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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hockey Log

Cottrell takes next step in SO impact
Joins classmate Lacasse in heroic limelight

Chestnut Hill, Mass.- Friars’ freshman center Ashley Cottrell was spontaneously granted an early opportunity to prove her shootout worth in her third collegiate game when she was granted a penalty shot in the third period of an October 11 home bout with St. Lawrence.

Though ultimately foiled by Saints’ goaltender Brittony Chartier, she pressed on to the following afternoon, when she slugged home her first collegiate goal on a ballet breakaway, ultimately spelling the difference in a 6-2 knockout of Colgate.

Not so surprisingly, then, Cottrell has since been kept on deck for every meaningful shootout Providence has encountered in the tingling tiebreaker’s first year of usage in the WHEA. Her leadoff conversion against rigid stopper Molly Schaus would tip the scale in a virtual 2-1 triumph over Boston College at Conte Forum yesterday.

This coming after she had similarly singed Boston University’s Allyse Wilcox on November 1 in the third frame of the one-on-one period, a conversion that may have clinched a two-point package if not for Tara Watchorn’s subsequent equalizer and Erin Seman’s decider in favor of the Terriers.

This time, PC’s still-quite ostensible answer to Phil Kessel did her part and, in turn, watched with exhilaration as classmate Genevieve Lacasse went flawless in her first shootout. Associate Danielle Ciarletta had previously taken the fall at BU three weeks before she impeccably snuffed Niagara in an exhibition wrap-up to a 2-2 draw.

Ruff-ly more helpful
Defined primarily by her bloodhound’s nose for the corners, freight-based maneuverability, and knack for finishing productive net crashes since her arrival here, sophomore winger Alyse Ruff has been all about secondhand points this calendar year. Dating back to January 17 versus Vermont, each of her last six points have been assists, most recently on new linemate Erin Normore’s equalizer yesterday –which also granted defender Leigh Riley her third points on the season.

Ruff, who has brushed the scoresheet thrice in the last four games to give her a hand in three of PC’s last five goals, has equated her freshman bushel of 19 points, though with a 9-10-19 reading as opposed to the 14-5-19 transcript of last season. Her output yesterday also made her the fifth Friar with double digits under the “A” heading.

Perfect attendance
Freshmen Cottrell, Jennifer Friedman, and Laura Veharanta, sophomore Ruff, and seniors Normore and Brittany Simpson appeared in all 34 regular season contests this year. Apart from Simpson (two games missed in her sophomore year), all of the aforementioned have dressed for every game possible.

Deceptive first impressions
The Friars resurged to salvage a win/tie for the seventh time out of 16 occasions when admitting the first goal and the fourth time out of eight when trailing through the first 20 minutes this season.

UConn probably next, but where?
BU’s 3-0 victory at Northeastern renders the Terriers uncatchable for PC, but New Hampshire’s come-from-behind triumph at Connecticut means one of three specific playoff scenarios depending on how many points the Huskies extract in this afternoon’s finale at the Whittemore Center:

If UConn loses in regulation, thus remains tied with the Friars with 25 conference points, they will visit Schneider Arena next week in the 4-versus-5 preliminary matchup.

If UConn earns a single shootout point, or if BU simply wins to keep their distance, the Friars will visit them at Freitas Ice Forum.

If UConn wins and BU loses, which would technically tie the two clubs for third place, the Huskies would likely get priority by virtue of having more regulation wins in league play. This would mean a date at Walter Brown Arena for Providence. The Huskies and Terriers evenly split their season series, the first tie-breaking criterion under league legislation, and if they each finished with 13 league wins, BU’s heavy subsistence on shootouts could come back to dock them a slot.

Quick Feeds: The Friars squeaked out a 39-37 edge at the face-off dot yesterday, though the Eagles gallantly wrinkled an initial 18-8 deficit through the first period under that heading and a 26-21 PC lead through two stanzas…Head coach Bob Deraney utilized the exact same line configurations he had concocted to start Friday’s game, when he had improvised a few more tweaks on the fly…Sophomore defender Amber Yung was credited with two blocked shots in the early stages of the second period…BC’s top gun Kelli Stack, whose first period goal upped her regal totals to 22-32-54, hit the post for the second consecutive day when she unleashed a power play bid to commence the second…A grand total of 18 penalties and 47 PIM were handed out, including a hitting-from-behind major/10-minute misconduct to BC’s Shannon Webster. There were two cases of 4-on-4 play and a 5-on-3 for each team over the course of yesterday’s game…Owing chiefly to the rash of penalty calls and the bonus rounds beyond regulation, the game took a lengthy two hours and 37 minutes to complete.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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