The women’s hockey team (1-8-2, 1-6-1 Eastern College Athletic Conference) traveled to New York for a Friday night game against Clarkson University (12-2-2, 5-1-0 ECAC), where they fell 5-1 against their ECAC rivals. The Bears then lost 2-1 the following afternoon in another conference matchup against St. Lawrence University (6-5-4, 3-2-1 ECAC).
Brown 1, Clarkson 5
The Bears’ battle against Clarkson started out strong, with Brown scoring the first goal of the game at the 13:16 mark of the first period when forward Maya Mangiafico ’24 won a faceoff. Forward Anna Shelden ’25 then advanced the puck to the blue line with a pass to defenseman Abby Hancock ’25, whose shot attempt was tipped past the goaltender by Mangiafico.
“(Hancock) made it really easy for me to tip (the shot in),” Mangiafico said. “She did a good job setting me up and allowed me to get to the net.”
Clarkson answered just over two minutes later with a goal of its own to tie the score at one, going on to out-shoot Brown 13-8 in the opening period. The tie lasted until the 5:55 mark of the second period when Clarkson scored on a power play. Seven minutes later, Clarkson extended its lead to 3-1, scoring off a rebound and scramble in front of Brown’s net.
In the third period, Clarkson’s lead eventually stretched to 5-1 after goals at the beginning and end of the period. The team’s final goal was off another loose puck in front of the net.
Brown 1, St. Lawrence 2
With only 21 hours between puck drops, Brown had a quick turnaround to face St. Lawrence Saturday afternoon. The Bears again scored the first goal of the game off of a five-on-three power play just over seven minutes into the first period. Defenseman Cassidy Piersiak ’24 passed the puck to Mangiafico, who then let off a shot that was tipped in by forward Lizzy Gross ’22.
Less than five minutes later, St. Lawrence’s Sophie Holden scored a goal to tie the game. Early in the second period, Aly McLeod notched another goal for St. Lawrence, giving the Saints a 2-1 lead they would hold the rest of the match.
Despite the two unanswered goals by St. Lawrence, Brown’s goalkeeper Kaley Doyle ’24 had a season and career-high 38 saves. “It was good for me to end with that (career-high) and was a good confidence booster moving forward but tough to get the loss,” Doyle said.
Although the game against St. Lawrence resulted in a closer final score, Head Coach Melanie Ruzzi was more impressed with her team’s performance against the higher-ranked Clarkson.
“St. Lawrence is fast and aggressive, same as us,” said Ruzzi on why she believed Saturday’s matchup was a winnable game, but, ultimately, “in both games we did not produce enough offense.”
“Our record may not show it, but we’re a gritty team, and we battle every game to give ourselves a chance to win,” Doyle said.
Ruzzi also attested to the team’s consistently high level of effort. “We have a ‘compete’ factor across the entire roster. Whether we score or not, we play with the same intensity,” Ruzzi said.
Still in the beginning of its long winter season, the women’s hockey team consists of mostly underclassmen who are still gaining collegiate-level athletic experience. Ruzzi mentioned that film review is a strategy she will use to help her players improve their in-game performances.
With a new coaching staff and many new players, the team is still in the process of learning each others’ playing styles. “This is a building period. We’re getting over some bumps but moving in the right direction,” Doyle said.
“The young players have tremendous energy,” Ruzzi said. As the season goes on, these new players will establish an individual and team identity, she explained.
Mangiafico praised the leadership of the seniors on the team in helping the underclassmen develop their confidence. She also remained optimistic for the team’s improvement despite the two weekend losses. “All around effort is always there. Being on the ice with people who want to get better and want to win is really awesome,” Mangiafico said. “Everyone’s playing for each other, and it’s fun to be a part of it.”
The Bears will take on Merrimack College Wednesday at 3 p.m. On Saturday, Brown will play Providence College in the annual Mayor’s Cup.