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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Women's Hockey 2, Boston College 2

Friars tied down to playoffs
Requisite single point earned through sweaty toil with Eagles

Report based on CSTV's Gametracker Service

It used to be no harrowing obstacles could come between Providence College and the Women's Hockey East tournament. Any time was right for Friar Fanatics to pre-order their tickets to the select host campus for a potential two-day early March weekend.

It's different now. PC came into their curtaining series with Boston College guaranteed nothing if they did not scrape out at least one of four allotted points. And they still couldn't put down the Sharpie stamp until the last minute -specifically, the 65th minute of the finale at Schneider Arena Saturday afternoon.

Regardless, they got it. Bolstered by two strikes from senior Sarah Feldman and some late toe-standing goalkeeping by Danielle Ciarletta, the Friars drew an epic 2-2 knot to confirm a date with either tournament host Connecticut or almighty New Hampshire in next Saturday's semi-final.

In the name of preserving their perennial string of extra ice, the Friars needed to Heimlich at least a couple more goals out of BC sophomore sensation Molly Schaus. They followed up on Friday's vain salvo of 37 by running up a 41-27 shot discprepancy.

Schaus swallowed up 39 -a single game total surpassed this season only by bouts with national giants UNH, Dartmouth, Minnesota, and St. Lawrence. But with the resultant tie, the Eagles are the last ones praying for a glacial BU downfall as far their playoffs hopes are concerned.

Providence coach Bob Deraney -conductor of all the franchise's achievements over the ECAC/HEA transition period- didn't shy away from making a handful of line chart twists to poke a little more caffeine into his bench.

Among other things, he pulled recently rehabbed forward Rachel Crissy back to the first D-unit with Kathleen Smith and started Jenna Keilch, Cherie Hendrickson, and Kelli Doolin up front.
Uncannily enough, apart from the junior Ciarletta, that corps defines the remnants of the 2004-05 team that stretched their agenda all the way to the national quarter-finals.

And within 34 seconds, Ciarletta pushed away an immediate stab by Eagle blueliner Maggie Taverna and watched a fresh-legged Feldman answer Deraney's message. The ex-Eagle scorched the Friars first shot past Schaus for an early edge.

PC enjoyed a temporary extension to the early momentum snag, sculpting a 7-2 shooting advantage with their last three whacks on their first power play, which ended prematurely at 8:19 with a checking call on Feldman.

Feldman was joined by Smith at 8:56, granting Boston an 83-second 5-on-3 edge. The Eagles wasted no time whittling away at Ciarletta and drew a 1-1 knot one second before Smith's term expired as Johnson -herself two minutes removed from the bin- converted a feed from Erin Blood.

Expectable emotion from both benches began to expose its true carbonation as the opening frame wore on. So much so that by intermission, 18 PIMs had been issued, including two sets of coincidental minors within the final 3:31 of action.

Referee Bill Doiron's whistle gale was allowed to taper off for the better, altogether uneventful, chunk of the second period. But by 12:53, moments after a shotless power play for Providence, Hendrickson -who had mixed up a brief tempest with BC heat gun Kelli Stack late in the first- took another stand, this time taking Lindsay Wright to the box with her.

The immediate benefit of that scuffle didn't tilt the Friars' way, however. With 47 seconds to spare in the period, Stack -the hero of BC's 4-2 home triumph on Friday- clipped home a setup by Maggie Tarvena to help carry a 2-1 lead over to the final sheet.

All PC did in response was rabidly dispense the first 11 shots of the third period, the eighth of which would be Feldman's equalizer at 6:52.

But after Schaus fended off another flurry, the ambitious Eagles spiked to lead the shot clock, 8-3, for the remainder of regulation.

The bite-sized bonus round was the only frame where BC got more time around Ciarletta's cage (2-1 shot difference). After Ciarletta summoned a whistle upon clamping down a bid by Allie Thunstrom with two seconds to spare, the Eagles vainly tried extracting Schaus in favor of a sixth skater for the final draw.

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