• Check out the Free Press founder's new Rhode Island/New England sports blog
  • http://providencesportsscribe.blogspot.com/

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hockey Log

Battlefield Schneider
Friars set to renew rough-and-tumble rivalry

When queried about today’s crosstown clash with Brown University (2:00 p.m. face-off), PC women’s hockey head coach Bob Deraney released an uncanny succession of bellicose terminology.

Apparently, that just can’t be helped. After all, coveted civic bragging rights are contained in the Mayor’s Cup and like any hunk of hardware, that Cup has a way of sterilizing every outside disturbance.

“It’s going to be a war,” Deraney asserted. “As we’ve found out in years gone by, we’re playing for the Mayor’s Cup on Sunday. So throw the records right out the window on Sunday.”

Indeed, last year’s installment of the Divine City Dance was one of the season’s more rigidly contested bouts for either side, but especially the Bears, who were a foul 2-8-1 going in versus a PC team bearing a more stable 6-6-2 transcript. Backed by tireless goaltender Nicole Stock –who has since graduated and moved northward to tutor the likes of Florence Schelling and Leah Sulyma at Northeastern- Brown confined the statistically superior Friars to a mere 1-0 triumph.

Three years ago, Brown was winless in its first nine whirls but splashed that drought with a drink from the Cup after dumping the 3-6-3 Friars, 4-2.

Furthermore, the fact that the last twig-lock was a PC victory, and the Friars’ first at Meehan Auditorium in Mayor’s Cup history, just might spark more incentive for the Bears to dish out a little eye-for-eye justice at Schneider Arena this afternoon.

Unwavering in assuming the toughest possible matchup, Deraney made no mention of Brown’s abysmal first impression on Friday, an 8-1 home loss to Connecticut. He is relying strictly on the tape of the Bears’ exhibition with the Toronto Jr. Aeros last weekend for any scouting report he can trust.

“We have a national tape exchange,” he said. Then he continued with more of the blood-and-guts motif. “It’s kind of like sending bullets to your own execution, so to speak. We sent them a DVD of us and they sent us a DVD of them, and they had an exhibition game last week, so I get a chance to look at that.”

And what did he find?

“We’re going to have a good Brown team coming in here. They’re going to be good and they’re going to be physical.”

Rebuilding reflections
Precisely one-third of Brown’s 21-player roster consists of freshmen, including goaltender Katie Jamieson, who will duel with junior to Joy Joung for Stock’s old spot in the crease, and two of their first-line forwards.

Similarly, Friday’s Schneider visitor from Yale boasted a total of eight rookies and five sophomores out of 21 rostered players. It’s not unlike the comprehensive refill project the Friars went through last season when they integrated 10 newbies (nine freshmen plus a junior transfer in Arianna Rigano).

“I just think we all go in cycles,” mused Deraney. “You try to stay away from that big graduating class where you’re only graduating about five players a year. But, inevitably, it happens for different reasons and that’s the nature of college sports.”

Quick feeds: The Friars are 4-1-1 all time at home with the Mayor’s Cup at stake and have won each of the last three contests here…Based on Friday’s line chart, Brown freshman Erica Farrer, the younger sister of PC men’s junior forward Ben Farrer, is on the third-line left wing with fellow rookie Laurie Jolin and junior Jenna Dancewicz…The Bears’ roster represents a total of five states, five provinces, and two European countries in the Ukraine (sophomore forward Vicki Mykolenko) and the Czech Republic (rookie Alena Polesnka)…The Friars will hold their annual fundraiser against domestic violence at today’s game. Prize pucks will be sold in the lobby at a price of $10 apiece…Today will be PC’s first of eight scheduled Sunday games this season. Last year, the Friars were a cool 5-2-0 on Sundays.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com