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Monday, January 12, 2009

Hockey Log

Beach still flexes power

Providence senior forward Katy Beach’s exponentially enriched special teams’ resume was only hampered by technical restrictions on her book-slamming strike in the waning moments of the third period Saturday.

With an impending penalty to visiting New Hampshire, goaltender Genevieve Lacasse had settled onto the bench in favor of a six-pack attack for a good nine seconds when Beach stretched the upper hand to 5-0 –the eventual final. But for all intents and purposes, she had zapped her team’s power play before it could be issued.

So, after six of her first seven points this season went down as a power play connection, and the other a shorthanded assist, her most recent four have all been rigidly filed under the even strength heading.

Otherwise, any circumstantial tweaks could have seen her splash a bit of a personal, trivial drought. Beach, who had five firsthand power play strikes over her first two seasons, then none last season, nearly had No. 5 on this year and her first since potting the clincher in a 1-0 repression of Brown six games ago.

Or, be it through her own finishing job or a recorded helper, she might have already matched her career-best sophomore total of seven player-up points.

Regardless, the A-captain has already leveled 27 shots on net –the same number she mustered through the entirety of both her sophomore and junior campaigns- when forking away with the PP brigade. Even with two missed games due to a temporary injury, she has retained her pace as the Friars’ second-most frequent puckslinger behind Laura Veharanta. Charging up five shots at Kayley Herman Saturday –that combined with linemates Kate Bacon’s five and Mari Pehkonen’s nine- she upped her overall total to 69.

And she has respectably forced her way onto the scoresheet in five of her last eight ventures, flexibly partnering with eight different linemates along the way. For Saturday’s insurance execution, Beach was intermingled with the likes of Arianna Rigano, her left winger throughout the sparse December schedule, and Stephanie Morris, who flanked her on the right side at Cornell last week. She would grant them both an assist –Morris’ first point in 17 appearances- upon beating Herman.

Head spinners
The puck took a wildly continuous, air hockey-paced spin around the pond within the final three minutes of Saturday’s second period. First, Friars Christie Jensen and Abby Gauthier each took a term pelting Herman in a quick swarm of the UNH zone before the Cats recovered and gushed on a return break into Lacasse’s vicinity. The PC stopper responded to visiting captain Kacey Bellamy’s subsequent bid and sent her mates on another retaliatory rush. Bacon would test Herman, Herman would safely hand the puck off for yet another unhesitant breakout, and Lacasse would haul in a stab by Angela Taylor before the looked-for whistle finally blew.

Much improved margin
Strictly within conference action, the Friars now have the WHEA’s second-best GF-GA differential of 27-13 for a +14 rate. The faltering Wildcats’ saw their differential dip to a +8 (28-20) as they also slid into a tie for third place. Only the regal Boston College, on whom PC still has two games in hand, has been more efficient in both zones with 33 scored and 17 admitted.

Quick Feeds: In blanking UNH, the Friars snapped top gun Jenn Wakefield’s carry-over five-game scoring streak. Typical scoring pests Wakefield and Sam Faber were only on record for a pair of penalties each when natural frustration cleared the brim in the third period…PC initially trailed the Wildcats in the way of face-offs, dropping nine of the 15 draws of the first period, but whittled back to seal a final edge of 29-28…Lauren Covell and Jackie Duncan were scratched from Saturday’s scorecard…Dartmouth lies next on both the Friars and Wildcats respective agendas. PC busses up to Thompson Arena tomorrow night (7:00 face-off) before the Big Green drop in on their intrastate rivals Friday.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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