After a grueling opening stretch of games that included top ECAC competition, the women’s hockey team finally got the monkey off its back, using a much-needed offensive outburst to defeat Sacred Heart, 6-1, and earn its first win of the 2015-16 campaign.
Sam Donovan ’18 led the charge for Brown (1-6-0, 0-4-0 ECAC), netting her first career hat trick. Donovan’s three-goal performance was the first for the program since 2012, when Sarah Robson ’15 did the same against Yale.
The offense got going halfway through the first period, when Maddie Woo ’17 found Donovan wide open in front of the net. The sophomore snuck a backhand shot through Pioneers goalie Nicole Magee to give Bruno the early lead.
Brown outshot the Pioneers (0-3-0) 23-4 in the first period, but the score remained at 1-0 until a minute into the second, when Samantha Swanstrom ’18 split the defense and banked a shot off the inside of the post for her first goal of the season. The Pioneers answered with a goal later in the period, but the Bears carried the slim 2-1 lead into the final 20 minutes.
Despite the one-goal differential, the Bears appeared to be dominating all facets of the game, outshooting the Pioneers 33-16 through two periods. Sacred Heart struggled to break the puck out, mostly due to effective pressure by Brown’s forwards.
“We played really aggressive tonight and possessed the puck well,” said Head Coach Bob Kenneally ’90.
Bruno would take advantage of the disparity in puck possession in the third to secure the win. Katie Swanstrom ’18 matched her sister with a goal 2:23 into the period, rifling a wrist shot into the top corner past the reach of Magee.
“We’ve really been focusing with them to shoot the puck more,” Kenneally said of the Swanstrom sisters.
Bridget Carey ’19 netted her second goal of the season just three minutes later off a pass from Woo.
Another season first for the Bears was a power play goal, which came with a little more than two minutes left in the game courtesy of Donovan. Woo fired a shot on net, and Donovan reached out to deflect the puck into the twine.
Donovan completed her trifecta in the final seconds after collecting a pass from Jenna Hewitt-Kenda ’19, who earned her first collegiate point with the assist.
The top line of Woo, Donovan and Carey continued its offensive success. The three accounted for four of the team’s six goals, and Woo contributed three assists.
Donovan is “probably the smallest one on the ice every game, but she’s so gritty,” Kenneally said. “She just got rewarded for all her hard work.”
Kenneally was understandably pleased with the offensive production, especially after being shut out in four of the six games to start the season. “Scoring goals is a lot about confidence,” he said. “We’ve had so many opportunities, and to actually have them go in tonight is a really good sign for us.”
“It’s one thing to shoot the puck; it’s another thing to shoot to score. We shot to score tonight,” he added.
Julianne Landry ’18 and Monica Elvin ’17 split the game in net. Elvin stopped all 11 shots she faced and Landry added 9 saves of her own.
Bruno now faces a seven-game road stretch, starting with two next weekend at RIT. The team will not return home to play at Meehan Auditorium again until Jan. 8.