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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Hockey Log

Perky weekend for Pehkonen

BOSTON- As a team, the Friars recycled the same embittering, fall-from-ahead fashion to spill a would-be sweep of a home-and-home series last night. But senior forward Mari Pehkonen could hardly be held culpable in any fatal twists over this weekend.

Whether she acknowledged it at all or not, Pehkonen commenced the latest four-day practice week under the burdensome fact that she had taken a two-minute citation for tripping in the dusk of regulation at Connecticut last Sunday, and hopped back into the action only a heartbeat before UConn’s Nicole Tritter turned PC to stone.

On Friday, the Finnish Flare garnered the most tuneful brand of redemption, tipping the scale on a 3-2 overtime triumph after she had honed her twig all night with seven SOG in regulation. And toss in the fact that she had drawn the first penalty (Alyssa Wohlfeiler, holding) in the 13th minute of the opening frame as she routinely churned the puck along the wall in the far corner of the attacking zone.

In the rematch, for the second consecutive night, Pehkonen led all PC puckslingers under the SOG heading, adding nine to the salvo of eight she had thrust out on Friday while her linemate Kate Bacon fed off of her fastidious appetite with six bids of her own.

She took care of four of PC’s 12 first period shots, rounding out that sequence with a fleeting shorthanded break in the final minute. The Huskies would carry their lone power play over to the second, only to accept more of the same from Alyse Ruff and Brittany Simpson, who leveled four and five respective shots of their own on the night.

And if only for a few blinks, Pehkonen appeared entitled to the laudable label of clutch queen once more, tying things at 2-2 when only 5:35 remained in an altogether irksome third period. Even after Ali Bielawski swiftly renewed the upper hand for Northeastern, and ultimately cemented the decision, Pehkonen had two more tests up her twig for Schelling plus a wide-bound attempt within the remaining two minutes.

Calm after the storm
After forty minutes of unmistakable, equal-opportunity turbulence defined the initial phases of Friday’s 3-2 Friar overtime triumph, the scoresheet scribe was utterly idled throughout a third period wherein there was no scoring and no penalty calls. Leading up to that point, though, there were hints of mutual animosity beneath some of the three minor penalties attained by the Friars and four by the Huskies.

The last citation handed out on Friday was to PC’s Laura Veharanta (contact to the head), who traded a few post-whistle biffs with NU goaltender Florence Schelling after a power play net crash. Veharanta’s debatable solitary stride to the box effectively spelled 41 seconds of 4-on-4 play.

Try and see it my way
Contesting freshmen goaltenders Schelling and Genevieve Lacasse conducted a bit of a role reversal in this series. Lacasse, a tad more accustomed to limitless labor with 11 30-plus save counts and three bushels of 40-plus shots to her credit, dealt with an aggregate 39 NU stabs on the weekend (24 Friday, 15 last night).

Schelling, conversely, entered the weekend confronted less than 40 shots in each of her last 11 twirls. She would ultimately work up her two biggest collegiate sweats with 53 saves Friday and 42 last night, snapping a personal eight-game losing streak along the way.

Quick Feeds: Friday marked the third occasion this season where the Friars abolished a multi-goal deficit in enough time to avert defeat, if not scrape out a win. They had previously drawn an eleventh hour, 2-2 knot with Niagara prior Thanksgiving and morphed a 3-0 hole into a 4-3 triumph at Cornell to commence this calendar year. Additionally, Abby Gauthier’s two assists Friday matched a personal season-best set in that Cornell thriller…A human interest story on Schelling –composed by ex-Boston Globe writer Peter May- appeared in yesterday’s New York Times –updated online at the last minute to factor in a brief, fundamental mention of Friday’s upshot…Shortly after Deraney’s postgame lecture Friday, the six seniors returned to the ice for a full-gear class photo op along the home blue line…First line center Ashley Cottrell was retroactively credited with the second assist on Pehkonen’s OT clincher for a team-best 15 total helpers. Cottrell also thus joined Veharanta and Erin Normore in this year’s PC 20-point club.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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