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Monday, February 2, 2009

Hockey Log

Another bitter Nutmeg twist
PC’s loss to UConn follows pattern of Yale visit

Report based on Gametracker

Storrs, Conn.- Laura Veharanta helps the Friars step off on the right skate in the second period. Providence subsists on the resultant 1-0 edge till the opposition converts a rare-find power play to force overtime. At that point, the momentum is not to be regained. PC lets it slip in the first minute of the bite-sized bonus round.

Only now –after the fact- have the puck prophets unveiled that repetitious plot summary for the PC women’s 2008-09 excursions west to Connecticut.

This was how their venture to Yale University fundamentally panned out on December 30. Ditto yesterday’s drop-in at Freitas Ice Forum, the bottom half of a home-and-home series with the radiant UConn Huskies, whom they had muzzled long enough for a stimulating 5-1 win at Schneider Arena two days ago and to clutch the upper hand for the first portion of yesterday’s rematch.

But the Huskies sniffed out their sparse offering of comeback opportunities, exploited them once unearthed, and in effect docked two points from the Friars, whose post-regulation futility lives to tease them another day.

PC has not sipped the exuberant end of a walk-off win since Jenna Keilch’s goal overthrew Maine, 3-2, on January 21, 2007. Their record since then in the bonus round: 0-2-7. A smooth succession of seven ties –one of which was technically a shootout loss to Boston University on November 1 of this season- preceded these sequentially twin downfalls just over the border.

With yesterday’s climactic turnaround, the Huskies (10-5-0 in league play) claimed the two allotted points and renewed their one-point deficit behind the now 10-4-1 Friars, who might otherwise have assumed sole possession of second place in the Hockey East standings. Or, better yet, draw a knot with New Hampshire for first.

Parting shots
Barring any spontaneous post-season encounters, UConn senior forward and co-captain Nicole Tritter –who inserted the OT clincher- finished her career with a 5-1-6 scoring transcript against PC. Goaltender Brittany Wilson went 4-6 over her three years as the Huskies go-to goalie, though three of her wins over the Friars were shutouts.

On the flip side, Erin Normore will likely skate off with 4-5-9 totals against the Huskies. Her 1-1-2 showing on Saturday was her third goal-assist value pack in her career against UConn. Mari Pehkonen finishes at 7-2-9 in eight meetings, including three multi-point performances, and team captain Brittany Simpson whittled off five assists, including one each day over this weekend.

Jen-uary
Though she curiously continues to link up with classmate and former supplement Christie Jensen during pregame warmup drills, rookie defender Jennifer Friedman has let her newly two-way twig feed off of her new top-unit associate, Simpson.

Over the past calendar month, Friedman augmented her scoring transcript from 0-2-2 to 4-4-8 in a matter of seven outings, culminating with the initial helper on Mari Pehkonen’s empty netter Saturday.

In the same span, she has slowed down her penalty frequency, only adding two more minors to the 14 PIM she had carried into the New Year.

And now, with Erin Normore ostensibly fixated on a forward assignment for the rest of this ride, Simpson and Friedman stand out as the Friars two most offensively luminous blueliners with 13 and eight respective points. Simpson’s assist on Veharanta’s second period goal yesterday has her matching a career-high 11 helpers to a season.

Quick Feeds: Jensen, thrust into the boards Saturday precipitating Brittany Murphy's five-minute checking major, sat yesterday out, replaced by Arianna Rigano on the second defensive unit...Colleen Martin led all PC puckslingers with five shots yesterday. Her blueline associate, Amber Yung, discharged three in the first and would add a fourth midway through the second…The Friars slipped to 10-5-1 when scoring first this season…The home team has won each of the last six PC-UConn regular season get-togethers…Even in the losing effort, Ashley Cottrell, Leigh Riley, Alyse Ruff, and Laura Veharanta all posted a +1 rate yesterday to go with their even-or-better rates on Saturday…In each of their last three games, the Friars and their adversaries have taken an equal number of penalties: 6-6 last Sunday at BU, 7-7 Saturday versus UConn, and 3-3 yesterday. Saturday’s five-minute checking sentence to Murphy was the second major PC has drawn this season…Genevieve Lacasse surpassed the 600-save plateau yesterday, currently boasting a cumulative 624 in 22 games. With five more, she will surpass Jana Bugden’s 2002-03 total of 628 and trail only Sara Decosta (794 saves in 1996-97) for the most saves consumed by a PC rookie.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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