Short list of feel-good specks
Individuals break out for PC men before break
On the whole, the next 30 days worth of psychological house cleaning is still atop the list of preferences for the lacerated Friars –now 3-12-1 overall and still tantalized by a menacing winless showing in Hockey East action.
But with the series of savory individual sprinklings that decorated their scoresheet in Tuesday night’s 4-3 Mayor’s Cup triumph, a free dollop of material optimism may accompany the recovery regimen.
The top line of Ian O’Connor, John Cavanagh, and Matt Bergland, reunited after brief experimental separation, composed a combined 15 of the 46 shots PC heaved at Brown goaltender Mark Sibbald. And Bergland, the lone specimen of scoring stability since the Nightmare on Huxley Ave. commenced, pitched in two points with his familiarized power play brigade, extending his scoring streak to three games and freezing his first half totals to a point-per-game 5-11-16.
One other three-game hot streak to carry over into January: that of conventionally professed bouncer Mark Fayne. The burliest Friar on paper chipped in four SOG and collaborated with associate defenseman Matt Taormina to set up Bergland’s third period power play strike.
The “bottom” line stood out with a +2 rating apiece, two-pointers for sophomores Jordan Kremyr and Matt Germain, and junior Chris Eppich’s second career goal –and only on the heels of hatching that three-year-old goose egg when he singed Quinnipiac’s Nick Pisellini last Friday.
By picking up a goal-assist value pack, Kremyr, an apparent regular having been iced for the last five games after playing merely three of the team’s first 11, splashed a personal scoring drought dating back to his two-striker against Boston College last February 29. Germain likewise cultivated his second and third points –all helpers- in the light December schedule, enhancing his season transcript to 1-5-6.
Freshman forward Shawn Tingley, complete with his promising EJHL resume and an overdue clean bill of health after he sprained his ankle in a preseason run through, took his first slurp of NCAA game action, anchoring the third line with classmates Andy Balysky and Rob Maloney. Tingley, Balysky, and Austin Mayer were the lone three Friar skaters not to whip up at least one registered shot at Sibbald.
Discount the last seven chippy minutes of the closing frame, wherein the contesting parties aggregated seven infractions and 22 PIM, and the Friars substantially out-disciplined the Bears, claiming only four citations from the conservative officiating quartet while drawing eight penalties against Brown.
Long time coming
Friars foreman Tim Army only needed to take two stabs before he successfully wrested the Cup from the Bears on Meehan Auditorium ice in his own right. But Tuesday night’s win marked his first share of triumph across town since November 20, 1990, when he was a sidekick to Mike McShane and PC throttled the Bears, 7-1. It would be the broadest scoring discrepancy in the modern era of the Mayor’s Cup until last year’s 8-0 breeze here.
Prior to this year’s twig-lock, Army had openly noted that the Friar Puck program was initially slow to equate Brown’s competitiveness in the pre-Lamoriello, pre-Schneider Arena, pre-Hockey East days. But with the latest win, Providence has pulled even in the all-time series, standing jaw-to-jaw at 43-43-2 with their neighbors.
Quick Feeds: PC has struck on at least one power play –rolling up a combined total of 12 conversions- in each of its last eight meetings with Brown…With Tingley’s debut, 28 out of 31 rostered Friars have seen game action. Only the still-healing Matt Tommasiello, Ryan Simpson, and Chad Johnson have yet to put in an appearance. Meanwhile, only Bergland, Cavanagh, O’Connor, and Taormina have withstood the rapid, populous carousel well enough to dress for all 16 games up to this point…Overall, Bergland leads all Hockey East freshmen scorers with the only perfect point-per-game median to speak of. Maine’s Gustav Nyquist trails with 13 points over 14 games…The Friars will wake back up for a one-night weekend, hosting Lowell on Saturday, January 10, then will visit three conference cohabitants over a space of six nights –Boston University on Jan. 13, UMass-Amherst Jan. 16, and Maine Jan. 18…Ten of PC’s 18 remaining games –all within Hockey East boundaries- will be on the road. They will visit each opposing venue except Lowell, where they’ve twice been thrashed by a cumulative 10-2 score this autumn.
Al Daniel can be reached at email@example.com