Notes from Friar practice

schneidPROVIDENCE — Stopped in at Providence College’s Schneider Arena this afternoon and gathered a few nuggets of news:

*** Erik Foley won’t play this weekend when the Friars visit St. Lawrence and Clarkson, but he’s expected to return “sooner rather than later,’’ according to coach Nate Leaman. Foley sat out Sunday’s loss to Boston College with an upper body injury.

*** The coaching staff made a couple of changes on the top two lines involving Josh Wilkins and Scott Conway. Wilkins, who played center in the first three games of the season, is back at right wing next to Brian Pinho. Wilkins put up 31 points as a freshman last season with Pinho as his center. Kasper Bjorkqvist is the left wing on the line.

Conway, who  was given a maintenance day on Wednesday, is back at center after starting the season on Pinho’s right side. Conway’s wingers on Tuesday were Brandon Duhaime and Ryan Tait.

*** Mental toughness has been a topic this week after PC blew a three-goal lead in Sunday’s loss

“Our brains went haywire – no mental toughness. That’s all we talked about. Mental  toughness to execute. Stay with the game plan. Stay with the forecheck. Stay with the D zone. We were a mess after we went up 3-0,’’ Leaman said.

*** Even though St. Lawrence is 0-4 – losing to Penn State, Michigan and North Dakota twice – Leaman expects PC to be tested at Appleton Arena on Friday night. “We know how tough it is to go up there and play. I don’t think their record indicates the type of team they have,’’ he said.

Clarkson, Saturday night’s opponent, is 3-0-1 with wins over Penn State and Michigan and a win and a tie Western Michigan. The Golden Knights are ranked 10th in the USA Today/US College Hockey Magazine poll and 12th in the USCHO.com rankings.

*** Playing tough opponents will pay off for the Friars, Leaman says. “We do not have an easy schedule. We come back and we’ll have BC, BU and BU again. It gives us a real good opportunity to grow. If we had a real soft schedule and were 6-0, maybe you grow and maybe you don’t. I can tell you this, with the challenges we have, we’re going to grow and get better. That’s the bonus,’’ he said.

“We’re seeing officials from three different leagues, too, in three different weekends. I like the mental challenge with that also. The way the game was called at home was very different from the way it was at Miami, which is probably different from the way it will be at St. Lawrence/Clarkson. That’s another aspect that is healthy for us — to grow the mental aspect of the game, learn to adjust and play the game.’’

*** PC will practice at Schneider on Thursday morning and then hit the road for the six-plus hour trip to upstate New York.

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