Athlete of the Week: Sam Donovan ’18 lifts Bears to first win with hat trick

First three-goal effort from team since 2012 propels Brown to 6-1 victory over Sacred Heart

Staff Writer
Friday, November 20, 2015

When the women’s hockey team lost its first six games by a combined score of 24-2, team morale was low. But Sam Donovan ’18 would have none of it. Saturday against Sacred Heart, Donovan dominated, recording a hat trick and helping the Bears to a 6-1 win — their first of the season.

Donovan’s scoring breakout is hardly surprising: She led the team in goals last year with 12 and finished third in points with 17. She also led the team in shooting percentage and even recorded 20 blocked shots. To end the year, she earned ECAC All-Academic Team honors.

Donovan opened the scoring for the Bears Saturday at the 9:52 mark of the first period, when, after a Bears takeaway in the offensive zone, she flicked a backhand past Sacred Heart goalie Nicole Magee. Donovan was dormant in the second period but came roaring back late in the third. With the Bears on the power play at 17:11, Maddie Woo ’17 took a slap shot from near the blue line, and Donovan dove around her defender to deflect it into the net. With only 11 seconds remaining in the game, Donovan received the puck in the corner and skated it in, firing a wrist shot past the keeper.

For her superb ice awareness, lethal wrist shot and gutsy play, Donovan has been named The Herald’s Athlete of the Week.

Herald: When did you start playing hockey?

Donovan: When I was little — probably four or five.

Is high school hockey really big in Minnesota, where you’re from?

Yeah, it’s a pretty big thing. It’s kind of different from out East.

What have you thought of your time with the Brown program so far?

I’ve loved it so far. We have a new coach this year, Bob Kenneally ’90, and I love him. He’s great. He loves all of us, and it’s a really good experience.

For your second goal on Saturday, you dove around a defender and deflected it up into the corner of the net. What was that process like?

Well, it was all because of Woo. She ripped a shot from the point, and I was just standing there, and I didn’t really have to do anything. It was pretty much all Woo. She has such a hard shot.

What have you thought of the season so far?

It’s been good. We have three seniors, but we’re pretty young, and we’re still learning the game and figuring out different things. Our coach has been trying to teach us new things.

Did you feel like it all came together against Sacred Heart?

Yeah, a lot of people had more confidence in themselves, which was really good. Cynthia Kyin ’18, our defenseman, was taking rushes like I’ve never seen before. It was amazing.

Woo  is obviously unstoppable. She’s a great, really solid player. Erin Conway’s ’17 confidence was a lot better. The twins (Katie Swanstrom ’18 and Samantha Swanstrom ’18) scored their first two goals of the season, which was awesome — snipes, of course.

Everyone played really well. The goalies were great. They’ve been playing very well this year.

Do you think this could start to turn things around?

I hope so. I think we can do it. We have two away games this weekend against RIT. Hopefully we can get some wins out of that, and then we play Union coming up. Hopefully, this turns things around.

If you could play any other sport, what would it be?

I played lacrosse and soccer in high school, but besides that, I don’t even know. I can’t play basketball; I’m too short for that. Rugby would be kind of cool, but I don’t know anything about it.

— This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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