Feb. 1, 2009
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Providence College traveled to Storrs, Conn. and suffered a 2-1 overtime defeat at the hands of the No. 8 Huskies. Freshman goaltender Genevieve Lacasse (Scarborough, Ont.) stopped 34 shots and classmate Laura Veharanta (La Verne, Calif.) scored the lone goal for PC. With the loss, the Friars fall to 15-11-2 (10-4-1).
After a physical contest on Saturday, both teams looked to establish themselves early in the first. The two teams exchanged chances throughout the period but the two netminders were up to the challenge as neither team was able to find the back of the net in the first 20 minutes. The Friars nearly took the lead at 8:50 when senior Erin Normore (Cambridge, Ont.) picked up a loose puck on the right wall in the neutral zone and stick-handled across the Huskie blue line. Normore came in on UConn's Brittany Wilson from the right face off circle but her wrist shot was denied by a flash of Wilson's glove. The Friars would have several rebound opportunities throughout the period but Wilson and the Huskie defense came up with the necessary blocks to deny any quality chances.
At 17:27, UConn looked to open the scoring when Michelle Binning put a shot on Lacasse that rebounded back into the slot. Binning tried to slip the puck by the left post but Lacasse made a sprawling save to keep the score deadlocked at 0-0. The Friars went into the locker room ahead on shots, 9-8.
The two teams came out of the locker rooms and each had quality chances within the first few minutes. At 17:30, senior Steph Morris (South Burlington, Vt.) fired a shot just wide from the slot and UConn forward Dominique Thibault picked up the loose puck and came storming through the neutral zone but her shot towards the top right corner went high and wide . The Huskies knocked again at 8:04 when Thibault outskated the Friar defense before sliding a pass through the slot to Binning. Binning's shot from the bottom of the right faceoff circle was denied by the sliding left pad of Lacasse.
Rookie forward Laura Veharanta (La Verne, Calif.) would break the deadlock 16:20 into the middle stanza on a shot during a scrum in front of Wilson. Veharanta was able to slap the loose puck into the lower right corner of the net as she went sprawling to the ice. Captain Brittany Simpson (Barrie, Ont.) was credited with her 11th assist on Veharanta's team-leading 15th goal of the season. Veharanta's 15 goals are the most by a PC freshman since Sonny Watrous netted 16 in 2003-2004. The 11 assists for Simpson matched a career-high set last season.
Neither team scored the last few minutes as time expired in the second with PC up 1-0. PC still held the edge in shots, 17-15.
Coming out for the third, UConn put the pressure on the Friars as they shoutshot PC, 19-8 in the final stanza. The continuous string of shots paid off at 10:41 when Thibault knocked in a rebound off a shot from Crisin Allen on the power-play. The Friars were unable to generate many quality scoring chances the rest of the period before UConn earned a power-play at 18:41. With 19 seconds remaining in regulation, Binning found time in the slot and nearly gave the huskies the game-winner but Lacasse came up with a right shoulder save to send the game into overtime.
The Friars started the overtime period down a player for 41 seconds. PC successfully killed off the penalty but just 9 seconds later, UConn's Monique Weber put a shot on frame. Lacasse stopped the initial shot, but Nicole Tritter was there to slide the rebound through the five hole of the PC netminder.
Lacasse finished the game with 34 saves but falls to 13-8-0 while Wilson denied 24 shots and sees her record improve to 14-5-1 on the season.
The Friars are next in action when they host Northeastern at Schneider Arena on Friday, February 6 at 7:00 p.m. for the 2009 Skating Strides game. All proceeds from the game will go to benefit the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research Foundation.
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