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Thursday, November 6, 2008

Hockey Log

Lofty goalie at RMU
PC women’s coach acclaims opponent in advance

The team growth motif reeling out of Friars’ coach Bob Deraney’s mouth during media addresses is plainly in an imperfect state.

That notion may have been at its plainest when he offered up his measuring evaluation of the forthcoming, two-game matchup with Robert Morris, which commences tomorrow night at the RMU Island Sports Center in Moon Township, Pa.

Raring to confront the CHA-based Colonials for the third time in as many seasons, and to pay his first-ever visit to the four-year-old program’s compact ice house operated by Slap Shot co-star Dave Hanson, Deraney referenced but one of the two visits Robert Morris has paid here.

And it wasn’t that of last November, when the Friars indulged in an ultimately season-best 7-1 decision, exiling opposing goaltender Brianne McLaughlin after two periods in the process.

Instead, the cautiously confident Deraney centralized his entire historical analysis on McLaughlin’s more typical stability.

Glancing back to the 2006-07 season, when RMU stopped by on November 19, he recalled “It was a 1-1 tie, and I guarantee you the shots were 50-10. So when she’s in the net anything can happen.”

For the record, the final shot discrepancy was actually 45-15, Providence. Nonetheless, with a few more recent, external chips of evidence, the point is taken.

McLaughlin, now a senior, has amassed a 4-3-0 transcript in the wee hours of this season, saturating her personal stats log with a nightly average of 35-plus saves and a .921 save percentage. She bolstered a booming start on opening weekend through a 63-save dolphin show en route to the Colonials’ 3-2 nipping of almighty Minnesota.

Minus a pair of triumphs over expansion Syracuse, McLaughlin has confronted no fewer than 31 whips at her net per game. And underscoring her individual consistency, which is perhaps sprawled out in seclusion, all four of the Colonials’ victories have been decided by a single goal.

Other nights, no different from her second drop-in to Schneider last year, McLaughlin is inclined to disassemble. And on the Friars half of the spectrum, Deraney has aptly cited traces of his own strike force’s capabilities.

“We just have to keep doing the things that we do well,” he said. “(Boston University’s) Allyse Wilcox is a good goalie, and we got three past her (in regulation) and two in the shootout (last Saturday), so our goal-scoring tactics and goal-scoring ability has increased, so we’re going to make it difficult for (McLaughlin).”

Nonetheless, he continued, “what scares me the most about them is their goaltending, because she can steal a game, as she’s shown…We have to come ready to play and put away our opportunities, because we might not get a second chance.”

Quick Feeds: Senior goaltender Danielle Ciarletta, who concocted her own dynamic performance in the Friars’ cage at BU, has seen every minute of both meetings with the Colonials, scooping up a light bushel of 14 saves both times. Whether she takes in the full length of this weekend’s two-gamer, though, will likely depend on the course of tomorrow’s installment. And Deraney has disclosed no indication that he wouldn’t reinstate Genevieve Lacasse on one night or the other for the mere sake of keeping the rotation fresh…With Erin Normore indefinitely fixed into a forward role, where she will most likely remain especially while Mari Pehkonen is attending to her international duties, classmate Brittany Simpson and sophomore Amber Yung have been a consistent defensive twosome over the last three games, as they were over the first three games of the regular season. Every other branch of the depth chart is still randomly tweaking at ever-so-subtle rates…Pehkonen’s Finns will lock twigs with 2006 alumna Karen Thatcher’s Americans the wrap up round robin play on the famed 1980 Rink at Lake Placid tomorrow night at 8:00.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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