Playoff-bound Princeton, No. 5 Quinnipiac come to Providence

Eliminated from postseason, Bruno looks to prove itself against top-ranked ECAC rivals

Sports Editor
Friday, February 20, 2015

Sarah Robson ’15, Janice Yang ’15.5, Lauren Vella ’15, Brittany Moorehead ’15 and Kaitlyn Keon ’15 will be recognized Saturday on Senior Day, as the Bears take on No. 5 Quinnipiac at home.

As a difficult season winds down, the women’s hockey team has been eliminated from conference tournament contention and will play its final two games this weekend. Though there are no trophies on the line, Bruno (5-21-1, 2-17-1 ECAC) still has plenty to play for.

“Each weekend, it doesn’t matter what our record was before,” said Head Coach Amy Bourbeau. “We’re still looking to win the games.”

The Bears will wrap up the 2014-15 season this weekend, hosting Princeton and No. 5 Quinnipiac with a chance to end their season on a high note and escape last place in the conference.

The Tigers (14-11-2, 12-7-1) will arrive on College Hill Friday night with their sights set on a better seed for the upcoming ECAC tournament. The team’s 25 points currently place it sixth in the conference, and it has clinched a berth in the tournament that welcomes the ECAC’s top eight finishers.

But the Tigers trail fourth-place St. Lawrence by just two points, and a strong weekend could end with Princeton having home-ice advantage in the first round.

The Bears will have an opportunity to dash the Tigers’ hopes, though it will not be easy. Princeton’s roster is laden with stars: Goalie Kimberly Newell ranks fourth in the conference with a .931 save percentage, and forward Molly Contini is fourth in the league with 18 goals.

Bruno led 1-0 after one period in the teams’ Jan. 10 meeting, but the Tigers took over after that and claimed a 5-1 victory.

“We played two great periods and we kind of fell apart,” Bourbeau said.

If the Tigers were not enough of a challenge, Quinnipiac (23-6-3, 14-4-2) poses an even greater threat.

The Bobcats’ defense is all but impenetrable, allowing a stunning 1.08 goals per game. With Bruno’s lackluster offense averaging just 2.11 goals per game — ninth in the ECAC — the Brown forwards will likely have a tough time generating chances in the offensive zone.

Quinnipiac’s offense is an uninspiring seventh in the league, scoring 2.69 goals per game, but it provides more than enough support for its staunch defense.

Bruno was shut out by the Bobcats in January and was outshot 35-9. But the Bears only allowed three goals and were in a scoreless draw past the midway point of the game.

“We were in a really close game with them last time for a little bit until they opened it up at the end,” Bourbeau said.

This weekend’s games will mark the final career appearances for five seniors, including forwards Kaitlyn Keon ’15 and Sarah Robson ’15, who are tied for the team lead in points.

“There’s no question we’re going to miss those guys. It’s a talented class overall,” Bourbeau said, singling out Keon as having been “instrumental this year.”

While the seniors have contributed heavily to this year’s team — all five rank in the top eight on the team in points — the Bears have a bevy of young talent. Sam Donovan ’18 leads the team in goals with 11, and both goalies to see the ice this season are underclassmen: Monica Elvin ’17 and Julianne Landry ’18.

“You can’t ask for more than” Donovan’s output as a first-year, Bourbeau said, adding that the team has the youth to compensate for the loss of its talented seniors.

“They’re going to have to fill those shoes next year, and I feel like they’re prepared to do it,” she said.

Bourbeau said she hopes to see her seniors go out on a high note, adding, “They usually play their best hockey on senior weekend.”

The Bears will drop the puck with Princeton at 7 p.m. Friday.

-With additional reporting by Alex Wainger