PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Brown women's hockey team which is coming off a five-game road trip, returns to Meehan Auditorium for the first time sine February 1st and the final two times of the 2010-11 season. The Bears host Princeton on Friday night at 7 p.m. in the team's annual "Pink at the Rink" game before taking on Quinnipiac on Saturday at 4 p.m. on Senior Day.
It may be the final weekend of women's hockey for the Bears, but it will be a big one on the campus of Brown University.
Friday night's game versus Ivy League-rival Princeton is the team's "Pink at the Rink" game, which will raise awareness and proceeds for cancer research. Admission for the event is free. Colleges Against Cancer, which works in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, will be on hand collecting donations. Not only will Brown be outfitted with exclusive gear for the game including pink sticks and tape, but the first 100 fans in attendance will receive a limited edition, pink Brown "cancer awareness" pin. Fans are also encouraged to wear pink in support of the event.
Brown's big weekend continues on Saturday with the final game of the year against Quinnipiac, and its Senior Day celebration. Four seniors will don the Brown and White for the final time and will be recognized in a ceremony immediately following the game. Also, the annual winner of the Panda Cup, which honors Brown's most dedicated player, will be announced.
Strength of Schedule
Brown has faced a grueling schedule, not only in the first half of the season in which with nine of its 12 opponents have received votes in the national poll and six cracking the top 10, but since a return from winter break, the Bears faced No. 2 Cornell, No. 3 Boston University and No. 4 Mercyhurst (twice) as well as the two of the top-three teams in the ECAC, Harvard and Dartmouth.
Of the 26 games that the Bears have played this year, only seven have been against teams that have not at least received votes in the national polls.
Sophomore Laurie Jolin (Lachine, Quebec) continues to be one of the Bears main offensive threats, leading the team with nine goals. The center is also second on the team with 14 points. Classmate Alena Polenska (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic), who missed three games earlier this season to train with the Czech Republic National Team, has really turned it on as of late, and is now the team leader with 15 points and seven assists. She is also second on the team with eight assists.
Second-year goaltender Katie Jamieson (Waterloo, Ontario) has kept the Bears in numerous games this season and leads the team in all goalie statistics. She has seen 925:16 minutes between the pipes in 18 games this year. Jamieson has complied marks of 3.24 goals against average and a .911 save percentage, while making 511 saves.
The Captain Returns
Senior captain Samantha Stortini (Sudbury, Ontario) missed seven games with a hip injury at the beginning of the season and has since returned after the winter break. Stortini's experience and leadership on the backline is needed with a plethora of young players seeing valuable minutes for the Bears this season. "Storts" looks to join fellow senior captains Erica Kromm (Naramata, British Columbia) and Jenna Dancewicz (Lake Forest, Ill.) at the 100 games played milestone. Both Kromm and Dancewicz hit the mark earlier this season. Stortini is currently at 98 career games with five games left on the regular-season slate.
Rookie defender Jennifer Nedow (Brockville, Ontario) has proven she can do it all, playing staunch defense while leading the team with seven assists this season. Nedow even shifted up to center after injuries at Mercyhurst left the Bears shorthanded.
Classmate Jessica Hoyle (Toronto, Ontario) has played on the top line for the Bears all season and continues to be one of the hardest skaters on the team. Hoyle is tied for second on the team with four assists and fourth with 39 shots.
Freshman Vanessa Welten (Crysler, Ontario) scored her second goal of the season at St. Lawrence, unassisted, going coast-to-coast for the score. It was her first game back from a head injury.
The Princeton women's hockey team enters the final weekend of the regular season looking to climb into a home-ice playoff spot for next weekend's ECAC quarterfinals. Princeton travels to Brown and Yale just a point out of the fourth and final home-ice spot.
Last weekend the Tigers completed season sweeps of both Union and Rensselaer with wins at home. On Friday seven Tigers had points in a 3-1 win over the Dutchwomen. Sasha Sherry's unassisted power-play goal in the first period gave Princeton a lead it would never surrender and Denna Laing and Corey Stearns added goals.
Cornell has wrapped up the top spot in the standings and Harvard currently sits second. Dartmouth is third with 26 points, two ahead of fourth-place Quinnipiac and three ahead of fifth-place Princeton The Tigers then hold a three-point edge on Clarkson. Princeton and Quinnipiac face identical schedules playing at Brown and Yale. Both teams are currently out of the playoffs, although Yale is still alive in the chase for a playoff spot as it lays just two points behind a seventh-place tie between Colgate, Rensselaer and St. Lawrence.
The Quinnipiac women's ice hockey team (20-10-2, 12-8-0 ECAC Hockey) plays its final two games of the regular season this weekend when it travels to face conference opponents Yale (8-16-3, 7-11-2) on Friday before taking on Brown (2-22-3, 1-16-3) on Saturday.
Saturday's game will be the 14th time the two sides face each other. Brown holds a slight edge in the all-time series, 6-5-2.
Quinnipiac earned its first home ECAC Hockey weekend sweep of the season last weekend, when it defeated both Rensselaer, 5-1, and Union, 4-0, on consecutive nights.
After collecting a total of eight points during the week (four goals, four assists) Kelly Babstock was awarded with both ECAC Hockey/MLX Skates Player and Rookie of the Week honors, as announced by the league on Tuesday, Feb. 13. This is the second time Babstock has been named Player of the Week and the fifth time she has collected Rookie of the Week honors. Her five Rookie of the Week selections is by far the most among ECAC Hockey rookie skaters, while Babstock joins fellow teammate Kate Wheeler as the only other skater in ECAC Hockey to receive multiple Player of the Week accolades.
Sophomore goaltender Victoria Vigilanti (Woodbridge, Ontario) is turning in another spectacular season in net for the Bobcats, as she has compiled a 19-10-2 record on the year. Vigilanti leads ECAC Hockey goaltenders in wins (19) and shutouts (8) and ranks third in the league in goals against average (1.66) and fourth in save percentage (.934).
Inside the Bear Cave
Follow even more Brown women's hockey at the team's official Facebook page.
Pictured Above: the 2010-11 Senior Class (from left to right), Erica Kromm, Jenna Dancewicz, Samantha Stortini, Joy Joung