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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hockey Log

Status quo working fine in net
Rookie stopper Lacasse continues to please

By order of preseason circumstances, Genevieve Lacasse should have been thrown the red shirt from a Hail Mary distance while she strolled down the hall to the dressing room for her first Friars practice last month.

After all, she was wedging her way into a goalie’s guild that was returning all three of its 2007-08 constituents –Danielle Ciarletta, Jen Smith, and Christina England- and couldn’t even make time to offer all three game action last season.

Then Lacasse dressed for the preseason exhibition, and then the regular season opener, opposite the senior Ciarletta and sophomore Smith. When she got the nod for Game 2 of last weekend’s Ohio State series, it was all but surely a sign that head coach Bob Deraney had a baseball pitchers-like rotation in mind.

But since she pushed away 32 Buckeye bids and authorized three goals on “not shots” but “scrums” in Deraney’s words, the crease has been all hers. And she only reinforced her singular claim to the cage over this weekend, kicking out 26 St. Lawrence shots Friday and 42 Colgate stabs for her first collegiate win yesterday.

It was easy to miss given the way the PC attack squad disassembled the Colgate tandem of Elayna Hamashuk and Lisa Plenderleith, but Lacasse backboned yesterday’s onslaught by withstanding one spurt after another –including five unanswered power play shots within the first minute of the third period. The period-by-period shot distribution read a fairly balanced 15-15-14, but save for two connections in the middle frame, Lacasse lugged the whole bushel unhurt.

Not to mention, she spiked her three-game save total to precisely 100. So now, by order of her initial track record, Lacasse looks like a lock to start this Saturday’s Hockey East opener at Northeastern.

“We’re a meritocracy and the best players play,” Deraney said. “She’s played very well and as long as people play well, they’re gonna play.

“I’m sure Danielle will get in there again and she’ll have the opportunity to do the same thing. But, I always say that not the best players, but those who are playing well are going to continue to play more.”

O’Neill easing back in
One of the quieter Friars in yesterday’s rubber blizzard was Jean O’Neill, returning from a pre-season injury and plugging the third-line center void left by an ailing Jackie Duncan. Her only tangible, statistical achievement was a 5-for-8 rate on the face-off. But, Deraney offered “For her first game –I put her in a lot of different situations- I thought she was up to what we asked her to do. I thought she did a pretty good job, considering she was out for our first four games.”

Among other things, O’Neill briefly reunited with former linemates Mari Pehkonen and Alyse Ruff on the first shift of a power play at 15:06 of the second period.

Quick Feeds: With her two-point performance yesterday, Ruff’s first goal of both her freshman and sophomore seasons have come at Colgate’s expense…Returning to the standard 12-forward, 6-defender depth chart, Deraney put down sophomore blueliner Leigh Riley as a healthy scratch yesterday…Under the no-nonsense officiating crew, which whistled each team on 13 occasions, yesterday’s tussle saw two sets of coincidental minors, three 5-on-3 sequences, two 4-on-3 moments, and three brief four-on-four stretches. Twenty out of thirty-six dressed skaters paid at least on visit to the box.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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