Tenacious Friars throttle Raiders, break win column
The gale force tempest of Colgate Raider shots -44 total on the day- was arguably eclipsed by the tireless Category 5 whistle storm on the part of the officiating crew, which handed out a game total of 60 penalty minutes between the contesting teams.
But both of those ice-shattering elements were dwarfed by the Friars’ volcanic output on the scoresheet. Eight players put their pens to that sheet, six of them rolling up a multi-point performance en route to a 6-2 Providence triumph at Schneider Arena yesterday afternoon.
The lowdown: Katy Beach sprinkled two tallies; starting forwards Mari Pehkonen, Alyse Ruff, and Laura Veharanta each claimed a goal-assist value pack; and defenders Colleen Martin and Erin Normore each logged two helpers.
And so, individual and group catharsis was passed around the dressing room hours after a verbal stress ball made its way around the team lunch table.
“I told them today at our pre-game meal that after watching the tape (of previous games) we can get discouraged or we can persevere,” said head coach Bob Deraney. “And I told them a story from a book called The Traveler’s Gift. In this place where Gabriel is there are these cases of trophies, diplomas, cars –all these material things.
“The traveler asks Gabriel, ‘What are these things?’ These are the things that, right around the corner, where they decided to stop going after them. So what do we want to be? Do we want to be discouraged or do we want to persevere?”
So for a team tantalized by the specter of posting a big 0-4 mark on their season-opening homestand, Deraney decided to bring best-selling motivational scribe Andy Andrews into the equation. Go figure. This is the institution that put Development of Western Civilization on the map.
Come what may, the Friars made the upward U-turn they had pursued since last weekend.
“Today was just a product of how close we’ve been,” Deraney concluded. “We got the breaks and we deserved the breaks. We executed and we played really well.”
None other than Pehkonen got the victorious gush flowing. Pehkonen, who took an uncharacteristic three penalties in Friday’s falter to St. Lawrence, nimbly rekindled the productive game that has molded her rep on this campus, those she has visited, plus three continents.
Yesterday’s contest was but 39 seconds old when Pehkonen drew a power play by letting Colgate defender Kiira Dosdall’s give her a stick to the midsection in front of the cage. After sitting down for the first power play shift, Pehkonen returned with all of her fellow starters and helped captain Brittany Simpson set up a regrouping breakout.
Simpson forwarded the disc to Ruff, who nimbly offered Pehkonen a moving cross-ice feed through neutral ice. With it, Pehkonen let a low flying wrister through traffic and in to the left of Colgate goalie Elayna Hamashuk (8 saves).
Less than ten minutes later, in the waning seconds of a protracted 5-on-3 advantage, Pehkonen offered a parallel feed to Normore at the near point. A screening Veharanta tilted Normore’s subsequent blast top shelf for the 2-0 edge.
Ashley Cottrell more or less joined Pehkonen in the Friday redemption department on a shorthanded break at the 15:26 mark. Cottrell, who had whiffed on a third period penalty shot against SLU, bought herself a breakaway on her own money yesterday. Scooping the loose puck out of a scrum along the far walls of the neutral zone, she swooped in virtually uncontested and buried her first collegiate goal within the near post.
Well before the game hit the halfway mark, PC had equated its cumulative scoring output (four goals) of the previous three games. At 7:13 of the middle frame, Ruff, who about three minutes and one shift earlier was snuffed on a long-range slapper, was forking at Veharanta’s rebound along with Martin before she finally reached behind Hamashuk’s blades to nudge it in.
Gone was Hamashuk in favor of Lisa Plenderleith (15 saves) and long gone were the young pointless streaks of Cottrell, Martin, and Ruff.
“You just gotta get that feel,” said Deraney. “Once you get that feel of your body doing it, all of a sudden it becomes a little bit easier. I’m happy for them to see them break out because they’re on the cusp of being terrific point producers for us.”
Together with the parity, the discipline between the two teams began to somersault out of control in the latter half of the game. Even with a hitting-from-behind major to Colgate’s Kristi-Lyn Pollock with 2:37 till intermission, the Raiders crashed the Friars’ all-you-can-score buffet by drawing two minors and cutting a now 5-1 deficit (courtesy Pollock at 9:10 and Beach for PC at 16:32 –both power play strikes) with 0.6 seconds remaining.
Six ticks after Friar Jennifer Freidman went off for tripping –granting the Raiders a 4-on-3 edge- Dosdall fed Todd Clancy for a homeward bound floater from the far circle-top.
But PC would virtually seal its borders through the length of the third period and tacked on one last power play conversion –their fourth of the day- via Beach.
“We played hockey today,” Deraney said bluntly. “We made plays; we didn’t panic with the puck; we didn’t treat it like a hot potato. Everyone was consistently trying to make plays.”
Al Daniel can be reached at email@example.com