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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Women's Hockey 4, Boston University 3

Beach party

Friars prevail in seesaw epic

A couple of trivial database elements suggested ill karma for the Friars as they went into the final frame in a 2-2 knot with Boston University. Those elements, namely, were a 0-4-1 transcript when knotted after 40 minutes and a curious aversion to after dark action at home (they were 0-3 in home night games going into Thursday).

But already with a morsel of momentum tilted their way after Heimliching a 2-0 Terrier lead in the middle frame, Providence got the final say towards a 4-3 triumph.

Less than eight minutes after the Terriers had forged their own elevating knot, abolishing a 3-2 Friar lead with 13:18 to spare in regulation, PC’s starting line of Katy Beach, Sarah Feldman, and Danielle Tangredi stamped a swift end-to-end rush.

Beach, turned loose by Feldman’s breakout pass from behind her own cage, toured the puck down the right alley into the depths of the attacking zone. She released it up front for her linemates to take their own whack only to reassume possession and bat home what is now her team-leading third game-winner this season.

With that, for the moment, the Friars (7-3-2) are technically even with Connecticut for second place in Hockey East and have guaranteed that the fourth-place Terriers (5-6-1) will stay completely out of their hair even after they have finished their follow-up meeting in the Hub on Saturday.

To start Thursday night, though, BU was a mere three notches behind the Friars and opportunistically strengthened the Vermont vinegar that their entangled hosts were trying to rinse away.

In a span of 52 seconds about the halfway point of the first period –by which point neither team had registered a sustained attack- the Terriers sculpted a 2-0 lead on a pair of unmistakable rebound conversions.

At 9:56, defender Amanda Shaw ventured down the far boards and tossed out a slippery snapper that a sprawled Danielle Ciarletta (22 saves) left free for backdoor patroller Holly Lorms to roof home on a backhander.

On the subsequent play, Kelly Karnan’s attempt in the midst of a maniacal crease crowd skipped out to the far circle top, where Sarah Appleton stamped it and nimbly drilled it through.

But for an ensuing 15-minute stretch of action, the Friars outshot the Terriers, 8-1, and began to thaw out a 3:58 of the middle frame. Mari Pehkonen thwarted a clearing attempt at the BU blueline, strolled counterclockwise through the far circle, and shipped a centering feed to linemate Jean O’Neill, who one-timed it to the left of goaltender Melissa Haber (28 saves).

Five minutes thereafter, Providence hot hand Kathleen Smith pulled her club even when she scooped up defensive partner Colleen Martin’s handoff, shuffled to the far outer hash marks, and zipped a low rider into the opposite post.

The Friars picked it right back up to commence the third period, piling on four shots within the first 89 ticks, at which point the fast-progressing unit of Pehkonen, O’Neill, and Alyse Ruff converted for the 3-2 edge. Ruff scooped up Pehkonen’s failed bid, wrapped it around the near post, and dropped it on Haber’s porch for O’Neill to morph into her third tally in the last two games –a nimble wrister past Haber’s trapper.

But the reawakened Terriers, who had mustered next to nothing on their first of two power plays early in the second period, retorted on their other advantage at 6:42. Pehkonen let Appleton’s center point shot bank off her boot only to see it land in the clutch of forward Lauren Cherewyk. Cherewyk thrust a cross-ice feed to Jillian Kirchner for the equalizer.

Moments later, Providence issued three vain stabs on its penultimate power play (game aggregate: 0/6, 10 shots), but only needed to wait fifty seconds after Shaw’s jailbreak before Beach’s decisive connection.

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