The Bears returned for their home opener after five losses on the road to defeat Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2-1, earning their first victory of the season. The following night Bruno fell to Union College 1-4 on home ice.
“I think being home always has an impact,” said Head Coach Carisa Wahlig. “You’ve got your family, friends and your own routine. It definitely makes a difference.”
The first frame was dominated by RPI (0-9-1, 0-3-0 ECAC), with the Engineers scoring the initial goal of the match on a power play. But thanks to the efforts of goalkeeper Calla Isaac ’20, it would be their only score in the competition. Isaac posted a 0.968 save percentage, stopping 31 shots over the course of the night for the Bears (1-6-0, 1-3-0). Her performance this weekend bumped her to the fourth highest amount of saves in the league this season at 155.“I just took it one goal at a time. …There was a lot of traffic in front of me,” Isaac said. “As a goalie, you have to be able to brush off (letting a goal in) because if you get down, that impacts the whole team.”
Despite two power plays and winning more than half of the face-offs, Bruno was unable to slide one past the Engineers in the first period.
As the Bears skated into the second stanza, the momentum seemed to shift in Brown’s favor. Despite a torrent of Bruno shots, the first fifteen minutes of the period passed scoreless. The Bears finally managed to surge onto the scoreboard when forward Lizzy Gross ’22 intercepted an RPI pass and rocketed the puck into the net to tie the score at one. Maybelline Beiring ’20, who leads the squad in assists this season, also assisted on this goal.
“We’ve persisted with the mindset of playing simple hockey,” said Gross. “It was a classic play — one (that) all of my coaches have been implementing for years. If you work hard and stay ready for anything, points will come.”
The Bears continued to play aggressively, launching 11 total shots in the frame. In the final minute of the period, forward Megan Forrest ’21 took the lead for the Bears off of a coast-to-coast assist from Jacquie Tam ’22 for Brown’s second goal of the match. Forrest leads the team in blocks and game winning goals this season. The slim advantage marked Bruno’s first lead of the season.
“Our biggest issue has always been getting quality scoring chances, and we finally managed to go in that direction tonight,” Gross said. “Hopefully, this is the start of what could be a turnaround season for us.”
The third stanza was a defensive showdown, as RPI turned up the heat in an attempt to melt Brown’s lead. Isaac stayed consistent between the goalposts, stopping all 10 of RPI’s shots.
“The biggest challenge is seeing shots from the point … but I just try to stop every shot every night,” Isaac said.
The Bears held to their narrow lead as the clock ran down, batting the puck back and forth across their offensive zone to minimize RPI’s shooting opportunities.
“Possessing the puck in that last minute and a half was crucial for us,” Wahlig said. “We worked hard, and the girls’ hard work has been the biggest facet to our success this year.”
“We entered the season with a totally different mindset,” Gross said. “We’re ready to work hard.”
Brown will head to Colgate University to face the Raiders Friday.