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Friday, February 20, 2009

Hockey Log

Deraney accepts the ante in BC series

There is at least a half-decent chance that the Friars will be fidgeting for the length of their day off this Sunday while the other three Judgment Week series in Hockey East round themselves out. But, owing to the molecular muddle in the heart of the standings, they shall have lesser worries if they do not make a sweeping impression against the streaking Boston College Eagles today and tomorrow.

Trailing BC by four points in the pursuit of second place, PC’s end of the bargain simply reads: grab the four points in this home-and-home or it’s bye-bye to the bye.

They know what they crave in terms of post-season assignments, and they are wisely keeping mindful of what they need to attain it.

“I was watching an NFL football game a few years back, and it came down to a certain situation that the coach wasn’t prepared for,” said head coach Bob Deraney. “He didn’t know the implications. It was amazing.

“So I think it’s very important that you do know the implications of the outcome of each game. You need to know what you need to win, whether you play for the win. We’ve looked at it, and basically, the bottom line is we have to win hockey games.”

And then, they’ll have to root for the likes of New Hampshire and Northeastern to repress Connecticut and Boston University, respectively. The Huskies and Terriers each withhold two more points (25), thus need only accumulate one point fewer than the Friars’ to dock their hopes of an automatic passport to the Whittemore Center –site of this year’s semifinal and championship rounds- or even the chance of a preliminary game at Schneider Arena.

But, Deraney implied, they’ll cross that bridge whenever they reach it; and once the inky fog tapers off, giving them a chance to interpret the scene.

“We know all the scenarios –at least, I think we do,” he said. “We just need to do what we have to do in order to maximize our number of points so that we can get the highest seed we can.”

Schneider Nest?
The Eagles have wrested five of six possible points in their last three stops here. Providence last protected their property from BC’s talons on December 3, 2006, when they laid claim to a 3-2 decision. And by virtue of a 3-1 win here in late October, the Eagles remain the only conference cohabitant from whom the Friars have yet to claim a point this season.

“I haven’t even really thought of it that way, because we just go into every season series trying to win it,” Deraney said.

“We’re not going to approach it any differently. It’s not about the past. They’re up, 1-0, in a series that’s best-of-three, so we just have to sweep this weekend to win the season series. That’s our mindset right now.”

Conte congestion forces unusual draw time
This afternoon’s 4:00 face-off time was ultimately the last domino standing in a succession of scheduling conflicts and a mutual aversion to a night-day weekend pattern.

With the PC men’s squad slated to face Merrimack before the eyes of ESPN-U viewers on Sunday afternoon –a decision that was ruled well after each program discharged rough drafts of their schedule- the two Friar teams agreed to swap home dates. And a convenient set of Friday-Saturday evening games may have worked out if not for the BC men hosting New Hampshire tomorrow night.

“We didn’t want to play at 1:00 at their place on a Friday,” said Deraney on another option. “And you can’t play at 7:00 one night and then 1:00 the next day. So where did that leave us?” he pondered rhetorically.

“It is unusual, but the good thing is that it’s school vacation for local high school and elementary students, so hopefully a 4:00 face-off will attract more fans.”

Quick Feeds: According to Matt Silberman in the PC sports information deparment, combined with the women’s basketball team’s “Pink Out” game Wednesday, the Skating Sorority helped to ultimately raise over $5,000 for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation through their respective charity events this month…Yesterday’s evaluation found no damage done to senior forward Mari Pehkonen, who in Wednesday’s practice sprawled stiff and flat as a log to block a shot and subsequently departed early with an apparent ailment in her upper body. All signs point to her suiting up today…Though the most unruly club in the league with 425 cumulative penalty minutes, the defensively superior Eagles also boast the top PK rate at 90.4%...Customary Senior Night ceremonies will be conducted prior to this afternoon’s puck-drop.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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