The women’s ice hockey team (9-19-1, 7-15-0 ECAC) fell short in a defensive battle against Dartmouth (8-21-0, 4-18-0 ECAC) on Saturday afternoon, losing by a final score of 2-1. The loss spoiled the team’s senior night and season finale, preventing Bruno from reaching their first double-digit win season since 2006-07.
Bruno struggled to find offensive momentum in the first period but managed to keep the score tied at zero despite Dartmouth’s nine shots on goal versus Brown’s two. They also survived a Dartmouth power play after a tripping penalty on defender Cameron Sikich ’25.
“(Dartmouth) played well off the start,” said defender Ellie Gauvin ’26. “That’s something we were battling with all year.”
Nearly four minutes into the second period, Dartmouth fended off Bruno’s attack and initiated a two-on-one rush on defender Cassidy Piersiak ’24. Goalie Kaley Doyle ’24 deflected the initial shot from Dartmouth’s Abby Grexton off her leg pads, but the second shot off the rebound was ruled a goal despite Doyle’s attempt to lay out and trap the puck with her blocker.
But Head Coach Melanie Ruzzi quickly challenged the goal. After a lengthy video review, the call was overturned.
“I believe my players,” Ruzzi said. “Our goaltender was telling us it was under her blocker (and) it didn’t go in, so we challenged that. There’s nothing to lose there at that point.”
Brown was later awarded a power play from a tripping penalty on the Big Green, but the Bears failed to capitalize off it and the game remained scoreless.
Nearly halfway through the second period, a pair of penalties gave Brown just over a minute to put points on the board with a 5-on-3 skater advantage. But the Bears’ offense could not get going and Dartmouth kept Bruno at bay, even with Brown’s offense spending most of the power play in the attacking zone.
“We just did not play to our style of play,” Ruzzi said. “We weren’t making simple plays. We were making it a little easy on them.”
The game was still scoreless heading into the third period, but a hold called on defender Meadow Carman ’25 and a boarding penalty on Sikich gave Dartmouth their own 5-on-3 power play five minutes into the third. This time Dartmouth converted, with Tiffany Hill sneaking the puck behind Doyle’s back on a rebound, putting the Big Green up 1-0.
Later, an unsportsmanlike conduct call on Dartmouth gave the Bears yet another two-minute power play. Just 15 seconds in, Gauvin fired a shot from the left point and snuck it by the left side of the opposing goalie, opening the scoring for Brown and tying the game at one apiece.
“It just shows the importance of getting pucks on net,” Gauvin said.
But the game remained tied for less than a minute, with Dartmouth’s Sydney Herrington redirecting an airborne puck to push it above the sight of Doyle and into the goal.
With under four minutes to play in the game, Ruzzi opted for an aggressive approach and called for an empty net. Despite the extra attacker, the Bears were unable to make a final push and ultimately fell to the Big Green 2-1.
“I almost think today was a day where the emotions got the best of them,” Ruzzi said. “You think about when you go into this game that it’ll be the last one together — I think they’re trying a little bit too hard and doing some things that were really uncharacteristic for the team, but certainly the effort was there.”
The game was the last for seniors Eva Durandeau ’23, Vivian Lu ’23 and captain Madie Stockfish ’23, who were honored prior to the game.
“It was really bittersweet,” Stockfish said. “I’m happy to be celebrating the program and how far it’s come, but it’s also really sad that it’s my last athletic game in my career.”
Ruzzi commended the seniors on their contributions to the team, both on and off the ice.
“When you lift up your program and take it to the next level, and when you graduate and you watch it skyrocket — that’s something that’s always gonna be theirs,” Ruzzi said. “They are why we are growing as a program, not just their play. Like I told them in the locker room, it’s not really about what we do on the ice — it’s what they’re building (in) that locker room.”
Despite ending the year with a loss, the team still had its most successful season in recent memory. Though they faced a number of injuries, Ruzzi’s second year as head coach saw the team secure their most wins in 17 years. She said the team will look to build off this season with more depth and development.
“We’re going to take our talent to the next level by developing the players we have here and bringing in a higher level of talent,” Ruzzi said. “I’m really excited about the direction we’re going but it all depends on how we show up in the fall.”