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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hockey Log

Bacon, Duncan primed to return
PC women raring to dress a full roster

Other than a long-suffering spectator, Jackie Duncan primarily played the role of a freelance photographer for the first dozen games of her senior campaign with the Friars. But as one of the highlights in yesterday’s practice, where she assumed the right wing of a line with Bre Schwarz and Pam McDevitt, she earned head coach Bob Deraney’s acclaim for –as it were- getting the picture of an ideal breakout.

Not to mention, the likes of McDevitt and Schwarz can now cease to make mere mental pictures of having a third linemate to call their own. It is finally a reality.

And with Duncan as well as Kate Bacon –out the for last six games with a brief injury relapse- back in the equation, the Friars look forward to dressing the maximum limit of 18 skaters for the first time this season in today’s excursion to Boston University (2:00 p.m. face-off).

Based on the arrangements for yesterday’s on-ice seminar, Bacon will also assume a right wing position, linking up with sophomore centerpiece Ashley Cottrell and rookie leftie Nicole Anderson.

Jean O’Neill, who had partnered with Cottrell and Anderson for the previous four games, has now been seen working with Laura Veharanta and Jess Cohen. Cohen’s old spot on the right side with Alyse Ruff and Arianna Rigano figures to be plugged in by Abby Gauthier.

With the forward stable fully staffed, Deraney has reassigned the ever-flexible Lauren Covell to her original blue line firm with Leigh Riley, where she had played the first eight games before a momentary return to the front lines. The other defensive combinations of Colleen Martin with Jennifer Friedman and Christie Jensen with Amber Yung shall remain unruffled.

Home sweet home-and-home
This weekend’s series with BU will be the first home-and-home set the Friars have engaged in all season and their first case of facing the same adversary on back-to-back days since they swept Maine to start the year. Since then, they have confronted 10 different opposing jerseys in as many games.

Not unlike the all but forgotten notion of playing with a full bench, Deraney declared the weekend itinerary another liberating change of pace for his students.

“It’s nice to play the same team back-to-back,” he said. “We’ve been playing a lot of different teams on the (two) different days on the weekend, so that’s tough to do. But I think that’s also helped our team to become better hockey players. The fact that they can do that is just another reason why I’m so proud of these kids right now.”

Vintage Normore
Volunteer assistant coach Erin Normore, a two-way connoisseur for the breadth of her playing career and a mere eight months removed from her final college game, practiced in full gear yesterday, variously supplementing an alternate line with freshmen Emily Groth and Jessie Vella and patrolling the points for breakout and special teams’ drills.

At one point, upon cutting down the far alley into the visiting zone of the Schneider Arena pond, Normore attracted a feed from Groth out of the slot and one-timed it top shelf over the blocker of goaltender Christina England.

Animated over Agganis
Deraney, a BU alumnus, will take part in his first meaningful game at the mint-conditioned Agganis Arena, which opened in January 2005 –a good 17 years after he graduated- and hosts one select Terrier women’s game per season.

“I’ve been in that building and it’s a terrific building to play in,” he granted before lapsing into his habitual team-first mode of speech.

“I’m not excited for myself,” he readily added. “I’m more excited for (the players).”

The BU women are 1-0-1 all-time in their male counterparts’ full-time barn, having tied Maine, 1-1, two seasons ago, and thrashed the same Black Bear team, 8-1, last autumn.

Melissa Milestones
In Wednesday’s 4-0 cleansing of Vermont, BU senior forward Melissa Anderson inserted an insurance goal at 6:34 of the third period, granting her career point No. 103 and thus breaking 2009 alumna Gina Kearns’ program all-time record of 102.

Additionally, Wednesday’s upshot amounted to senior goaltender Melissa Haber’s first shutout on the season and the sixth of her career –four of which have been pasted on the Catamounts.

Quick feeds: The BU power play has converted at least once in nine of its first 12 ventures this season. One of the three exceptions was their 3-1 triumph over the Friars two weeks to this date…Boston sophomore Jenelle Kohanchuk, who connected twice the last time these teams squared off, is currently the WHEA’s most frequent puckslinger with 64 shots on net to her credit and stands alone atop the league scoring charts with nine goals. PC’s Cottrell and BU’s Jill Cardella are in a five-way tie for second with seven strikes apiece… Both today’s and tomorrow’s game can be heard through online audio streaming on friars.com, and Brian Schulz will drop in at Schneider Arena tomorrow, opposite 1999 Harvard alumna A.J. Mleczko, to deliver the USCHO Game of the Week.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com