins from St. Lawrence and Connecticut that magnified the Friars’ initial struggles.

But then there was the alleviating blend of a smooth tune-up week and the still rampant yearning for this collegiately small-market club to unveil its depth. With that, Providence kilned two afternoons of umpteen sugar rushes in the offensive zone, sometimes whacking three or four successive rebounds on a single play.

Such a routine tempest had been ostensibly churning the previous weekend at Ohio State, but the insidious Buckeyes, utterly eclipsed by their authoritative conference rivals in Minnesota and Wisconsin, restricted the Friars to a goal-per-game towards slapping them with a pair of chin-knockers.

Returning to a brightly lit home rink, PC surpassed the 40-shot plateau for the first two times since their opening day 2-2 draw at Maine, with sixteen out of eighteen skaters taking at least one stab at Robert Morris stoppers Brianne McLaughlin and/or her third period successor Daneca Butterfield.

Behind all that, Friar goaltender Danielle Ciarletta, previously forced to sway at the pace of a rod hockey imitation and occasionally requiring a night off, got comparatively regal treatment, facing a mere 15 Colonial shots, only three in the third period.

Although, discipline-wise, the Friars have not yet weaned themselves to more consistently licit play, the penalty kill has admitted but three goals in their last five contests, one of which allotted Robert Morris a transitory 1-0 lead five minutes into the opening frame.

Conversely, the power play thawed out enough for back-to-back multi-goal games and a weekend connectivity percentage of .444. Over five opportunities in the Brown contest, the assertive PC attackers dispensed a head-spinning 19 shots at the head-standing netminder Nicole Stock.

How newly swift was PC in its Sunday encore? Less than ten minutes after the Colonials wrested the upper hand, even leading the shooting gallery 4-2 for a moment, tireless senior defender Kathleen Smith, the club’s leading gunslinger, kindled an enriching bang-bang-bang movement with her first of two goals on the game, inserting a knotting extra-man conversion at 14:19.

Within the nineteenth minute of play, Cherie Hendrickson’s first of four points had given the Friars and ultimately permanent lead, Ciarletta had denied a break by Colonial Ali Proodian, and then watched defender Brittany Simpson tour the disc full-length and set up Danielle Tangredi for a 3-1 edge.

By the closing buzzer, Smith was barely alone at the top of a no-single-standout scoring chart with 9 points. After sole runner-up Hendrickson, who whooshed to 8 on the year, fifteen Friars stand in the 1-7 range over twelve games.

Quick Feeds: Freshman defender Amber Yung inserted her first collegiate goal at 3:50 of the second period, then took precisely three minutes to have a hand –opposite Hendrickson- in on Kelli Doolin’s conversion. Yung’s evident prototype, Erin Normore, charged up her team-leading seventh assist on power play blueline associate Simpson’s strike midway through the third.

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