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Monday, February 7, 2011

Hockey Log

Veharanta reignites
Junior winger lone star in Friars’ loss


Laura Veharanta sat motionless on the threshold of a third consecutive double-digit-point campaign for precisely nine weeks.

After an insurance goal in a 4-2 home win over New Hampshire Dec. 4 upped her bushel to nine points in 18 games, a pointless outing versus Connecticut, a four-week respite, and a barren January formulated a 10-game drought for the winger who once led the PC women with a 16-15-31 log as a rookie in 2008-09.

That elusive 10th point finally arrived yesterday afternoon in the form of Veharanta’s first power play goal of the season. After Molly Schaus had denied her thrice, including twice on previous power plays, Veharanta beat Boston College’s stronghold goaltender for the first time in six career meetings, hitting the five-hole at 14:08 of the second period, sawing a 2-0 deficit in half.

Proving she had a little traction, Veharanta –who took a team-leading six shots on goal in the 4-2 loss- would later pull a 2-2 knot with 3:35 gone in the closing frame. Linemate Kate Bacon won a defensive zone face-off back to blueliner Amber Yung, who made a forward shipment to Veharanta along the near wall.

Veharanta would singlehandedly tour the puck from zone to zone and roofed the equalizer on a long-range wrister, bringing her up to an 8-3-11 scoring transcript on the year.

In the midst of cracking through her chrysalis, Veharanta bailed a quartet of playmakers out of their own personal fetters. With assists on her first strike, two-way junior Lauren Covell garnered her first point in 20 games, dating back to Oct. 23, while the normally prolific point patroller Jen Friedman earned her second helper in three games after going arid in her previous five outings.

Meanwhile, Bacon, still PC’s top gun with 24 points on the year, averted what would have been a season-worst three-game scoreless skid. And Yung now has two assists in her last five ventures after previously trudging through a 10-game hex.

“It’s great when you get scoring from different people,” said Friars’ head coach Bob Deraney. “We’ll take scoring from anybody. It was just nice to see Laura take ownership today and try to contribute. We need more people to do that.”

Yesterday was also Veharanta’s third multi-goal effort of the season –on top of Oct. 9 versus St. Lawrence and Nov. 2 at Yale- and the fifth of her career.

Stack silenced
Kelli Stack, the face of BC’s offense and now the all-time leading scorer in Hockey East regular season action, failed to tune the mesh for the first time in five games. Although she assisted on Danielle Welch’s third goal, her own strike would have tied her with former teammate Allie Thunstrom for most in a single WHEA season (21).

Stack’s most stimulating chance to light the lamp firsthand fell with 1:37 remaining in the second period, when teammate Taylor Wasylk blocked Yung’s shot and initiate a counterattack. Floating down the left alley, Stack soaked in Wasylk’s feed and skated to within prodding distance of Friars’ goalie Genevieve Lacasse.

Lacasse held her post to summon a whistle and the officiating crew went to video review to confirm Stack had not scored. But with the assist, barring a post-season encounter, the BC Olympian will still finish her college career with seven goals and 18 points in 13 games against Providence.

Jensen sits once more
Junior defender Christie Jensen, still flushing out the remnants of an injury that has kept her out of game action for two weeks, took part in yesterday’s warm-up period, but made a game time decision to return to the sidelines.

“Hopefully, by doing that, she’ll be with us for the long haul,” said Deraney. Translation: Jensen should be available for practice this week and will be ready to resume extramural action by Saturday afternoon, when Connecticut drops in at Schneider Arena.

The art of drawing
Jessie Vella drew three of BC’s seven infractions, although none of them precipitated any power play goals.

With 5:46 remaining in the first period, Danielle Doherty was found guilty of holding Vella back as she tried to push through neutral ice. In the final minute of the same stanza, Meagan Mangene pursued a little too much contact as she and Vella stepped over the Eagles’ blue line, earning herself a two-minute sentence for interference.

And at 3:12 of the second, Mary Restuccia committed a flagrant tripping foul that sent Vella sliding into the boards along the PC bench and herself to the bin, giving the Friars a two-player advantage for 71 seconds.

Quick feeds: Of the 11 full-time forwards to suit up for Providence yesterday, co-captain Jean O’Neill was the only one not to register a shot on goal…Alyse Ruff lost 17 of her 26 face-offs and went pointless for the sixth consecutive game, tying a career-worst drought that spanned Jan. 12-26, 2008…Veharanta, Cohen, and Emily Groth were all credited with three shots on goal in the second period…Veharanta and senior defender Leigh Riley were the only Friars to earn a positive plus/minus rating. Seven other PC skaters, including all five starters, finished one point in the red…BC’s Dru Burns and Restuccia each charged up two assists.

Al Daniel can be reached at hockeyscribe@hotmail.com