Oct. 24, 2008
St. Cloud, Minn. - The St. Cloud State Huskies dealt the Bears a 3-0 defeat to open the 2008-09 season on Friday night. Senior captain Nicole Stock (Buffalo Grove, IL) turned in a terrific performance in net, recording 49 saves, but the offense was unable to capitalize on its three power play opportunities. With the loss, Brown will open the season 0-1, while St. Cloud State moves to 4-2-1, with a 1-2-1 record in the WCHA.
The Huskies came out firing in the first period, subjecting Stock to a barrage of shots as the Bears struggled to find their rhythm. Lacking the live-game experience that St. Cloud received in their first six games, Brown appeared somewhat overmatched in the first five minutes, but Stock kept the game scoreless with several outstanding saves. The Huskies were able to strike first, however, junior Danielle Hirsh picked up a loose puck and fired a shot into goal for a 1-0 lead at the 12:52 mark.
St. Cloud nearly put another tally on the board only three minutes later, but Stock made a terrific point blank save on a breakaway by the Huskies, keeping the game close going into the second. In the opening frame Stock approached her record for saves in a single period set last season against Mercyhurst, finishing with 22 after the first period.
Coach Digit Murphy and her staff came out of the locker room to open the second with several offensive adjustments, and were able to increase the number of shots on goal, but still lacked the big shot to tie the game. Junior forward Katie Kemmerer of St. Cloud State was able to capitalize on a good possession for the Huskies, as they passed around goal before finally centering and setting Kemmerer up for a short goal. After the score both defenses clamped down and neither team was able to get off a good shot for the remainder of the period.
Entering the third period with a 2-0 advantage, the Huskies were content to sit back and play conservatively while holding on to the lead. Although the Bears were able to find some good opportunities in the period, they again struggled to find the back of the net, finishing with 18 shots on goal in the shutout. Stock once again made a number of terrific saves down the stretch, keeping the game close against the Huskly onslaught. With time winding down, junior Caitlin Hogan took a shot from the near right side of the goal, and tapped in the final score for St. Cloud, a meaningless goal with only .4 seconds remaining on the clock.
The game was not without bright spots for the Bears. Chief among them was, of course, the continued stellar play of Stock, who gives Brown a chance in any game that she plays. The penalty kill was also a strength, however, as the Bears shut out St. Cloud on all three power play opportunities for the Huskies after struggling to do so a week ago in scrimmages against Yale and Princeton. The defense also looked strong under new assistant coach Sean Coady, shutting out St. Cloud for 37 minutes between the second and third goals.
The Bears will be in action again on Saturday night, when they return to the National Hockey Center to take on St. Cloud State again at 7:00 p.m. CT.