PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's ice hockey team (5-17-1, 4-14-0 ECAC) completed a season sweep of the Union Dutchwomen (7-21-3, 0-16-3 ECAC) with a 2-1 win in tonight's ECAC contest at Meehan Auditorium. The Bears jumped out to an early lead and fought off a third period rally by the visitors to earn their fourth league win of the season and keep their playoff hopes alive.
"I thought we had a great first period," said head coach Amy Bourbeau. "To come out of it with a 2-0 lead over a team like Union was impressive. They work their tails off, and they make everybody pay the price to beat them every single night. As the game got going, Union came at us harder and harder, but we played more disciplined. Being able to rely on each other and play a very disciplined game got us through that in the end. It really came down to the wire, but the team played well and Aubree had a great game. I'm very happy with the win."
Brown won a lot of battles early on, snatching chances from a hungry Union squad and keeping the visitors scoreless when junior Jessica Hoyle (Toronto, Ontario) took an early penalty for interference. The Bears' tenacity paid off at 13:53 into the period, when junior Emilie Dolan (Montreal West, Quebec) scored her first goal of the season. With sophomore Sarah Robson (Mississauga, Ontario) skating down the wall, Dolan crashed hard to the net to recieve the puck that Robson slid across the slot. She one-touched a shot into the net, backdoor, to put the Bears up, 1-0.
Union's Lizzy Otten took a penalty for holding just over two minutes later, and Brown didn't wait long to build its lead on a power play goal from junior Jennifer Nedow (Brockville, Ontario). In the midst of the woman advantage, sophomore Lauren Vella (Staten Island, New York) came off the bench mid-play to keep the puck in Brown's offensive zone. She took a wrist shot on Union's Shenae Lundberg that was deflected, and Nedow was waiting in the slot to bury the rebound. The goal, her first of the season, was also assisted by senior co-captain Alena Polenska (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic) and gave Brown a 2-0 edge over Union as the clock wound down on the first period.
The Bears kept early pressure on the Dutchwomen in a scoreless second stanza, but two consecutive Brown penalties turned the squad's focus to the defensive side of its game. With 12:20 left to play, Hoyle was whistled for her second penalty of the night after setting up a prime scoring opportunity for the Bears. Utilizing her puck handling skills, she created a breakaway and then dropped a pass back to Robson who took a wrist shot on Lundberg. The rebound was being controlled by junior Samantha Woodward (Lexington, MA) at the blue line when Hoyle was called for cross-checking.
The penalty kill protected Brown's lead through that penalty, as well as the subsequent interference call on sophomore Kaitlyn Keon (Toronto, Ontario), and junior goaltender Aubree Moore (Bowie, MD) covered at the perfect moment to get the squad out of dangerous situations. The Bears held the Dutchwomen to just four shots in the second period, as the team maintained its 2-0 lead heading into the final 20 minutes.
The third period served as a thrilling finale, with Union, currently winless in the ECAC, skating with hunger and putting 12 shots on net over the course of the stanza. The Dutchwomen took an early penalty for hooking, but just after killing it, scored their first goal of the game to narrow the Bears advantage to one.
With play centered around Moore in the Brown net, Union's Bryanne Panchuk skated below the goal line and sent a pass up to junior Stefanie Thomson who was waiting in the slot. She one-timed a shot, and it landed in the back of the net in the low corner, blocker side. Courtney Turner also assisted on Thomson's fourth goal of the season.
The intensity continued to build as the period drew to a close, with Moore making several big saves as the Union offense peppered her with shots. The Dutchwomen pulled their goalie with 1:35 left to play, but not even the extra attacker could overcome the Bears' disciplined play and they held on for the 2-1 victory over the visitors.
After a slow start, Union earned the edge in shots for the game, 23-19, while Moore made 22 big saves to earn her third win between the pipes. The Bears were a perfect 2-for-2 on the penalty kill, while their power play unit scored once in four opportunities. Lundberg stopped 17 attempts on the Union goal, as the squad went 0-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-4 on the penalty kill.
The Bears will return to the ice tomorrow afternoon when they welcome the Rensselaer Engineers to Meehan Auditorium for a 4:00pm contest on Alumnae Day. Brown will celebrate all of the alumnae who have built the legacy of the program with events throughout the afternoon, including a post-game skate with the Bears and an evening reception at Paragon with Coach Bourbeau.
Brown: 10 – 4 – 5 - 19
Union: 7 – 4 – 12 - 23
First Period: B, Dolan (Robson), 13:53. B, Nedow (Vella, Polenska), 17:03. Penalties: B, 1-2. U, 1-2.
Second Period: no scoring. Penalties: B, 2-4.
Third Period: U, Thomson (Panchuk, Turner), 3:56. Penalties: U, 1-2. B, 2-4.
Goalies: B, (Moore), 59:55, 7 – 4 – 11 – 22 . U, (Lundberg), 58:25, 8 – 4 – 5 – 17.