Sports

Women’s ice hockey falls victim to rigorous conference schedule

Poor performance over winter break extends losing streak to nine games

By
Sports Staff Writer
Friday, January 23, 2015

Bruno suffered some setbacks against tough conference opposition, falling big against nationally ranked teams. Surprisingly, the Bears’ once potent power play went a measly 1-for-22 over the six game skid.

The women’s ice hockey team fought through a tough winter break schedule but was not able to grab any victories, losing all six of its games to extend its losing streak to nine games overall. All games were conference clashes against strong opposition. While the score lines may suggest something about the team, they do not accurately reflect the gritty performances put forth by the players.

“Our team needs to be more consistent,” said captain Lauren Vella ’15. “With only five weekends left in the season, everybody needs to play their best hockey every day.”

No. 5 Harvard 6, Brown 0
Brown (4-15-0, 1-11-0 ECAC) could not stifle the high-octane offense of the Crimson (12-3-2, 9-2-1), which ranks third nationally in team offense, and suffered a 6-0 defeat. Harvard is ranked fifth nationally and showed its class by scoring two goals in each period. Brown goaltender Monica Elvin ’17 prevented any further damage by stopping 25 shots in total.

Bruno could not convert on any of its six power play chances, an area in which the team usually excels. By the end of the game, the team had only mustered 11 shots on goal, but did manage to hold the faceoff advantage, 27-22, with assistant captain Kaitlyn Keon ’15 winning 14 of her 22 faceoffs.

Dartmouth 5, Brown 1
The next day, the team suffered another defeat at the hands of an Ivy League and ECAC foe, this time by a score of 5-1. The Big Green (10-7-1, 6-5-1) unleashed a flurry of shots on goal. Fortunately, Julianne Landry ’18, Bruno’s backup netminder, made a career-high 38 saves, holding the opposition to just five goals. Unlike its last game, Brown’s typically strong power play converted one of its two chances, with Sarah Robson ’15 netting a goal at the end of the first period — her fourth of the season — to cut the deficit to 3-1. Unluckily, Dartmouth came out and scored two more in the second period to secure its victory.

No. 3 Quinnipiac 3, Brown 0
After a heated match against its toughest opponent to date, Brown fell to third-ranked Quinnipiac (20-2-3, 11-1-2). Bruno fought valiantly and managed to hold the tenth-ranked offense scoreless through the first period and part of the second. Elvin shone again, recording 32 saves, including 13 in the first period. The Bears provided Elvin with solid team defense, blocking 11 shots in the game.

Unfortunately, the squad could not hold the Bobcats at bay for any longer, as Quinnipiac scored two in the second period and netted one more in the third to confirm its triumph. Bruno also faced a team that boasts the best defensive record in the nation, allowing a measly .91 goals per game, and one of the best goalies in the nation, senior Chelsea Laden, who has recorded 12 shutouts in her 24 starts. All nine of the Bears’ shots were stopped by Laden, and the team could not translate either of its power plays into goals.

Princeton 5, Brown 1
A day after being shutout by Quinnipiac, Maddie Woo ’17 recorded her fourth goal of the season to give the Bears a slim advantage at the end of the first period. But the team could not maintain the lead, as the Tigers (10-9-1, 8-6-0) scored five unanswered goals.

Bruno could not penetrate Princeton’s stalwart defense beyond the opening period. Unlike past games, they peppered the opposition with 24 shots, holding the edge in this category by four. The players also narrowly prevailed in the faceoff duel, winning 23 to the Tigers’ 21. Despite these advantages, Brown’s normally stout penalty-killing unit was not able to stop Princeton’s electric power play, which notched goals on three of its five opportunities.

Colgate 3, Brown 0
Though Elvin recorded a career-high 39 saves, it was not enough to thwart the Raiders (5-18-0, 2-9-0), as they triumphed by a mark of 3-0. Colgate came out strong offensively with an 18-shot barrage on Elvin in the opening period. The netminder stood tall and turned aside all of them, leaving the teams at a scoreless deadlock after one period.

The Bears increased their offensive pressure in the second period, outshooting their opponents 13-12. Yet the team ended the game with only 18 shots, the same as Colgate’s first period total. The Raiders’ power play abilities proved to be the deciding factor in the second period, resulting in two goals in two opportunities. Brown stuck close in the third as both Robson and Woo had quality scoring chances that were stymied by the opposing goalie. Colgate killed the two power plays Bruno had in the second period and added an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

No. 10 Cornell 4, Brown 2
The Bears encountered another nationally ranked Ivy League opponent, this time the No. 10 Big Red. Brown surrendered the lead on two different occasions, and Cornell ended the game with three consecutive goals. Brittany Moorehead ’15 struck first with less than one minute left in the first period, scoring her fourth of the year. The lead was short-lived, as the Big Red scored a mere 28 seconds later, leaving the two teams in a stalemate at the end of the first. Bruno regained the advantage through an unassisted, shorthanded tally by Robson. Once again, Cornell retaliated 10 minutes later with a goal of its own. This was the first of its three unanswered goals, two of which came as a result of Cornell’s seventh-ranked power play. The opposing Big Red bested Bruno’s 21 shots with 38 of its own. Bruno also couldn’t score on any of its three power plays, which helped decide its fate.

A distinct lack of shots on goal and inability to translate power play prospects into goals often hindered the Bears during this winless six-game stretch. They were outshot by their opponents 207-95 in total. Moreover, one of the team’s strongest characteristics is its ability to capitalize on the power play. Its unit ranked fourth nationally at the end of the first semester. Yet, it finished this streak of games with a conversion rate of 1-of-22, or 4.5 percent.

“I think overall, we need a bit more consistency in our play. One game we play great and the next we struggle,” said Head Coach Amy Bourbeau.

Despite all of these statistics, the team did manage to stay competitive in many of these games. They killed many teams’ power play chances and blocked copious shots to keep themselves in the fight. Going up against some of the toughest adversaries in the nation is no easy task.

“The takeaway is … it is good to know we are playing strong hockey against the best teams in the country,” Bourbeau said.

This weekend, Brown looks to end its winless streak and improve its overall play in a weekend doubleheader against Yale.

“This is a huge weekend for us,” Keon said. “Four points are on the line and we are looking to squeeze into a playoff spot.”

Bourbeau cited shots on goal and power plays as the two keys to Bruno’s success against the Elis. Two more losses could drop the team into sole possession of last place in the conference standings.

The Bears host the Bulldogs in Meehan Auditorium Friday at 7 p.m. and then travel to New Haven the following day for a rematch at 4 p.m.