Friars look to pick fallen pieces
Even before the officiating crew caught PC defenseman Thomas Wenskus with an illicit pocket prior to the start of Wednesday’s second half, the starving pit bulls of host Marist were making a frightful enough impression around the Friar net.
At the time of the first 15 minute whistle, a 1-0 PC lead aside, the winless Red Foxes had gained hints of momentum through three late shot attempts. Though they only registered five total attempts in the quarter, two reaching goalkeeper Robert Bryan’s porch, the Foxes kept Bryan perked by encouraging him to assume the cleaning chores on three ground balls.
And then, Wenskus’ violation, the first infraction penned on the day’s scoresheet, warranted a savory three-minute EMO segment to start the second quarter.
By the time they still had 21 seconds worth of man-up time to spare, Marist had sculpted a 3-1 lead, which with little doubt paced them to the eventual 7-6 final –Marist’s (1-4) first triumph in 13 overall tries and the Friars’ (5-1) first falter in MAAC competition this year.
All things considered, the Friars have done a commendable job of playing to the canon, never committing more than four fouls per game leading up to Wednesday’s venture.
Superficially, the drop-in at Marist was routinely moderate with a day’s total of three citations. And even when shorthanded, Providence came in with a respectable 23-for-27 PK rate.
But their first non-releasable equipment infraction of the year translated accordingly. The Foxes dumped five goals before the half, making for the worst single-quarter profusion PC has suffered since a 13-5 throttling at almighty Maryland March 3. Marist’s third strike –the finishing touch on that table-turning flurry- came amidst a two-man discrepancy with Friar Joe Watkins serving a one-minute slashing sentence.
Light as PC’s penalty bushel was on Wednesday, it contained a lumpy pair of personals to go with the stick violation. An illegal bodycheck on the part of Ben Johnston, occurring early in the suspenseful fourth quarter with Marist up 6-3, at best deferred the Friars’ rally effort. After a Bennett Murphy strike with 6:16 left, Bobby Labadini inserted a pair within the final five minutes, but that was as far as Providence went.
Wrinkled faces: Apart from the deep implications in Wenskus’ penalty, PC’s other flaw Wednesday was a one-sided difference in the way of face-offs. Marist middie Dan Needle singlehandedly raked away 13 of the game’s 16 draws versus the likes of Wenskus, Watkins, and Chris Hanlon.
Another look: Frank Cicero temporarily relieved Bryan in the third quarter Wednesday, standing in for 7:40 of playing time and scooping one ground ball. It was Bryan’s first incomplete game in four opportunities and Cicero’s first appearance since he closed a 12-4 win over Manhattan March 15.
Cicero, the second most frequently employed keeper this season, bulked his totals to four games and 104:45 played. Associates A.J. Battaglia and Jake Goodelman have mere slurps of java to speak of from the waning stages of a March 22 blowout of the Virginia Military Institute.
Ground Balls: The Friars get their last hack at an interleague win on Saturday when they visit Brown. The Bears, led by sizzling sophomore Thomas Muldoon and league-leading goaltender Jordan Burke, lay claim to a 9-2-0 transcript, good for #18 in the latest national coaches’ poll, and are 4-0 in Ivy League action…Muldoon has already equaled his freshman total with 23 goals…Brown thoroughly owns the all-time Divine City series, having won all 14 meetings. The current collegiate generation has only renewed this rivalry once: last season when Brown nabbed a 7-3 victory on the PC campus. Friar Devin McBride and Bears Muldoon and Kyle Hollingsworth all charged up two goals in that game…The Friars last stepped on Brown’s turf on April 23, 2003 when they submitted an 11-5 deficit.