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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Hockey Log

Friedman doing the two-way trick

Sophomore defender Jen Friedman was apt to offer a friendly reminder yesterday that her personal hot streak on the scoresheet has coincided with countless other outstanding outbursts by her teammates, not to mention a nearly blemish-free month of hockey action for the PC women.

“I don’t think it has anything to do with personal points,” she said when informed that, just like last season, she has logged a whopping six points within the month of January.

“The team as a whole has been doing really well this month and everyone has seen their points go up. I just think that when the team starts to do well, all individuals do well.”

In Sunday’s road win over Boston College, the towering blueliner leveled home a one-timer at 11:12 of the second period, amounting to her ninth point of the season, which surpasses the eight she accumulated in all 36 games as a frosh.

By day’s end, Friedman had been on the ice for three of the Friars’ six goals. While that was only good enough for a plus-1 rating, it sprinkled a little more on her team-best plus-9 (discounting goaltender Genevieve Lacasse, who is a plus-10).

It might just be that, by linking up with senior captain Colleen Martin on the top blue line unit all season, Friedman has let a little of her senior partner rub off on her. Martin led Providence in the way of plus/minus last season at plus-10 and was an assertive plus-16 at the conclusion of the 2007-08 campaign.

And not unlike Friedman, Martin set a new scoring standard for herself during Sunday’s 6-3 triumph. Her assist on Alyse Ruff’s dagger goal equaled her eighth point of the season, one more than the previous high she set last year.

In fact, in addition to Friedman, three of the Friars’ defensive regulars (Christie Jensen, Leigh Riley, Amber Yung) have already had what might be termed a “career month” in the scoring department. And with two more games before the calendar Zamboni takes its next shift, Martin and Lauren Covell still have a little time to do the same.

“It’s really important that everyone on the ice is contributing offensively and defensively,” Friedman said. “But no matter how many goals you get, it all comes down to how many goals you let in.”

And indeed, while the seething BC strike force did cash in on three of its whopping eight third period power plays on Sunday, it did little more than bite partially and harmlessly into Friedman’s daily plus/minus and PC’s lead.

All but one of PC’s penalty killing segments was abbreviated either by a power play goal or by the Eagles writing their own ill-timed ticket to the sin bin. During their two longest tours of duty –one lasting 85 seconds, the other the full two minutes- the Friars’ PK brigade confined its adversaries to one shot on net or fewer.

“Even though they were getting a lot of shots and what seemed like a lot of opportunities, I think that defensively, we did really well,” said Friedman, who was credited with a team-high four blocked shots on Sunday.

“We kept them to the outside, and even though it seemed like they were catching up, we did a great job of getting the puck out of our zone and we did a great job along the boards.”

Of the unusual quantity of penalties, she shrugged. “You’ll face it in games to come. We just have to prepare and the team has been working on our penalty kill just as much as we have on our power play. We already knew what to expect.”

Quick feeds: For her three-point outing on Sunday, Ruff was named the league’s Player of the Week for the second time in four opportunities yesterday…Though belated by a little more than a week, head coach Bob Deraney’s 200th career victory got a quick stick salute from veteran college puck columnist John Connolly of the Boston Herald yesterday morning…While there is no guarantee the Friars will still be atop the Hockey East leaderboard after second-place Northeastern is finished tangling with Boston University tonight. However, PC did nudge up one slot (to No. 9) in yesterday’s revised USCHO national poll…The Friars took yesterday off and are slated to resume their regular training regimen today in preparation for Vermont’s visit this Friday.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com