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Monday, January 5, 2009

Hockey Log

Rekindling when needed most
Gauthier, Ruff bust slumps to pilot rally

Ithaca, N.Y.- The Friars’ answer to a toe-curling recession –i.e. a dire call for a stimulus package- fell in the form of a massive puckslide over the first quarter of action at Lynah Rink yesterday. All it took for the shallow offense to chafe their bonfire twigs more fervently was a rapid 3-0 deficit at the hands of host Cornell –a team roughly identical to the Yale program that had opportunistically slighted PC, 2-1, in overtime early last week.

But the exponentially pressing swing of futility served to bail a couple of Friars out of their respective slumps en route to a 4-3 victory. Freshman Abby Gauthier, who has struggled to translate her heftily saturated high school resume, entered yesterday on a nine-game scoring drought dating back to a 4-2 win at Vermont Oct. 19. She had since found herself rotating between the fourth line and the upper bowl of the arena seating chart.

Yesterday, Gauthier splashed her personal drought by assisting on Katy Beach’s connection late in the first period, then switching roles with the senior to draw a 3-3 knot at 14:58 of the second period –her first goal since Part II of the opening weekend Ohio State series.

Meanwhile, untouchable first-liner Alyse Ruff had been grudgingly gritting her teeth over a little-big break from the scoresheet. Ever since she slugged home a thrilling equalizer against Niagara Nov. 22, she went pointless over the next four games spaced between Thanksgiving and the aforementioned Yale excursion last Tuesday.

Ruff, only a day removed from her 20th birthday, thawed out her twig at 2:18 of the middle frame to treat herself to the Friars’ second strike of the game and her seventh on the year, keeping her second-best on the team in the G column behind linemate Laura Veharanta’s 13. She would later receive belated credit for an assist on Ashley Cottrell’s game winner hours after the final horn. Cottrell was similarly credited on the play that amounted to Ruff’s conversion, equaling five multi-point individual performances on the PC roster.

Through the duration of their teammates’ struggles, the winger Veharanta and centerpiece Cottrell have at least retained their productive touch. They each stretched their living point-getting streaks to four games.

No sweat
For the third time in four outings and the seventh overall this season, the first goal served nothing to its cultivator. Providence concocted its third come-from-behind win of the year and second rally from a multi-point deficit, the other being the 2-2 knot with Niagara prior Thanksgiving.

Additionally, the Friars have again defied the opposition’s home ice advantage, stamping their seventh road win in ten tries. With that, they have already surpassed their accumulation of road Ws from each of the three preceding seasons.

Quick Feeds: Forward Erin Normore and defender Colleen Martin led the Friars’ stick rack with five shots on net apiece…Senior goaltender Danielle Ciarletta improved to 2-2-2 on the year with the win. Combining her fractional relief appearance with her last start-to-finish outing, she has an active shutout streak brewing at an even 83 minutes…Part II of this series commences today at 2:00. It will be the Friars’ final engagement from without New England borders this regular season…Today’s game will be team captain Brittany Simpson’s 125th career appearance in a PC uniform. After today, classmate Katy Beach should be only five outings away from attaining the same milestone.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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