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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Northeastern 3, Women's Hockey 2

Friars are Schell-lacked on power play
All goes well, save for the scoreboard

Report based on Live Stats

BOSTON- The Friars grudgingly assumed a puck-based parallel of Wile E. Coyote last night, hogging the screen time and the active dramatic upsurge in every capacity imaginable –only to plunge into vexing defeat.

They facilely outclassed the host Northeastern Huskies everywhere from shots on net (44-15), to face-offs (40-22), to opposing penalties (7-1).

But NU’s Roadrunner, principally held on standby with the celestial goaltending of Florence Schelling, made just one fleeting, productive cameo too many for Providence to handle, amounting to a 3-2 decision before 110 viewers at Matthews Arena.

Less than two minutes after she had restored her team’s lead with 3:41 to spare in the third, Northeastern senior Ali Bielawski harrowingly invited the Friars to redraw things on the board, taking a hooking penalty at 18:00. The remainder of regulation –barring a conversion- would be spent on the power play, on which PC had been wholly empty in its first six tries despite a cumulative 10 shots in that setup.

With goaltender Genevieve Lacasse (12 saves) perched on the bench in favor of a no-duh six-pack attack, the rabid likes of Jennifer Friedman, Erin Normore, Mari Pehkonen, Alyse Ruff, and Laura Veharanta all discharged at least one attempt or other in a two-minute, whistle-free swarm.

Nothing doing. Schelling (42 saves) and her indebted praetorian guards held out to serve spot-on eye-for-eye justice in the wake of the Friars’ come-from-behind overtime triumph on Friday.

Not unlike the latter two periods of the preceding get-together at Schneider Arena, Providence indulged in the utmost imbalance of ice shavings between zones, running up a 9-0 edge in the shooting gallery, fanning on eight additional attempts, whittling the icebreaker on the scoreboard, and garnering two power plays before Lacasse was summoned to any genuine action.

Normore planted the early lead at the 3:39 mark upon drilling home Jean O’Neill’s shipment on the team’s four shot of the game. The Friars proceeded to compress Northeastern’s initiation with a pair of power plays granted at 5:29 (Lindsey Berman, interference) and 9:31 (bench minor, too many players).

The Huskies would ultimately thaw out enough to land four pelts on Lacasse within the final eight minutes till intermission. And they drew an interference minor against Katy Beach at 19:11, thereby granting them a carry-over, 71-second power play segment on the new sheet.

But the Friars kept the command consistent, admitting nada to the NU brigade and charging up three shorthanded stabs. From there, they enhanced their shooting edge from 12-4 at the first buzzer to an eventual 25-5 at exactly 14:00 (27-8 at period’s end), sprinkling six of those over another three successive player-up advantages.

The stanch Schelling, though, pushed everything away and was finally rewarded four seconds after she had finished bolstering the fifth PK. Her Swiss countrywoman, Julia Marty, reeled home NU’s sixth test of Lacasse at 14:04, drawing a 1-1 knot that stuck through the conclusion of the period.

The muddling cycle fundamentally reran itself for the third, although Northeastern negligibly stepped up its shooting frequency and concocted a few entertaining, end-to-end, air hockey rushes.

But only 18 seconds after top gun Kristi Kehoe nudged them ahead, the Huskies broke out the juggling torches once more with defender Ginny Berg whistled for hooking at 10:08.

Another double-dose for Schelling to handle on the PK, plus a stab by Veharanta that wiped off the post, and another spilled opportunity for the Friars, though they elongated their livid gush to the cage well beyond Berg’s release and formed a 2-2 knot at 14:25.

Pehkonen, Friday’s hero back home, was at it again, solving Schelling after she had whiffed on six other registered stabs.

But Northeastern would need one more stealthy swing at Lacasse to finalize their triumph. And they hastily utilized it through Bielawski, whose strike –assisted by Berman and Marty- zapped the deadlock at the green age of 1:54.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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