Friars fold in third
Melancholy tediousness in his team’s habits reminiscent of the pre-2004 Red Sox aroused season-high terseness in Friars’ head coach Bob Deraney’s post-game address yesterday.
Gripping a brittle 1-0 lead for the better part of the first period and the full scope of the second, Providence went into roly-poly mode in the climax, allowing the Boston College Eagles to whip home three unanswered strikes and cement a stodgy 3-1 decision at Schneider Arena.
“We played forty good minutes, and then in the third period, BC wanted it more than we did,” said Deraney flatly. “They were down by a goal, and they just came out, they won more one-on-one battles, and they made the big plays when they had to, and we didn’t.”
Period by period, the output from the Friars stick rack either lessened or failed to escalate. They ran up a substantial bushel of 26 registered shots over the first two periods -13 apiece for each frame- and drew first blood at the 12:07 mark of the opening period through a jumpy shorthanded rush.
With Mari Pehkonen newly jailed for interference at 11:56, penalty killer Katy Beach chased down Eagle Kelli Stack’s fugitive face-off win and throttled with it down the near alley to set up a face-to-face confrontation with netminder Molly Schaus (34 saves). Seducing the distinguished veteran stopper to embrace the far post, Beach left a rebound square in the crease for associate forward Kate Bacon to swoop in and tuck home.
From there, though, an expectable goalies’ dual between Schaus and Genevieve Lacasse (27 saves) crossed the surface. The Eagles whiffed on their first 20 stabs at Lacasse and egregiously spilled a savory four power plays over their two periods of silence.
But on the flip side, the itching host club blew five extra-body invitations, four of them full length and most of them with no more than two shots to speak of. When BC’s Meghan Fardelmann took her second citation of the day in the second minute of the closing frame, the Friars’ strike force took a slug of Rockstar and leveled four shots at Schaus before Fardelmann’s release.
Nothing doing, though.
“I don’t’ think we tested her enough to really have her make a difference,” mused Deraney in reference to Schaus’ routine dolphin show. “We had some opportunities to add on (to our lead) and we missed the net. We had some good, clear cut chances and we just gotta add on. We didn’t. We allowed them to stick around, and when you do that to a good team, you’re living dangerously.”
Rolling along in the depths of the Boston zone at the conclusion of Fardelmann’s two-minute sentence, PC eventually turned the puck over and braced itself for a breakout. None other than the fresh-out-the-box Fardelmann absorbed Mary Restuccia’s moving feed, snaked it through the three zones, and snuck in her long-awaited first goal of the season –and the Eagles’ long-awaited equalizer, which may have been at 16:44 of the second if not for a washout- through a backhander homeward bound within the near post.
Barely three minutes later, one of the first protracted patches of time that saw no tests on Schaus whatsoever, Andrea Green slugged the eventual winner from the far circle top to the right of Lacasse and enticed a pile-on from her colleagues in her kneeling, fist-pumping celebration.
Suddenly, the momentum had turned a 180, slapping the Friars into an all-too-familiar pothole. For the fifth time in seven outings –the two exceptions being definitive triumphs- Providence found itself anarchically cramming for an equalizer.
Within the less-than-thirteen-minute stretch drive, the Friars drew yet another power play a quick 47 after Green’s tally, but cultivated nothing in the way of shots. They bounced one attempt off Schaus with under five minutes to spare and another PP in hand, only to cut it off via Arianna Rigano’s interference infraction at the 15:48 mark. Their collective skates dulled by another degree when Chrisie Jensen was flagged at 16:19, ultimately granting the Eagles a 27-second 5-on-3 edge.
And in the final minute, with a 5-on-4 set-up dictated by PC’s vacant cage and coincidental roughing minors to Beach and Stephanie Olchowski, BC’s Tracy Johnson, who had scooped up a helper on Green’s decider, whipped home the insurance point.
Scrap that gravy goal from the equation, and the Friars more or less have a full package of single-goal falters to their credit. Expectably, the “falter” half of that stat is the prevailing term in a dream-big locker room weary of slights and clips to the chin.
“It’s not good enough,” said Deraney, unable to pick out or cook up any more solace in these repetitive results. “It’s a hollow statement to (accept moral victories). We can’t rest our hat on that. We’re past that point now. We have to get the job done.”
Al Daniel can be reached at email@example.com