This Week in D-I Women’s Hockey: Feb. 14, 2008

Okay. By now last week’s bench clearing brawl involving the RIT and Canisius College mens teams have made the YouTube rounds. One clip has had nearly 19,000 viewings to date (and rising daily).

But last week’s women’s action produced a few YouTube-worthy clips of its own.

Take the goal scored by North Dakota junior Casie Hanson in the Sioux’s 2-1 loss to St. Cloud State, .

It, too, is posted on “the Tube”, but with a slightly smaller view count than the brawl clip.

About 18,800 fewer views, as a matter of fact.

Which is a shame, because Hanson’s full extension lunge is well worth the watching.

It might even remind you of a similar goal scored by Bobby Orr.

That won a Stanley Cup for the Boston Bruins, back in 1970, a full 17 years before Hanson was born.

Thus it’s not a surprise that she was unaware that her feat rivaled Orr’s, in its athleticism if not its importance.

“I haven’t seen that goal,” she said.

Then again, she didn’t see her own eye popper, either.

That’s because she had already crashed into the boards by the time the puck got past St. Cloud goalie Kendall Newell.

“I didn’t see it go in,” she said. “When everybody started cheering, it was like, ‘holy cow. It actually went in.’”

The play unfolded in the NoDak end, then proceeded up the right boards, where Hanson’s linemate Melissa Jaques took over near the red line.

That’s when Hanson began to accelerate.

“I was yelling to her,” Hanson said. “I knew she was on her back hand, because she’s a lefty. She was getting dragged down, so I’m just yelling ‘pass it over, pass it over’. Then it’s like, ‘oh, crap it’s a little farther than I thought.’”

By this time, Hanson was already barreling down the slot. Rather than let the scoring opportunity slide past her, she heard the little voice inside her head. And it was yelling, “lunge”!

“When I saw it,” she said, “I knew I wouldn’t be able to skate to it, if I didn’t dive for it. So it was like, ‘gotta go. Get a goal. Basically it was a lucky goal.”

Then again, “luck,“ as legendary baseball man Branch Rickey is believed to have said, “is the residue of design.”

You won’t find that on YouTube, though.

Nor will you find the goal scored last week by Vermont goaltender Kristen Olychuck. That’s right, a goal by a goaltender.

It’s one of hockey’s rarest feats, and it’s believed to be the first ever netted by a women’s college netminder.

In this case, Olychuck saw the goal. She just didn’t know she was it was her goal.

In fact it wasn’t officially her goal until a few hours after the end of Vermont’s 3-1 loss to Boston University, Friday.

It was awarded to her after a video review of an errant pass by a BU forward while awaiting a delayed penalty called to Vermont.

That’s when it was discovered that Olychuck was the last Catamount to touch the puck before it slid the length of the ice and into the BU cage, which had been vacated by goalie Allyse Wilcox.

“I saw that they were getting a penalty,” said Olychuck, who transferred this year to UVM from Sacred Heart. “And I was yelling for one of my players to touch the puck. The girl from BU who had the puck, shot it, and I made a stick save into the corner. She went to pick it up and tried passing it to her point man. But it was a little off, and it trickled all the way down the ice.”

Initially awarded to freshman defenseman Hannah Westbrook, Olychuck had no inkling that she would end up on the score sheet, herself.

“I didn’t even think about it,” she said, “I was too excited that we had scored. It was pretty funny.”

The goal sent Bruce Bosley, UVM’s womens’ hockey contact, scurrying for the record books. Thus far, he hasn’t come up with a precedent.

So far now, at least, Olychuck is alone in the goalie scoring race.

“That’s cool,” she said. “I didn’t even know we (goaltenders) would be on the stat sheet as having goals and assists. Just the goalie stats. I didn’t think that we would be on there. Now they’re talking about putting me on the forward line.”