One they can Bear
Friars flaunt unprecedented briskness to steamroll Maine
The following is an account of Friday’s PC-Maine game based on CSTV’s online Gametracker system.
Call it the lingering aftermath of the dog bites (which has eerily haunted both Friar hockey teams these last couple of days via one Boston-produced strain or another) or, perhaps more precisely, BU scarlet fever.
Whatever it was, after a whole week of nursing their 5-2 home setback to the resurgent Terriers last Thursday, PC let its rabidness be made known from the moment of their release into action at Alfond Arena Friday night. Thrusting the games’ first eight shots on iron curtain netminder Ben Bishop, and converting on the sixth of those, the Friars comfortably paced themselves to a 6-2 pasting of the powerful host Maine.
The decisive triumph was PC’s second such result in Orono out of their last four tries. They last thumped the Black Bears in their antique barn January 20, 2006, by a 4-0 count.
There would be no scoring scurvy for Providence goaltender Tyler Sims, making his first appearance since the home opener falter to Holy Cross, to have to recompense this time. Nor did he undergo an overwhelming quantity of personally bad breaks. Instead, Black Bear freshman Andrew Sweetland, playing in his first Hockey East contest, charged up his first two career goals for the only productive output on his half of the rink.
In the meantime, the incomprehensibly beaming blade of Friars blueliner Matt Taormina elevated its magic. Already with three goals and four points through his first seven games, Taormina logged 2-3-5 totals Friday and was joined by fellow bruiser Cody Wild and forwards Nick Mazzolini and Pierce Norton in the evening’s multi-point club.
· Within 3:58 of the opening frame, PC had their ball rolling visibly out of the left corner as Norton converted a Mazzolini-Taormina setup for the icebreaker goal.
· Maine, which trailed the shooting gallery 10-1 by the time they were awarded the game’s first power play at 8:40, came up wholly empty on that two-minute go-around. And within thirteen seconds of his jailbreak, PC’s Greg Collins collaborated with Wild towards assisting Jon Rheault on PC’s second conversion, sustaining the senior captain’s point streak through six outings.
· The Black Bears did thaw out not long thereafter. In the thirteenth minute, Sweetland watched Sims tilt his initial bid before it was picked up by Sweetland’s linemates David de Kastrozza and Jeff Marshall, who returned it to the Bears’ lone star of the night to cut the lead, which was how it stood through intermission
· The shaken up Bishop temporarily returned to form in the first half of the middle frame, affording Sweetland enough time to knot the board at 2-2 at the 9:36 mark, twenty-three seconds before Norton was flagged for slashing. However, Taormina would reverse the fortunes in a flash, potting a shorthanded break to restore the Friar lead at 10:47.
· Mazzolini, whose second helper of the night was on Taormina’s eventual game-clincher, got the favor back from his partner on a PC power play 6:03 of the third period. Twenty-five ticks thereafter, when Robby Dee went off for slashing to set up yet another shorthanded predicament, Maine coach Tim Whitehead yanked Big Ben to give sophomore Dave Wilson his first look of the year (14 games played last season).
· Wilson’s season was precisely 45 seconds and one shot-faced old when Cody Wild leveled a Taormina feed home for a 5-2 Providence edge.
· With under five minutes remaining, Taormina blew the ice chips off his stick upon making it 6-2 before the Bears turned up their attack for three shots on a by far too little, too late power play. Sims had only dealt with one other multi-stab swarm all night and dealt with a slim night’s count of 17 towards his first triumph of the season.Miscellany: When the PC Women host Dartmouth on Sunday, both teams will be missing a prime offensive fixture of theirs. Friar Mari Pehknonen is again representing Finland in the Four Nations Cup and will actually be tangling with Dartmouth phenom Sarah Parsons (opposite Friar alumna Karen Thatcher) and Team USA Saturday. Back on campus, the Friars will bring in the Vermont Catamounts for a 2:00 square-off. It will be stop #1 on a Southern New England weekend roundtrip for the Catamounts. The game will be accessible through the options of their Gametracker, live video, or radio webcast.