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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Women's Hockey 7, Mercyhurst 3

Mercy-less effort
Friar strike force outduels favored Lakers
Scribe's note: This report is based on CSTV's gametracker service

As if Saturday’s contest wasn’t already unfolding as a lump-sum reversal tale, Providence College grinder Pamela McDevitt squeezed in a personal dollop at 3:15 of the third period.

The sophomore center, who had moistened a season-long scoring drought last weekend at Niagara, inserted her first goal in 45 career games to give the Friars a startling 5-2 lead that ultimately morphed into a 7-3 triumph of almighty Mercyhurst.

If that side dish weren’t enough, PC had the additional hostile odds of playing without any in-person tutelage from head coach Bob Deraney. But energetic associate coach Meredith Roth watched as her resurgent skaters eclipsed the 4th-ranked Lakers incendiary strike force, charged up their third seven-goal outing of the season, and improve to 3-0 since ringing in 2008.

Goaltender Danielle Ciarletta –who in her previous clash with the Lakers just supple enough to authorize a 4-3 Mercyhurst win despite a 45-save dolphin show- put forth a similar 35-save performance, including all 11 stabs by the hottest-scoring Laker, Megan Agosta (2 assists).

Four Laker skaters –Agosta, Valerie Chouinard, Stephanie Jones, and Jesse Scanzano- were in the afterglow of Team Canada’s goal medal at the European Air Canada Cup, which they earned at the direct expense of Finnish Friar Mari Pehkonen. All four charged up at least one point and attacked with all the more rabidity after the score was out of hand, but crumpled under the likes of Kathleen Smith (2 goals, 2 assists), Jenna Keilch and Cherie Hendrickson (3 points apiece) and Rachel Crissy (2 assists).

A grand total of nine Friars inked themselves on Saturday’s scoresheet.

The expectable Mercyhurst salvo took no time to commence, slapping and stabbing the game’s first five registered shots at Ciarletta, though the home skaters would push down their borders well enough to slow the Lakers into series of whistles and authorize no more than two shots per play.

Shortly after the Friars had begun to thaw out opposing stopper Courtney Drennan at a similar, the replenished Mercyhurst attack hopped back into the picture for a nimble first strike. Ciarletta was a perfect 10 in terms of shots-saves –six of those shots split amongst the accomplished Canadian contingent- until 4:47 remained in the opening frame, when Chouinard and Scanzano set up Vicki Bendus to stamp an end-to-end trek.

But Providence –desperate to prove its national credibility in a fast-dwindling slate of formidable interleague competition- perked up on that and earned a 2-1 edge before intermission. Only 121 ticks after Bendus’ conversion, Smith blasted her club’s icebreaker by converting a depth-to-point shipment from the centerpeice Crissy.

Ciarletta clamped down another bid from Scanzano to set up PC’s own productive rush off the subsequent draw. Crissy and Hendrickson offered their linemate Keilch, who had surrendered the draw to Chouinard, immediate redemption in the form of a go-ahead tally with 1:02 to spare.

The game’s buzzing air hockey pace took full stride in the second. And when it was first provoked, so did the Lakers’ Cyclopean power play corps.

With Colleen Martin serving a two-minute interference sentence, Mercyhurst tossed out four man-advantage shots whilst also reversing two separate one-shot shorthanded rushes before Jones swatted the 2-2 equalizer at 5:05.

As was the case in the previous period, the Lakers subsisted on that swing for a stretch before the Friars renewed the late bang-bang outburst and sculpted a 4-2 edge in a matter of 1:46.

Precisely one minute after PC killed its second penalty –a delay of game minor to Pehkonen- Smith potted her second strike to replenish the lead at the 14:12 mark.

One shift later, the Friars’ runaway point-getter switched roles, collaborating with Hendrickson to help Keilch to her own double-tally game and a breath-pumping two-goal command at 15:58. In another eight seconds, Laker coach Michael Sisti swapped out Drennen (18 saves) for Laura Hosier –yet another recent Canadian gold medalist- making for the fourth time in three games that the Friars have effectively overcooked an opposing keeper.

Hosier was eight minutes and four shots faced into her day’s work when McDevitt struck and authorized a power play conversion –the Friars’ first since early December- via Danielle Tangredi at 5:40, also Smith’s fourth point of the game.

At 13:34, Agosta ended her busy yet routine puckslinging with a rebound shot that turned into Ashley Cockell’s much-too-late goal that cut the deficit to 6-3. But the Friars nimbly retorted once more at 15:16 when Hendrickson similarly buried the remnants of a Keilch shot.

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