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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hockey Log

Lacasse hauls in the hardware

Durham, N.H.- At least as far as their first year is concerned, the rivalry between PC’s own Genevieve Lacasse and Northeastern’s Florence Schelling is a sequential Sidney Crosby-Alex Ovechkin breed.

Across the database, the Friars’ surprise savior from Scarborough thoroughly outpaced the Hub Huskies’ primordial hype magnet in a Top Rookie derby that by the dusk of the regular season was clearly not inclined to set one blade out of the crease.

Goals-against median: 1.90 to 2.24, advantage Lacasse. Save percentage: .935 to 933 in favor of PC’s young backstop. Winning percentage: a Friars’ feast of .596 to .306. Shutouts: 6-2, advantage Lacasse.

Not to mention, the fact that PC had the less straining night-to-night dilemma. Lacasse –who unhesitatingly enrolled at the Divine Campus even with three incumbent goalies waiting to work with her- has thus far consumed 75.9% of her team’s crease time and is sure to augment that overwhelming fraction in today’s semifinal tussle with New Hampshire. Schelling handled 52.9% of NU’s custodial duties, only a few strides ahead of the not-so-scruffy Leah Sulyma (46.6%).

And last night, Lacasse got the expected stamp at the WHEA’s Awards Banquet in UNH’s Huddleston Hall, claiming the top rookie prize and making a tangy tradeoff of accolades with seasoned Boston College keeper Molly Schaus.

Schaus –just one constituent of a celestial now-junior class at Chestnut Hill that Providence skipper Bob Deraney yearns to foundationally duplicate with his rookie corps- planted her flag on the moorings of the league’s First-All Star team, indubitably bolstered by a superior team record, gobs of shutouts (10 total), and the Triple Crown of goals-against average, save percentage, and winning percentage in overall play.

But Lacasse –tapped to scrape the blue paint on the Second All-Star squad- laid claim to the ITECH Goaltending Championship for her jutting output within conference boundaries. Playing in all but three regular season games against conference cohabitants, she topped all of her peers with a .940 save-percentage and outclassed Schaus under the GAA heading (1.55 versus 1.64), though Boston University’s Melissa Haber ultimately topped that chart with a 1.54 median.

Schelling, whose scrappy Huskies submitted to the Terriers in last weekend’s preliminary swing, could only cultivate a split position with Lacasse on the All-Rookie Team.

Quirkily enough, the Friars’ top gun Laura Veharanta –one of four selected forwards- was the only unanimous pick for the freshman honor roll, even when the likes of Schelling had pitched in on her scoring slowdown in the stretch drive. Come what may, Veharanta retained her season-long lead atop the rookie scoring charts (16-15-31 overall, 7-10-17 in league action) and reaped extra dividends with an honorable mention All-Star spot, opposite five upperclassmen from foreign programs.

Apart from Lacasse and Veharanta, only BU defender Tara Watchorn (Second All-Star team) had the privilege of posing with her elder standouts. Eight of the other nine selections were juniors or seniors.

Cats’ crease fuzzy
UNH boss Brian McCloskey –who has just scooped up his fourth CCM Coach of the Year Award- has the option between fresh history and fresher history in his goaltending decision today. Sophomore Kayley Herman is already two-for-two in career WHEA postseason games, complete with two shutouts and a banner, penned to her resume. Although, her formerly Lacasse-like stats have taken a comparative nosedive this season and she authorized five goals in a revolutionary beating at the hands of the Friars at Schneider Arena on January 10.

Conversely, rookie Lindsey Minton –who is technically as inexperienced in do-or-die games now as Herman was 52 weeks ago today- is not far removed from twice stuffing up Providence in a mid-February home-and-home series, which enhanced her pristine record to 7-0-0.

Minton proceeded to extract two more wins over Harvard and Connecticut, though Herman was reinstated in the regular season finale and pushed away 19 UConn stabs as part of a 4-2 triumph.

Quick Feeds: Boston College first-liner Mary Restuccia was formally declared the first runner-up in the run for top rookie accolades…The Wildcats (defender Kacey Bellamy, forwards Sam Faber and Jenn Wakefield) and Eagles (Schaus, defender Maggie Taverna, forward Kelli Stack) evenly split the six slots on the First All-Star team…Today’s 12:00 p.m. twig-lock may be viewed for a $6 cyber-admission fee courtesy of B2 Networks.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com

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