Gross, Isaac stand out in opening weekend

Rookie forward earns hat trick, junior goaltender records first career shutout for women’s hockey team

Sports Editor
Friday, October 26, 2018

Calla Isaac ’20 (left) and Lizzy Gross ’22 (right) delivered impressive performances on the ice last weekend against Holy Cross.

The women’s hockey team opened its season in formidable fashion with a series sweep over the College of the Holy Cross last weekend. The Bears earned a 3-1 victory at Meehan Auditorium Friday before eclipsing the Crusaders in Worcester with a 4-0 shutout win Saturday. Bruno also notched four goals in the third period to earn a 5-3 comeback victory over the University of Connecticut at home Tuesday night.

Saturday’s contest was highlighted by impressive performances from goaltender Calla Isaac ’20, who recorded 32 saves for the first clean slate of her career with the Bears, and forward Lizzy Gross ’22, who earned a hat trick on her first collegiate points. Isaac made 56 saves in total for the weekend and garnered ECAC Goalie of the Week honors, while Gross was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week for her offensive efforts.

For their outstanding play on the ice last weekend, Isaac and Gross have been named The Herald’s Athletes of the Week.

Herald: Congratulations on winning the series last weekend. What was that like, and how did it feel for you all to open your season so strongly?

Isaac: For me, it was very different from the past two years for sure. Our team worked really hard, and we had a lot of offensive chances, which was really nice to see.

Gross: We knew we had something to prove, and I think we did this weekend and (Tuesday against UConn), and it’s because of our hard work during the preseason. … We just went to work and got the job done, which we just need to keep doing.

When did you start playing hockey?

Gross: I was like three or four. My dad made a backyard rink and my older brother played hockey, so I started because of him and then just continued.

Isaac: Basically the same as her — (my) older brother played and I was always at the rink, always watching and one day I was like ‘I really want to play this,’ so I started. I learned to skate when I was three or four but I think I actually started playing hockey when I was seven.

Did you play any other sports growing up?

Gross: Yeah, I played soccer and lacrosse all through high school, so last year was my last year for those two. So I was kind of sad to have that go, but hockey is obviously my main sport.

Isaac: I played … junior high basketball, soccer, volleyball. I’m also on the track and field team here at Brown so I’m doing two sports right now.

Do you have a favorite pro hockey team and a player you like to watch?

Gross: We’re (Detroit) Red Wings fans, even though I live in Maine — weird, I know. I always liked …  Patrick Kane and Pavel Datsyuk, those are probably my two favorites.

Isaac: Definitely the Oilers, so Edmonton — that’s my hometown. They’re not generally the best team, but I still cheer for them. And then Carey Price.

Do you have any pregame rituals or things you do to get into the zone?

Isaac: I like to throw balls against a wall and catch them for like half an hour, like a racquetball, and I have a reaction ball that I do too. That’s probably the extent. I always eat a banana.

Gross: Jacquie (Tam ’22) … (and I) like to play soccer before. We’ll try to beat our record in juggling.

Do you like to listen to music when you work out? What do you like to listen to?

Gross: Yes. In the gym, the song “breathin” by Ariana Grande reminds me of the Airdynes (laughs), so that’s a hard one to listen to, but I guess it gets us going.

Isaac: I listen to my free Spotify when I’m working out alone, which kind of sucks. … (laughs) You only get like three skips, so the song that you don’t like comes on in a crucial part of your workout, and you’re like, ‘I have to wait three minutes now.’

Has there been a most memorable experience in your Brown career so far?

Gross: Probably Saturday night for me, my first goal.

Isaac: For me, it was definitely (Tuesday) night just to see our team work so hard and come back. We have generally not fought so hard and just to see everyone work so hard and to have it pay off is amazing.

Gross: Yeah, that game for me too — I think that’s the most excited I’ve been about a hockey game in a while.

What’s your favorite thing about being on the women’s hockey team?

Gross: We’re all close already, it’s a super-close team friend-wise, … and everyone’s there for each other. I think that’s part of the reason we won (Tuesday) night because everyone wanted to be there for each other, everyone wanted to work hard for each other, so I like that.

Isaac: I like working super hard, putting everything out there and seeing everyone around me in the same position — just super tired (and) exhausted, but still willing to put the extra effort in.

What are your team aims for the season?

Isaac: Make playoffs.

Gross: Yeah. Be the hardest working team on the ice every day, every game.

The Bears open conference play tonight at Quinnipiac University. Face off is at 6 p.m.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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