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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Women's Hockey 4, Maine 1

Road whoas
PC muzzles Maine once more

Report based on Gametracker

Orono, Maine- On the heels of her team killing a carry-over penalty, one that may have otherwise invited the host Maine Black Bears to kindle an epic comeback, Friars’ two-way connoisseur Erin Normore improvised a dazzling, silent soliloquy to set the tone for yesterday’s third period.

Implanted at the center of a line with freshman Kate Bacon and equally crafty classmate Mari Pehkonen for even strength play, Normore spotted two consecutive shots on net before drawing a body-checking minor on Kaitlyn Zeek right at the 2:00 mark. From there, upon being reassigned to patrol the points with Brittany Simpson for the power play, she carried right along with another three lashes at goaltender Genevieve Turgeon (27 saves).

Nothing of that singlehanded rubber blizzard did anything to alter the scoreboard. But, off a draw forced by Turgeon when she closed down Normore’s fifth shot, the PC’s alternate captain turned things over to her superior C-bearer Simpson, who nimbly leveled the conversion at 2:53, augmenting the lead to 3-1.

From there, the Friars took a reasonably comfy ride to their second 4-1 knockoff at Alfond Arena in as many days. They thus swept their two-night visit to, and entire regular season series, with the Black Bears and can walk into their 23-day December deceleration with the notion that they are unbeaten (6-0-1) in seven of eight away games this season, the exception being their first road trip to Northeastern in mid-October.

Their incomprehensible command of hostile ice houses hit a climax yesterday, as was best reflected in goaltender Genevieve Lacasse’s unusually light workload of 11 total shots faced. Lacasse only needed to handle one stab –from Dawn Sullivan- in the early half of a scoreless first period, and then assumed an in-depth spectator role as her teammates eventually came to make their own goal count exceed the Black Bears’ collection of shots late in the second.

During that agonizing interval of inactivity, the Maine offense saw all of its ten sparsely distributed attempts blocked or telepathically guided wide of the cage.

To their credit, the Black Bears similarly filtered a majority of what the Friars discharged, forcing Turgeon to confront a personally shallow 21 shots before the 40-minute buzzer. But PC simply mollified Maine to a breakable state and finally broke through on their fourteenth registered try at the 8:19 mark, top gun Laura Veharanta making good of a feed from Ashley Cottrell.

Pam McDevitt, rotated back into the active depth chart after taking Friday off in favor of Stephanie Morris and Lauren Covell, collaborated with defender Jennifer Friedman at 15:32, to set up fourth-line associate Jean O’Neill’s backdoor conversion, rounding out the protracted tempest of 17 unanswered shots with a slightly more assertive 2-0 edge.

However, the frostbitten Lacasse sustained a reflective dent when Maine finally refurbished its stick rack moments after Gauthier’s goal when PC defender Amber Yung was flagged for holding at 17:04. In a matter of 24 seconds, the Bears’ pleasantly fruitful power play brigade splashed the team’s SOG drought on a lashing by Lexi Hoffmeyer, then cut the deficit to 2-1 courtesy Jenna Ouellette on the rebound.

But Maine’s twigs went numb once more to commence the closing frame, not to resuscitate until after the halfway mark, when they laid out three power play shots and two more immediately after Leigh Riley’s release from a two-minute body-checking sentence.

The Friars would cement the 4-1 tally through Arianna Rigano’s quick empty netter with 1:16 to spare, a mere four seconds after Turgeon had vacated her crease to make space for the desperate six-pack attack.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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