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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Rensselaer 3, Women's Hockey 2 (OT)

Rest-hungry Friars zapped in OT

Kate Bacon –who is garnering attention and accolades in the young weeks of her junior season as fast as she can pull off a Noremorean end-to-end rush- bought herself a surplus of chances to be the Friars’ hero last night.

She drew five of the opposing Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s seven penalties on the night, all of which could have been cashed in to grant PC another trendy multi-goal lead. She directly augmented a 1-0 edge with her team-leading seventh goal of the year in the first minute of the middle frame.

And even after RPI deleted that 2-0 difference, Bacon nearly buried the winner in the dying seconds of regulation, just failing to corral the pass in front of a gaping left slab of the net.

Ultimately, the Friars as a whole seemed too preoccupied with looking through a catalog of Halloween queen costumes to symbolize their recent five-game winning streak. As a consequence, that hot streak wilted in the form of a 3-2 overtime loss at Schneider Arena, the Engineers’ first win of their season after absorbing an acrid 0-3-2 transcript coming in.

“You can’t go by records and I think we underestimated them,” said Friars’ skipper Bob Deraney.
“We played the record instead of playing the team. I knew they were a good team, we told them they were a really good team.

“I think it was a combination of both their desperation and us undeservedly feeling good about ourselves.”

That would explain a lot. All things considered, the first period ended much closer than it could have as a thorny RPI defensive force killed four unanswered penalties, allotting PC six power play shots in that space.

By night’s end, Providence had whiffed on all seven of its advantages, taking eight vain stabs at the net in a cumulative 12:16 worth of 5-on-4 time. None of those failures jutted more than when the Engineers’ Kristen Jabukowski went off for hitting from behind at 14:19 of the first, and then was joined by Katie Daniels (cross-checking) at 16:08, spawning a 12-second 5-on-3 segment and 3:49 straight minutes of lopsided action.

Before Jabukowski’s arrest, the Friars were ahead, 1-0; ditto after Daniels’ jailbreak.

“We had some opportunities there,” said Deraney. “We could have had a bigger margin there, and we missed it. They made a nice adjustment afterwards and we made an adjustment, but I think that played a lot into the game, us not scoring on the power play early.”

The Friars did muster one even strength strike to nab the initial lead at 12:21 of the first. Defender Leigh Riley shipped a sound diagonal feed from the far point to the porch of the net, where an unbothered Abby Gauthier poked in her first goal of the season.

Gauthier promptly chipped in again to commence the second period, accepting Amber Yung’s pass out of her own end and touring down the far alley. Once parallel to the net, she sent a cross-ice pass to Bacon, who maneuvered around an unstrung, seat-sliding goaltender in Sonia van der Bliek (27 saves) with 44 seconds gone.

Through the rest of the stanza, the Engineers controlled the shooting gallery, 9-5, after being romped, 11-4, in that department in the first. Carrying their newfound energy into the first two minutes of the third, they converted twice on three hacks at PC stopper Genevieve Lacasse (24 saves).

Center Alisa Harrison got the rally going at the 0:48 mark, skulking undetected to the far post and raking in a cross-ice pass from winger Jordan Smelker.

Right off the subsequent face-off, RPI nearly buried the equalizer when Harrison swooped the puck in from the far lane and dished an assertive lateral pass to Clare Padmore. Lacasse foiled that one on a rod-hockey-goalie-like slide, but was less fortunate following the next draw.

With 1:44 gone in the period, the persistent Engineers stormed Lacasse’s estate and Jakubowski, looping behind the back of the cage, fed Toni Sanders for a one-time conversion behind the unprepared goalie.

The visitors reran that congesting, dirty-nose act in the bonus round, with Jill Vandegrift setting up Taylor Horton to roof the winner and send the Friars into mental retooling mode.

Deraney admitted that today’s do-over with Princeton dropping in for a 4:00 p.m. tangle is timely enough.

“It’s done. You can’t change it,” he said of last night’s drawback. “We need to learn from it and move forward. It’s the hardest season in the entire NCAA: Division I college hockey. It’s a grind. There’s too much parity, men or women, it doesn’t matter. Every time you show up, you have to come ready to play because anyone can beat anyone on a given night, and that’s the lesson we learned tonight.

“If we learn something from this, I’ll take it if we can win more hockey games because of it. I’ll sacrifice this loss for 10 more wins.”

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com