The women's hockey team fell to two tough ECAC opponents over the weekend, losing to Dartmouth, 5-2, on Friday and Harvard, 5-1, on Saturday at Meehan Auditorium.
The Bears (1-6-3, 0-5-3 ECAC) scored one more goal than they had totaled in their previous six games, and goaltender Katie Jamieson '13 recorded 81 saves over the two games, but Bruno could not keep up the intensity for a full 60 minutes in either game.
Dartmouth 5, Brown 2
The Bears hung tough with the Big Green (4-3-1, 4-3-1 ECAC) for most of the game, trailing by a single goal with six minutes remaining but ultimately succumbed to a ferocious Dartmouth attack that fired 53 shots.
Brown was hampered by the loss of top defender Samantha Stortini '11, who sat out both games with a concussion. Head Coach Digit Murphy praised Victoria Smith '13 for stepping up from her previous role as the fifth defender to pair with Nicole Brown '10 on a full shift schedule for the first time in her career. But Murphy noted the depleted defense tired more easily, especially on special teams.
The Big Green roared out to a 1-0 lead just 3:45 into the game on Camille Dumais's shot from the right point. Logging a 20-8 advantage in first-period shots, Dartmouth scored again to take a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
But the Bears came out energized in the second period. Brown got on the board 6:54 after intermission when Erica Kromm '11 was waiting at the left post to knock Jacquie Pierri's '12 shot from the right point into the back of the net. Paige Pyett '12 also picked up an assist on the play.
Dartmouth regained the two-goal lead 1:22 later, but Bruno responded at 12:31 when three freshmen connected for a goal. Smith sent the puck up to Laurie Jolin '13, who one-timed a pass right to the stick of Alena Polenska '13. Polenska charged down the left side of the ice and lifted a shot that beat Big Green goaltender Whitney Woodcox.
Murphy said she was impressed with the way the Bears "fought back" and hung tough with the Big Green, as the score remained 3-2 for the next 22 minutes. But Brown generated just six third-period shots — undone, Murphy said, by five penalties that short-circuited scoring chances and prevented the team from employing its depth.
"Our strength is in our numbers and our energy and our forecheck — that's how we generate offense," Murphy said.
Dartmouth had no trouble generating offense, taking 12 shots during the 5:23 Bruno spent in the penalty box en route to 21 total third-period shots. After notching an even-strength goal with 5:05 remaining, the Big Green produced the 5-2 final with a five-on-three goal 23 seconds before the final horn.
Murphy said the penalties killed any chance the Bears had to seize the momentum and tie the game, allowing Dartmouth to pull away.
"We have to make more momentum shifts our way," she said.
Harvard 5, Brown 1
The Bears created one big momentum shift against the Crimson (5-3-1, 5-3-0), tying the game midway through the second period, but were overwhelmed by a flood of power-play goals.
Harvard struck even faster than Dartmouth had when Kaitlin Spurling's shot from the right point found the back of the net just 3:37 into the game.
Murphy said that though it was a tough start to the game, the team did not fault Jamieson for the goal — especially after her strong play this season.
"Even though it hurt, she's been carrying us on her back all year," Murphy said. "She's an unbelievable goalie."
The Bears controlled much of the first period, taking nine shots during a power play lasting 4:43 that included 1:18 with a five-on-three.
But the Bears never got a fortuitous bounce. Crimson goalie Christina Kessler finished the first with 16 saves to keep Bruno off the board.
"We were in their end the whole first period, not only when we had the power plays but even at regular strength," Murphy said.
Polenska tied the game 6:43 after intermission. After receiving a pass from Kromm, she skated up the right side of the ice and beat Kessler to the upper left corner of the goal. Pierri picked up her second assist of the weekend on the play.
But the Bears collapsed over the final 30 minutes. Five penalties over the final 12:15 of the middle frame led to two second-period goals and another early in the third. The Crimson notched their fifth goal in the final minute as a Brown player was exiting the penalty box.
Brown will take a break from ECAC play this weekend to host St. Cloud State (5-9-0) for a pair of games Friday at 1 p.m. and Saturday at noon at Meehan. The Huskies, a member of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, are fresh off an upset of No. 6 Wisconsin, the defending national champion, but Murphy said the Bears have a chance if they stay out of the box and play full games.
"You take away the penalties, you take away the special teams, I like us 5-on-5," she said.
"I think we're a good team, (but) we beat ourselves. Until the team starts to understand that, we'll see what happens, but I know we can beat St. Cloud if we play three periods."
"We're playing a period and a half now," she added. "I hope by the end of this semester we'll have two, and so by January we'll play three."