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Monday, February 18, 2008

Hockey Log

A fab four points for PC Women

Going into the third period Sunday against Northeastern, there was at least mild cause for fret amongst Friar fans. The visiting Huskies flaunted a rabid flare not unlike what they had employed in their previous visit to campus in November when they turned their frustration from a 0-6-1 start on PC in the form of a rocky 5-4 knockout.

This time around, Northeastern was in a 1-7-1 spin lowlighted by a 4th place finish in the Beanpot and freshly augmented by a decisive 4-0 Providence win on Saturday. The Huskies proceeded to close in and shrivel a 3-1 PC lead to 3-3 after forty minutes.

But the Friars, who just a week earlier had survived a similar scare against Connecticut in a not-so-funny dramatized fashion, this time popped open one of their most carbonated racks of ammo this season. A five-goal outburst paced them to an 8-3 final –their best single-game output of the season- and augmented their winning streak to three games.

Not unlike their male counterparts, PC’s Skating Sorority has a habit of hefty shot counts in the works. But this sweep of the Huskies was the first time that they reaped substantial rewards, namely twelve connections on an aggregate 89 stabs at goaltender Leah Sulyma.

Even while still working around a depth chart cavity left by a still-healing Rachel Crissy, Providence saw a season-best nine out of seventeen skaters brush the scoresheet Saturday and ten on Sunday.

And minus the few Northeastern outbursts, Friar stopper Danielle Ciarletta, who rang up her fourth shutout of the season Saturday, had more manageable workloads –not so heavy that the force blew her over and not so light that she would be caught hibernating at the worst possible moment.

It didn’t hurt Ciarletta, either, that in the clutch stages of the game, her skaters were fending off the opposition by way of stick-on-puck, not vicious stick-on-body, defense.

The Friars took a comparatively slim four minor penalties per game while pouncing on two key Husky hiccups in Sunday’s eruption.

They did all that towards their first two-game sweep since victimizing Maine in early December and after two cringe-inducing failures to do the same to Vermont and Boston University.

And just for a dollop of Hershey’s syrup, PC –breathing plentifully at third in the conference with a 10-5-2 record- has amassed three votes in the latest national polls and is the top unranked team staring up at #10 Dartmouth.

Ruff getting more helpful: Freshman center Alyse Ruff indubitably reiterated her radiant goal-scoring establishment in Sunday’s third period eruption. But with an assist on Kathleen Smith’s strike, she has now penned herself on the scoresheet as a playmaker in three consecutive outings and four of her last six.

Previously, leading up to a 4-3 tip-over of Boston University on January 31, Ruff was on a pure diet of 10 goals in her first 24 games on the Divine Campus. Swinging into the New Year, her blade went numb for a stretch as she and classmate Jean O’Neill adjusted with new linemate Mari Pehkonen.

But ever since that BU bout, the unit has made a habit of spinning heads deep in the attacking zone and combined for 24 points over six games.

Additionally, Ruff’s hat trick pole-vaulted her into a tie with Smith for the team lead with 14 strikes this season.

Reflective Reach: One period after the traditional “Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer” check presentation, PC rolled out its carpet for another ceremony –this one pertaining to the coincidental Athletic Hall of Fame Weekend.

Seven players and two coaches –none other than fresh Hall honoree John Marchetti and timeless goaltending professor Bob Bellemore- of the 1992-93 ECAC champion squad were presented with commemorative plaques to mark the 15th anniversary of their four-year title reign.

Quick Feeds: In her 100th collegiate game Saturday, defender Erin Normore charged up a personal career outing by way of a playmaker hat trick. The seasoned two-way connoisseur now boasts a team-leading 15 helpers on the year and a career total of 60 points –three quarters of those in the form of effective set-ups…Sunday was the fifth time this season that the Friars have mustered a win after allowing the first goal…the Friars won 48 out of 70 face-offs Sunday…On a weekend that already featured the use of pink sticks and skate laces for “Skating Strides,” four Friars –Colleen Martin, Leigh Riley, Mari Pehkonen, and Brittany Simpson- went all out by swirling a strip of pink athletic tape around their shins.

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