PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – In spite of a late game rally, the Brown women's ice hockey team (3-11-1, 2-8-0 ECAC) lost a heartbreaker to St. Lawrence (13-8-1, 8-2-0 ECAC) in this afternoon's league contest held at Meehan Auditorium. Three different Bears found the back of the net in the loss, and junior goaltender Aubree Moore (Bowie, MD) made 18 big saves in 27:49 of play to keep her squad in the game.
St. Lawrence skated its way onto the board early, netting its first goal just 7:49 into the first period. Junior Rylee Smith found herself on breakaway from the Saints' defensive zone, skating down the ice with Brown's Emma Pearson (Richmond Hill, Ontario) hot on her heels. The freshman did everything she could to foil the opportunity, but Smith shot five-hole, beating Katie Jamieson (Waterloo, Ontario) and giving St. Lawrence a 1-0 advantage on her ninth goal of the season.
St. Lawrence rolled with its lead, increasing it less than a minute after with their second goal of the afternoon. The Saints moved play back down into their offensive zone, creating a screen in front of Jamieson who was unable to see the slap shot that senior Brooke Fernandez took from the point. The goal, her fifth of the season, was assisted by Abbey McRae and Amanda Boulier, and gave St. Lawrence a 2-0 lead that it would carry into the first intermission.
Both teams took penalties late in the first, and the Bears began the second period with a power play opportunity. St. Lawrence successfully killed the penalty, but Brown significantly stepped up its defensive pressure to create lots of back-and-forth action in the early minutes of the frame.
Just past the game's halfway point, St. Lawrence struck again as Mel Desrochers scored her third goal of the season and the Saints' third of the game. Desrochers received the puck on a passing sequence from Jessica Hon and Kayla Sullivan before turning the Brown defender and tucking it in, five-hole, to give the visitors a 3-0 lead.
Moore replaced Jamieson in net after the tally, assuming her place between the posts at 11:55 of the second period, and the Bears responded to the change, fighting their way onto the board with a goal at 17:02 of the same stanza. Play began off of the face-off, as senior co-captain Alena Polenska (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic) won the draw and sent the puck back to Sarah Robson (Mississauga, Ontario). The sophomore one-timed a slap shot, blasting the puck into the lower corner on the blocker side. The goal, her fifth of the season, narrowed the Saints' lead to two and rejuvenated the Brown offense.
St. Lawrence continued to drive for the net at the start of the third, but it was Brown who capitalized on its offensive chances, as the home team narrowed the Saints' lead again less than three minutes into the period. With play in the Bears' offensive zone, junior Jessica Hoyle (Toronto, Ontario) took a shot from the goal line that bounced off of the goalie and back into play. Classmate Kelly Kittredge (Mahwah, NJ) sought to put the rebound away, but St. Lawrence's Carmen MacDonald also denied her attempt to even the score. However, Polenska, who was crashing the net, picked up the second rebound and finally put the puck away, tightening the score to 3-2 on her fourth goal of the season.
Brown's offense combined for its 12th goal in four games less than two minutes later, evening the score on Lauren Vella's (Staten Island, NY) third tally of the season. A scrum in front of the net resulted in a loose puck that popped out to Vella at the point. The sophomore, seeing that the goalie was down, took a wrist shot upstairs that slammed into the back of the net. Polenska and Hoyle each earned an assist on the tying goal.
Action picked up at both ends of the ice, with each team creating and denying several scoring chances, but the Saints regained their lead halfway through the period and held on, earning a slim, 4-3 victory over the Bears. Boulier earned the game-winning goal amidst traffic around the net, as she grabbed the rebound that popped out and put it away, top-shelf. The goal was her fourth of the season and was assisted by Kelly Sabatine and Smith.
"It was tough competition today, playing one of the top ranked teams in the country," said head coach Amy Bourbeau. "We were down early, but had an incredible turnaround to get back in the game. Overall, I thought we had another strong performance. We are starting to improve offensively and it is making our team really tough to play against as we head down the stretch. I am confident that if we keep playing like this we will start to come out on top in games."
St. Lawrence had the advantage in shots for the afternoon, 34-26, and both penalty kills were flawless, with the Bears going 0 for 3 on the power play and the Saints going 0 for 4. MacDonald made 23 saves for the win, while Jamieson and Moore combined for 30 stops.
Brown continues to vie for a play-off berth with more ECAC action this week, traveling to New Haven, Connecticut to play at Yale on Thursday, January 17 at 7:00pm before welcoming the Bulldogs to Providence on Saturday, January 19 for another 7:00pm game.
Brown: 10 - 6 - 10 - x - 26
St. Lawrence: 9 - 15 - 10 - x - 34
First period – S, Smith (unassisted), 7:49. S, Fernandez (McRae, Boulier), 8:33. Penalties: B 1-2. S, 2-4.
Second period – S, Desrochers (Hon, Sullivan), 11:55. B, Robson (Polenska, Hoyle), 17:02. Penalties: none
Third period – B, Polenska (Hoyle, Kittredge), 2:55. B, Vella (Polenska, Hoyle), 4:34. S, Boulier (Sabatine, Smith), 10:22. Penalties: S, 2-4. B, 2-4.
Saves: B, Jamieson (31:55), 7 – 5 – x – x- 12. B, Moore (27:49), x– 9 - 9 - x – 18. S, MacDonald (60:00), 10 – 5 - 8– x – 23.
Three Stars: 1. Amanda Boulier (St. Lawrence) 2. Alena Polenska (Brown) 3. Aubree Moore (Brown)