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Sunday, January 25, 2009

Hockey Log

Reruns of resiliency
With support, composure, Lacasse stamps another shutout

Genevieve Lacasse has adopted the regimen of a disgruntled, disinterested grade-schooler, indulging in maximum excitement and amusement in the prime of a weekend, then crumpling at or near the advent of the week.

She flaunted her happier half once more yesterday, charging up her third shutout in as many home Saturday matinees, this one a 34-save sweep as part of an epic 2-0 overhaul of Boston University.

This coming a long five days of retooling from and discarding any recollections of last Sunday’s choppy 5-2 falter to Vermont, wherein she only handled 15 of 19 shots faced. The preceding day, she had swallowed all of 16 shots as part of a 3-0 triumph over the Catamounts. And that had served to wash out the vinegar from a 7-3 shelling at Dartmouth four nights prior –which, in turn, did little to serve as a smooth follow-up on a 5-0 blanking of New Hampshire the previous Saturday.

“Ideally, we’ve seen what she’s capable of doing, and the key is for her to bring that every night,” admitted head coach Bob Deraney. “(But) it’s just youthfulness, and as she continues to mature as a goaltender and as a Division-I athlete, I think she’ll be more consistent. But on nights like this, when she’s on her game, it really gives us a lot of confidence.”

Yesterday, Lacasse took in a workload much more to her standard serving size as the Terriers balanced their ammo discharge between 12 first period stabs, nine in the second, and 13 in the third. Fifteen of those 34 cumulative shots were spread over seven BU power plays.

But apart from one slapper by freshman defender Tara Watchorn that scaled her trapper mitt and dinked off the far post, nothing escaped her site or her fatal touch.

And still another indefinite bushel of Boston shots never came within playing distance of Lacasse. Most tellingly, the likes of Jean O’Neill and Erin Normore traded in no more than one shift and a fraction of bodily comfort to block a few third period sizzlers. O’Neill’s sacrifice would indirectly factor in to the counter rush that parented the go-ahead goal while Normore’s unofficial goaltending tryout –performed around the 8:17 mark- forced her to skate off with the aid of teammates Katy Beach and Colleen Martin, only to join back in for a power play at 10:49.

“We’ve got 25 warriors,” said Deraney. “Kids who come in to play every night, regardless of their physical condition…and that’s every coach’s dream: to have kids who want to be out there, regardless, instead of making excuses not to be out there.”

Spring fever spikes
With Connecticut and New Hampshire having already polished off weekend sweeps, the Friars were involuntarily docked to fourth place, though only a point behind the Huskies and two behind the Wildcats, who are now interlocked with Boston College at the top of the heap.

Today’s rematch with BU up at Walter Brown Arena (3:00 p.m. face-off) bears the following menu of eventualities for PC: win and directly build on their one-point lead on the Terriers whilst hurdling Connecticut and possibly claiming a partial stake in first place. Either that, or risk letting Boston restore the lead it had until around 4:00 yesterday.

And regardless of the immediate upshot, they still have eight regular season engagements with teams currently pried apart by now more than nine points. A regular ride of lottery balls is waiting to happen over the next month.

“We started playing playoff hockey today. That’s really what happened,” Deraney asserted after yesterday’s grittily executed triumph. “Every game is going to have ramifications upon seedings and home ice. It’s just a tremendous (new) playoff format that makes for early weekends to really mean something when there’s still five weeks to go (in the regular season).”

Quick Feeds: Freshman Kate Bacon assisted on Mari Pehkonen’s insurance goal, granting her four points in her last five games and 10 on the year…Laura Veharanta, who for the first time has been held scoreless in consecutive ventures, still led PC with five shots on net yesterday. BU’s Sarah Russell and Gina Kearns led the full, two-team card with seven and six registered stabs, respectively…Junior forward Jackie Duncan, who recently re-aggravated a lower body ailment, has been officially termed “day-to-day,” though her return for as early as today’s game has been ruled out. “We’ll know for sure on Monday,” Deraney said…An online audiocast will be available for today’s game.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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