Dented Friars seek swift redemption
To close out their weekend venture to Vermont, which had started with a painstaking 3-2 Friday triumph, the PC women sopped up a statistical hitch not unlike that which nipped their male counterparts two weeks previous in Lowell.
Within four minutes of at least extracting three of four allotted points from the plebeian, though noticeably go-getting Catamounts, the Friars relinquished a 2-1 decision with 3:09 remaining in Saturday night’s third period, forcing them to settle for the split and only their second loss out of eight games this January.
Even with a pair of much more sparkling slates discipline-wise (PC only took three penalties per game). Even with the newfangled line of Mari Pehkonen with freshmen phenoms Jean O’Neill and Alyse Ruff cracking out of its chrysalis. Even with freshman goaltender Jennifer Smith getting a near-spa treatment of a fourth career start Saturday with only 12 shots faced versus the 31 that the Friars whisked at Vermont’s Kristen Olychuk -11 of those split amongst the aforementioned forward unit.
All that, and in the end, while the Catamounts finally hatched the goose-egg in their Hockey East win column, not to mention smashed a losing rut (0-18-1) that had plagued them since the Red Sox trailed 3-games-to-2 in the ALCS, Providence lost an edge on its blades.
Through the Saturday shortcoming, the Friars missed an opportunity to pull even with the still-searing Connecticut Huskies for second place in the conference. And, as of Monday, they were docked all of their votes in the USCHO poll.
There is little time for head-scratching and self-kicking back at Schneider, though. The Friars resume play on Thursday night by hosting Part I of a home-and-home with Boston University, only eleven days after they kicked a few ice chips on the resurgent Terriers, 3-1, on January 20.
In that interim, BU (5-5-1) has charged up a 1-0-1 log in a home pair against Maine, inching itself into fourth place and an earshot three points behind Providence (6-3-2). In a patent pre facto stakes summary, another four enticing points will be up for grabs when the two clash on campus Thursday and again at Walter Brown Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Neutral Buoyancies: The immediate pasts between the Friars and Terriers –both against one another and in general- are hyping another arm-wrestling, defensive matchup.
In five games this month, BU has amassed a 2-2-1 transcript and a reflective goal count of 11 for, 11 against. Sunday’s 4-3 tip-over of the Black Bears was the only one of those games where they mustered more than three tallies. The Friars have similarly gone 2-1-1 since resuming their Hockey East slate, outscoring the opposition by an unfussy 8-6 aggregate in those four contests.
In their only get-together so far, PC’s 36 registered shots were the most that Terrier stopper Allyse Wilcox has dealt with in this recent stretch. Boston, meanwhile, took 27 stabs at Danielle Ciarletta, only one less than she saw out of New Hampshire the previous day though a good ten more than she got out of the Catamounts last Friday.
Plus signs: On the ice for all four PC goals (two of which she assisted on) and only one UVM strike over the weekend, Erin Normore leads all Friar skaters with a plus-15 rating. Ciarletta continues to lead the whole team in that category, boasting an imposing plus-17, a figure matched by Boston College hot hand Deborah Spillane and exceeded only by three UConn Huskies and six UNH Wildcats.
Meanwhile, Normore’s fellow defender Colleen Martin augmented her rating to a plus-11, a count that BU’s rookie sensation Jillian Kirchner leads her team with.
Quick Feeds: With a helper on her classmate O’Neill’s conversion, freshman defender Amber Yung splashed her own dry spell that had spaced over ten games and improved her scoring log to 1-8-9…Yet another rookie, Leigh Riley, nabbed her first point through an assist on Sarah Feldman on Friday…First-line partners Feldman and Danielle Tangredi each saw three-game point streaks halted on Saturday. Nonetheless Tangredi now has a revolutionary 3-2-5 transcript over eight games with her new unit, easily bettering her 3 point aggregate before term exams…Senior Kathleen Smith uncharacteristically posted one shot during Friday’s win in Burlington, and it didn’t arrive until there were 17 seconds to spare in the third period.