After losing four straight games, the women’s ice hockey team needed to perform well at home against No. 3 Cornell and Colgate over the weekend to maintain hopes of claiming the final spot in the ECAC playoffs. Despite losing 5-0 Friday against Cornell, the Bears bounced back the following afternoon with a 3-2 victory over the Raiders. With the win, the Bears are now tied with Rensselaer for the eighth and final playoff spot with only two games remaining on the schedule.
Cornell 5, Brown 0
Friday night, Brown (8-12-7, 5-11-4 ECAC) hosted a streaking Cornell (24-3, 18-2) squad that had routed the Bears 9-0 in Ithaca Oct. 29.
The Big Red kicked off the scoring midway through the first period. Despite stopping the first eight shots of the game, goalkeeper Katie Jamieson ’13 could not prevent Cornell’s Erin Barley-Maloney from slotting home the puck. Not long after, with less than two minutes remaining in the first period, the Big Red got its second goal from Laura Fortino.
Though Cornell outscored and outshot (16-7) Brown in the first period, Head Coach Amy Bourbeau said she was pleased with her team’s performance in the early going.
“We played probably one of our best first periods of the season,” Bourbeau said. “I thought we did a decent job.”
It did not take long for Cornell to increase its lead in the second period. After just 28 seconds, the Big Red’s Rebecca Johnston scored off a midrange shot that Jamieson failed to control. Despite conceding their third goal, the Bears did well to increase offensive pressure in the second period, outshooting Cornell 14-9. But even with more attacking, the Bears could not find a way past Cornell netminder Lauren Slebodnick.
The Big Red re-established its control of the game and dominated Brown in the third period. In addition to limiting the Bears to just two shots, Cornell built a commanding five-goal lead after Barley-Maloney and Johnston each scored their second goals of the game.
Notwithstanding the five goals, Jamieson managed 44 saves, half of which came in the third period.
“They’re quick, and they’re strong,” Bourbeau said of Cornell, which clinched its third consecutive ECAC title with a 6-1 win over Yale the following night. “They start to just tire you out over time.”
Brown 3, Colgate 2
The Bears looked to end their losing streak Saturday afternoon against Colgate (10-19-2, 5-13-2) — a team also vying for the final ECAC playoff spot — on Senior Day at Meehan Auditorium. But after just 20 seconds into the first period, such an outcome seemed unlikely. Making the most of a poor defensive rotation and a bouncing puck, Colgate forward Melissa Kueber managed to poke one past Brown goalkeeper Aubree Moore ’14 for the first goal of the game, putting the Raiders up before there was even a line change.
“The start of it was not the way we wanted it to go,” Bourbeau said. “I don’t think we were quite ready to play.”
Despite the early sloppiness, Bruno bounced back. Forward Sarah Robson ’15 scored the equalizer off a rebound with less than two minutes remaining in the first period.
During the second period, Brown and Colgate looked evenly matched, firing 13 shots apiece. But the Bears were the next ones to find the back of the net, as Jessica Hoyle ’14 broke the scoring deadlock in the 11th minute.
The Raiders quickly increased pressure on the offensive end, forcing Moore to make several remarkable stops. At one point, midway through the second period, Moore’s glove was knocked off, but she still pulled off a gutsy, barehanded save on the goal line.
“(Moore)’s always excellent,” Bourbeau said. “It’s hard to say anything other than that.”
But Colgate’s Brittany Phillips snuck one over Moore’s glove on a breakaway and evened the score 2-2. The tie lasted only 30 seconds. Robson came to the Bears’ rescue once again, smashing in a rebound for what proved to be the game-winning goal and her 10th score of the season.
The Raiders outshot Bruno in the third period and pressed for the tying goal, but could not get the puck past Moore, who Bourbeau called the team’s “backbone.”
“It wasn’t our best effort,” Bourbeau said. “But they wanted it so bad, and they were so happy to get this done for the senior class.”
The win turned around the Bears’ fortunes, but the tasks ahead of the team will not be easy. This weekend, the Bears will go on the road for a pair of tough matchups with second-place Harvard and fifth-place Dartmouth, needing points to keep their season alive.