The women’s hockey team (1-6-2, 1-4-1 Eastern College Athletic Conference) defeated Dartmouth (3-5-0, 2-5-0 ECAC) 1-0 Friday night at the Meehan Auditorium and lost to No. 10 Harvard (6-3, 4-3 ECAC) 5-2 Saturday, also at home. The win over Dartmouth was the Bears’ first victory since Jan. 24, 2020 with the team’s 2020-21 season canceled due to COVID-19.
“Everyone worked really hard over that time frame when we weren’t allowed to play,” said forward Tina Paolillo ’22, who scored the lone goal in the game against Dartmouth. “I’m really excited for this team and this program to get that win.”
The victory was also the first at Brown for Head Coach Melanie Ruzzi, who was hired this past May.
“We’ve been doing all the right things. We’ve just had some really tough opponents along the way,” Ruzzi said. “We finally got over the hump, and I’m really proud of (the players).”
After a slow first few minutes that included a Dartmouth power play, Brown controlled most of the first period, outshooting the Big Green 12-6 and creating better chances.
The Bears eventually found the net with six minutes left in the first period. Forward Anna Hurd ’25 sent a centering pass toward forward Shay Maloney ’22, whose shot rebounded off the Dartmouth goalie and found Paolillo in front of the crease. Paolillo slotted the puck past Dartmouth’s out-of-position goalie to tally her first goal of the season and give Bruno a 1-0 lead.
“Anna Hurd and Shay just set me up for it and they really did all the work. I was just there to put it home,” Paolillo said. “But it was a really great moment.”
The goal was all the Bears would need for the rest of the game. Dartmouth outshot Brown 21-12 over the second and third periods but couldn’t get past goalie Kaley Doyle ’24.
Doyle, who recorded the first shutout of her college career, made 27 saves, including a lightning-quick stop on a scorching slap shot in the third period.
“Pucks were kind of sticking to me today,” Doyle said. “It’s just one of those games.”
“Doyle never fails to amaze me with her stops,” Paolillo said. “That was her first shutout, but I’m sure there’s going to be many more.”
Ruzzi also gave credit to the defense for the shutout. Doyle “made a couple of huge saves, but for the most part, she wasn’t challenged a ton. I think it was a testament to our defensemen,” Ruzzi said.
After the win, the Bears returned to the ice Saturday to face nationally-ranked Harvard — “a very tough opponent,” according to Ruzzi.
For much of the first period, the puck remained in the Brown defensive zone with Harvard outshooting the Bears 10-4, but neither team could find the net.
The stalemate lasted until eight minutes left in the second period, when a Harvard wrist shot from the blue line found its way past a shielded Doyle to give the Crimson a 1-0 lead.
The Bears responded just five and half minutes later when defender Mel Anderson ’22 netted her own wrister from the top of the circle.
The tie didn’t last long, however, as Harvard scored with just a minute and a half to go until the second intermission and again three minutes into the third period.
Still, Brown proved difficult for the Crimson to dispatch. With 13 minutes left to play, a loose puck was chased into the Brown attacking zone by forward Lizzy Gross ’22. There, Gross collided with the Harvard goalie, whose attempt to clear only made it as far as forward Megan Forrest GS. Forrest picked up the puck inside the circle and fired it into the open net, again making a one goal game.
The Crimson eventually put the game away through another goal scored with 10:03 to play and a fifth goal in the final two minutes after the Bears pulled their goalie to bring on an extra attacker.
Despite the loss, Ruzzi thought the team played well, mentioning the team’s forecheck, penalty kill and defensive zone coverage as positives. “I want them to be a tough opponent that’s physical and grinds and that’s exactly what they did,” she said.
“It’s a process,” Ruzzi said after the Dartmouth game. “You’re learning, you’re taking bits and pieces from every game — wins, losses, ties, whatever it might be.”
The Bears return to the ice Friday for an ECAC clash at No. 9 Clarkson University (11-1-2, 4-0-0 ECAC).