December 7, 2011

Women's Journal: Providence workhorse Lacasse nearing milestone

By Scott Sudikoff

Providence College goaltender Genevieve Lacasse helped her team to an important two-game split with Boston University this past weekend, notching 59 total saves. 

Providence College goalie Genevieve Lacasse (photo: Steve Slade)

Providence College goalie Genevieve Lacasse (photo: Steve Slade)

With the Friars’ triumph on Saturday, Lacasse earned her 58th career victory and is now one win away from tying the all-time Providence record.

With such a big record hovering over her, she deflects the pressure just as she deflects pucks away from her net.

“I really don't think about it much, so I would say no, I don't feel any added pressure,” said Lacasse. “I just feel extremely honored to be mentioned on the same list as Sara DeCosta (Warwick, R.I.) and Jana Bugden.”

DeCosta was a 2000 graduate from Providence and a second-team All-America as a well an ECAC Hockey first-team member. In addition, she helped lead the U.S. women to a gold medal in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Bugden, a 2007 graduate, holds the current school record with 59 career wins.

“Like most great players, she doesn’t think she is good. She always thinks she can be better,” said Providence coach Bob Deraney (West Roxbury, Mass.). “Because of that mentality, records will be broken, numbers will be added on to and, at the end of her career, she will be the most successful goaltender to ever wear the Providence College uniform.”

The senior from Kingston, Ont., has been a staple in the goal crease for the Friars since her freshman season, when she started in 28 games. Lacasse has already set the career saves and saves in a season records a year ago when she compiled a .941 save percentage and a 1.83 goals-against average.

After high school, Lacasse spent two years honing her skills in Chicago and Detroit. She was a member of the Chicago Young Americans when Deraney first saw her play at the Connecticut Polar Bear tournament; a meeting that almost did not happen.

“During the Polar Bear tournament, I was leaving a rink and driving by Newington, Conn. I could have driven right by the exit but decided to stop in and see who was playing,” explained Deraney. “I’m afraid to think where we’d be today if I didn’t decide to see what was going on in Newington that day.”

The impressive numbers for Lacasse continue to rack up. Last March, in the Hockey East tournament, she sparkled with 58 saves against Boston College, setting a tournament record. Just last week Lacasse earned her school record 16th career shutout in a 5-0 win over Union.

Of course, as a senior, Lacasse’s career in Providence is winding down, so she has an eye towards the younger goalies on the team that will be taking over after her departure.

“They are really receptive to what I have to say to them and the advice I give them, and they also help me and give me advice often,” explained Lacasse. “We compete with each other, and push each other to be the best we can be.”

“There couldn’t be a better mentor for our future goalies than Genevieve, and I know they feel the same,” added Deraney.

Deraney certainly understands the importance that Lacasse has had on Providence over the last three-plus seasons.

“She’s been arguably one of the real iron women in college hockey over the past four years,” said Deraney. “There’s no one in the country who has logged more minutes and faced more shots than she has.”

Lacasse’s first chance at tying the record comes on Thursday evening when the Friars host Harvard.

Games of the Week

Mercyhurst at Boston College, Friday and Saturday

The No. 4 Eagles host No. 6 Mercyhurst for a pair of out-of-conference games this weekend. BC is 5-2-0 in non-Hockey East contests this year, and wins against Mercyhurst could creep them higher up the rankings. Freshman Alex Carpenter (Reading, Mass.) is leading the Eagles with 10 goals and 10 assists in 17 games.

The Lakers are 11-3 after splitting a weekend series with No. 3 Cornell. Hillary Pattenden leads Mercyhurst in goal with a 1.73 GAA, a .936 save percentage and nine shutouts.

Around the region

Brown (3-5-5, 1-4-3 ECAC) was shut out in its two home games against Quinnipiac and Princeton. The Bears hope to end the first semester on a positive note against Sacred Heart on Wednesday night. … Connecticut (3-12-4, 2-5-2 WHEA) tied Vermont twice in Burlington, 2-2. The Huskies came from behind on Saturday before the Catamounts returned the favor on Sunday. … Dartmouth (5-5-1, 4-3-1 ECAC) is now 1-1 against Harvard after the Crimson came away with a 2-1 triumph last Wednesday. The Big Green held a 1-0 lead in the third before Harvard tallied two goals in 65 seconds. … Maine (9-7-1, 4-5-1 WHEA) showed well against BC, but lost a pair of one-goal games at home. The Black Bears play two at struggling Union this weekend to wrap up the first semester. … New Hampshire (6-10-3, 0-6-2 WHEA) thought it had its first league win on Saturday with a lead against Northeastern, but the Huskies forced a tie and then won 5-1 on Sunday. UNH has a tough test before the holiday break when they play Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend. … Providence (8-9-3, 6-4-1 WHEA) is third in the Hockey East in spite of being under .500 overall. The Friars take on Harvard on Thursday before getting three weeks off. … Sacred Heart (1-8 independent) earned its first win over Division 3 Williams College on Saturday, 5-2. The Pioneers battle Brown on Wednesday night before finishing first semester with a pair against Wesleyan over the weekend. … Vermont (3-10-6, 2-6-2 WHEA) has only won twice in its last 10 contests and has plenty of time to rest before its next game on Jan. 3 … Yale (1-14-0, 1-7-0 ECAC) will be off until Jan. 4 when it hosts Brown, which starts a three-game homestand.

New England women’s power ratings

1. Boston College (12-4-1, 7-2-1 WHEA) ... The Eagles stay on top after sweeping their series at Maine. Blake Bolden had the game-winner in Sunday’s 1-0 triumph. BC has the best power play in Hockey East at 21.1 percent.

2. Northeastern (12-4-1, 7-2-1 WHEA) ... The Huskies have jumped into a tie in the Hockey East standings with Boston College after a shutout win over BU, and then going 1-0-1 against New Hampshire. Kendall Coyne leads the league with 13 goals.

3. Boston University (10-8-1, 5-3-0 WHEA) ... The Terriers salvaged their week with a victory on Sunday against Providence on a Jill Cardella goal. They play mid-week at Northeastern before being off until January.

4. Quinnipiac (11-7-1, 7-2-1 ECAC) … The Bobcats jump into the top 5 after wins at Brown and Yale to move into first place in the ECAC standings. Chelsea Illchuck netted the OT winner on Saturday against the Bulldogs.

5. Harvard (5-4-0, 5-2-0 ECAC) ... The Crimson had just one game during the week, getting revenge on Dartmouth for a loss the week before. Harvard has just two games in December, this weekend against Providence and New Hampshire.

Scott Sudikoff can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.