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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Hockey Log

Day-by-day routine
PC women centered solely on immediate future

Friday night’s clean, classic 2-2 tie with the almighty Boston University didn’t quite cut it for the Friars to advance in USCHO’s weekly poll. In fact, upon yesterday’s revision, the deadlocked and gridlocked Providence team had one vote fewer (10 total) than it did last week as it stayed in the honorable mention slab, carrying half the points of the No. 10 ranked Harvard.

Odds are the Friars were one goal away last Friday from tipping the scale and crashing the glamorous echelon of the national leaderboard for the first time in the 2010-11 season.

But if they get their way on the ice all this week –starting tonight with a visit the 0-2-2 Yale Bulldogs, continuing with Saturday’s BU rematch at Walter Brown Arena, and rounding out in a home date with Maine on Sunday- any dispute should have some traction if they are not ranked at this time seven days from now.

No guarantees, of course that they’ll earn their spot come next week –regardless of one’s definition of “earn.” What is certain is head coach Bob Deraney won’t devote any breath to debate if his pupils fall short again.

“Don’t really care,” he said. “Honestly, I just want to continue to play better. I really don’t care what people think of us. All I care about is that we continue to be better.

“In order to be great, you have to play great against great teams. You have to know what it’s like and what it takes, and I guarantee you our kids will be preparing harder because they now know what’s out there.”

Naturally, the flipside to this week’s stakes is the ever-present danger of dawdling through a bout with statistically weaker opponents. That label fits the Bulldogs right now, with their winless transcript and a combined 12-6 score working against them through four games.

In the same vein, a wasted opportunity against the Black Bears –in spite of their surprisingly irreproachable 4-4-0 start- would likely prompt the pollsters to confiscate every table scrap the Friars hold until further notice.

Bottom line at ice level: PC just wants to play to win and check what happens on paper later.

“It’s just another game on the schedule,” Deraney said. “Another game in which we need to play great and try to get better. And I’m not giving you clichés, that’s our mentality.

“We have to get better. We have our sights set on a lot of different things this year and you can’t get there unless you take care of what you need to do today.

“I think it’s a really healthy mindset. It doesn’t allow you to take anything for granted, it doesn’t allow you to get too complacent, and it doesn’t allow you to get down. It’s just a really healthy way to go about it and we’ve got a terrific team that I think all the way through feels the same way. We’re just trying to be the best we can today.”

Lacasse splits weekly crown

Goaltender Genevieve Lacasse, who tied a season high with 40 saves last Friday, garnered her second Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week laurel in three opportunities yesterday. She shared this week’s prize with New Hampshire junior Lindsey Minton, who repelled a cumulative 39 shots in two shutout wins over Niagara.

Minton and Lacasse are Nos. 1 and 2 among Hockey East stoppers and rank second and third, respectively, in the country with .955 and .949 save percentages. Lacasse, though, has worked up a denser sweat. She leads the nation in total saves with 281 on 296 shots faced.

Quick feeds: Yale assistant coach Jess Koizumi, part of the first-year Joakim Flygh staff in New Haven, inserted four goals for the CWHL’s Boston Blades in a pair of weekend victories over Burlington at the Whittemore Center. PC assistant Karen Thatcher assisted on her game-winner in a 3-0 triumph on Saturday…The Friars are winless (0-4-1) in their last five annual meetings with the Bulldogs, snapping a four-game losing streak with a 2-2 tie at Schneider Arena last autumn. PC’s most recent win at Ingalls Rink was a 2-0 decision on December 10, 2000. The Friars have since gone 0-3-1 in that barn…Among active Friars, junior forwards Ashley Cottrell and Laura Veharanta lead the program with a goal and an assist apiece in their career against the Bulldogs…A win tonight will assure Providence a winning nonconference record (currently 6-2-0) for the first time since 2002-03, when the team went 9-5-5 in interleague games.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com