Scribe’s note: This week’s edition of The Hockey News (press date: November 27) included an NHL team’s column with a specific focus on “the biggest surprises of this early season” Just for fun, and to provide work for a little more ink, here now is the PC program’s version of that report:
Blue line meshing with red light
It has not been quite as visually flooring as the distinctive speed-skating dynamics of Bobby Orr, but upon curtaining November, both Providence College hockey teams have a designated defenseman atop their respective scoring columns.
As a –for the moment, silently- heartening consequence, the Friars arid depth charts are now moistening and smoothly sprouting more decisive wins –or less spiritually bombarding shortcomings.
For women’s senior A-captain Kathleen Smith, easily the team’s most active puckslinger, less was more in last Sunday’s revolutionary 7-1 overhaul of Robert Morris. Smith settled down her evidently routine eight or nine blasts per game down to five, but ironically, the whole club charged up a season-high aggregate of 48 while she inched her way to the top of the stats sheet with two goals.
This trend, aside from the eccentric numerical leadership, is really nothing new for Smith, whose now familiarly dexterous shots have been the mother of four goals and five assists this season. Her totals in her previous three PC campaigns read 13-41-54 over 102 career games. As she stands now, though, Smith is on pace to, rather facilely, hurdle her impressive sophomore transcript of 24 points and 99 shots over 35 games.
Such an offer by Smith, as well as the more superficial two-way tendencies of Erin Normore and Amber Yung, would not be refused by the Friars by any stretch. After all, Smith was eclipsed that year by the likes of Karen Thatcher and fellow blazing-stick bluelier Kristin Gigliotti, who made her tracks last spring after tapping in a team-leading 39 points.
Over on the men’s side of the barn, the afterglow of Matt Taormina’s five-point buffet in a boosting 6-2 win at Maine is taking its time subsiding.
It would take another week, and the concrete muscles of the New Hampshire backline, to officially compress the PC junior’s five-game firestorm that saw everything from dying second equalizers (a 3-3 draw at UMass) to helpers on must-have conversions (a 1-0 tipping of Maine, where Taormina set up his co-points leader Pierce Norton on the lone lamplighter of the evening).
But even without his ink on the scoresheet, Taormina has consistently been in on umpteen percolating plays, be it man advantage or even strength, and all from his customary point post.
Already, Taormina’s 11-point output in as many games played has equated his freshman transcript and bettered last year’s plebeian sophomore total of seven. His promising resurrection early this season has virtually launched side-by-side with his forward classmates Norton and Kyle Laughlin, who currently bears and even package of five goals and five assists, one point shy of his 2006-07 upshot.