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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hockey Log

Normore in race to Washington
PC women’s star included on Frozen Four skills ballot

Friars’ PR planner Matt Lee recently disclosed the ongoing fan ballot for the annual NCAA Frozen Four Skills Challenge, a seniors-only field that includes PC’s two-way connoisseur Erin Normore.

Trimmed from an original pool of 140, the list is now down to 68 candidates evenly split into four divisions: men’s east, men’s west, women’s east, and women’s west. Up to six entrants per group may be selected to receive a passport to Washington’s Verizon Center –site of this year’s Men’s Frozen Four- and take the limelight in the Friday, April 11 interim between the semifinal and championship games.

Normore is flanked in her faction by the likes of fellow Hockey Easterners Kacey Bellamy and Sam Faber of New Hampshire, Gina Kearns and Allyse Wilcox of Boston University, Maggie Taverna of Boston College, and Brittany Wilson of Connecticut. Six ECAC satellites, Gina Anorne of the independent Sacred Heart program, plus two Division-III pucksters round out the list of options –which will close to voters this coming Wednesday.

Enlightened to her spontaneous shot at a last hurrah in April, Normore –who stands a notch shy of a career year in the way of point-scoring (23) and already has a career-best eight goals this season- responded with little beyond the conventional hockey humility.

“It’s exciting,” she allowed. “It’d be nice to go, but it’s not really my main focus right now. But after the season, if that happens, it’d be great.”

And if it happens, she will have the privilege of being PC’s second ambassador to the showcase in as many years, following the skate tracks of former men’s captain Jon Rheault. Rheault dabbed a cherry on his dazzling days with the Tim Army Corps by venturing to Denver, where he outraced hometown hero Andrew Thomas in the fastest skater event.

Duncan back on her skates
Junior forward Jackie Duncan, stymied by a lower body ailment over the last three-plus weeks, has rejoined the team’s regular practice regimen. Donning a solitary light blue jersey, she chiefly traded shifts with the constituents of the “Dark Blue” line of Katy Beach, Abby Gauthier, and Jean O’Neill for most of yesterday’s drills.

Needing only minimal respites throughout the session –all things considered- Duncan even concocted a fun-sized highlight reel play, vacuuming a clearing attempt and proceeding to assertively lace the puck home around senior goaltender Danielle Ciarletta during end-to-end transition drills.

Meanwhile, rookie defender Christie Jensen kept the sideline as she continues to recover from a head-jarring hit via Connecticut forward Brittany Wilson two weekends ago. More than likely, neither of the still-healing Friars will be game-ready quite in time to dress for tomorrow night’s New Hampshire company. But, head coach Bob Deraney offered, both are “coming along nicely…I think they’re both getting better quickly.”

In the meantime, all signs point to Deraney adhering to the exact same depth chart configurations that he has used in each of the last three games.

Future watch in Groth
Emily Groth, a defensive player for the Madison Capitols’ U19 team, has committed to the Friars, according to beyondthedashers.com. Pending her formal confirmation no later than the next offseason signing period, she will become the third Friar-in-waiting for next autumn, opposite forwards Jessica Cohen and Jessica Vella.

Groth is already coming off a selection to the 2008 Midwest Elite Hockey League’s All-Academic scroll as well as receiving her team’s Justine Pellman Award, which by its own definition signifies “outstanding individual and team hockey skills, sportsmanship, academic excellence, performance in the clutch, personal character, competitiveness, civic and charitable involvement and a love of hockey.”

Additionally, Groth’s commitment lines her up to become the first Wisconsin-raised Friar since Mara Amrhein graduated in 2005.

Quick Feeds: PC and UNH will conduct a home-and-home set for both sectors of their respective programs this weekend, simply trading venues between tomorrow and Saturday. All four games shall commence at 7:00 p.m. Early last month, New Hampshire inexplicably opted to bump up the latter half of the women’s series from Sunday afternoon to Saturday evening…Tomorrow’s home tilt with the Wildcats will be broadcast through online video streaming…Tomorrow night will mark the Friars’ first known Friday the 13th contest on any immediately accessible records, dating as far back as the 1996-97 season.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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