October 10, 2006

2006-07 Women's Ice Hockey Outlook

Oct. 10, 2006

Providence, RI - After an inspired run to the ECACHL finals in March, the women's ice hockey team is primed for another run at a conference title. This season, Head Coach Digit Murphy welcomes a crew of eight freshman Bears to a team that upset Princeton in the ECACHL semifinals and finished the year ranked ninth in the nation. Brown finished with a 15-13-5 overall record after heating up during its ECACHL slate, finishing the conference season in third place at 10-6-4.

Goaltenders (3 Returning, 0 Graduated, 0 Newcomers)

The Bears' depth at the goaltending position may be unmatched in the ECACHL, as the team boasts three very good options between the pipes. As a unit, juniors O'Hara Shipe and Stacy Silverman and sophomore Nicole Stock stopped nearly 93 percent of the shots they faced, combining for a solid 2.13 goals-against average. Coach Murphy has never been afraid to switch things up in goal, so all three netminders will likely contribute.

Shipe (Anchorage, AK) logged the most time in net, starting 20 of the team's 33 games and earning a 10-6-3 record. She posted a 2.17 GAA and a .925 save percentage, was named ECACHL Goaltender of the Week three times, and had five shutouts.

Stock (Buffalo Grove, IL) was impressive in her inaugural collegiate campaign, playing in 12 games and earning seven starts. She led the team with a 1.60 GAA and .938 save percentage, registering two shutouts. Stock was even better in conference play, dropping her GAA to 0.84.

The third horse on Coach Murphy's goaltending carousel is Silverman (Wakefield, MA), who started six games, tallying two shutouts, while totaling a 2.84 GAA and .912 save percentage. She was on the receiving end of some tough luck, as seven of the 13 goals she allowed came while her side was down a player.

Defensemen (4 Returning, 2 Graduated, 2 Newcomers)

Brown's reputation as a solid defensive team will depend largely on how the defense compensates for the graduation of its top two players. Leading the unit will be senior captain Lauren Deeb (Menands, NY) and sophomore Lindsay Wilde (Billerica, MA). Deeb had a +4 rating last year, becoming a key member of the defensive rotation. She also doubled her point total from the previous season from two to four. Wilde played in all 33 games during her first season, notching a +2. After earning a spot in the defensive rotation last season, she'll be counted on to take another step forward.

Sophomore Morgan Hanrahan (Bay Roberts, NF) stepped her game up during the second half of the season, and can be expected to build on her freshman campaign now that she has adjusted to the college game. Senior Ann Brophy (Ann Arbor, MI) was particularly strong on the Bears' penalty kill unit, and should bring much-needed experience to the back line. Freshmen Jenny Cedorchuk (Medfield, MA) and Erin Connors (Newburyport, MA) join the Bears' defense after stellar high school careers.

Forwards (8 Returning, 3 Graduated, 7 Newcomers)

Captain Hayley Moore (Wakefield, MA) returns after leading the team in scoring last season as a sophomore with 25 goals and 18 assists for 43 points. She'll be counted on for another big season -- her 25 goals were more than the combined scoring total of the rest of the returning players, making her Brown's main offensive threat. However, the Bears welcome seven forwards to the team this season with the hope that some of the scoring slack will be picked up by rookies.

Joining Moore on the first line will be the team's assistant captain, junior Rylee Olewinski (Burr Ridge, IL). Scoring five goals and nine assists for 14 points, Olewinski took a big step forward from her first season, more than doubling her freshman point total en route to being named the team's Most Improved Player. Senior Kathryn Moos (Wayzata, MN) had 14 points as well, despite having to wait to join the team until the end of the women's soccer season. She'll bring her usual infusion of athleticism after her fall sports season ends in November.

Sophomores Frances Male (Toronto, ONT) and Savannah Smith (Fort St. John, BC) will be counted on to pick up some of the scoring slack after promising freshmen seasons. Male totaled 11 points on four goals and seven assists, with Smith adding 10 points (3 G-7 A). Juniors Emilie Bydwell (Montreal, QC) and Heather Lane (London, ONT) will bring their respective 5'11" and 5'9" frames back to anchor the team's checking line.

Joining the forward unit will be Amanda Asay (Prince George, BC), Nicole Brown (Swift Current, SK), Elizabeth Denis (Durham, NH), Andrea Hunter (Fulton, NY), Kath Surbey (Calgary, AB) and Sasha Van Muyen (Orillia, ONT). With plenty of open opportunities for playing time, the team hopes several players from that group will step up and contribute.

Schedule Highlights

Coach Murphy's squad will begin its campaign against the University of New Hampshire for the second consecutive season. Last season, Brown handed the Wildcats their only regular season loss in regulation, a 3-2 victory at Meehan Auditorium in the second game of the year. The Bears hope to have similar success on Oct. 20 at UNH's Whittemore Center.

Nov. 17 will bring Harvard to Meehan, giving the Bears a chance to avenge their 4-3 loss to the Crimson in last season's ECACHL Championship Game. One week later, the Bears host Providence College in the 12th annual Mayor's Cup game. Other teams to watch for are ECACHL rivals St. Lawrence and Princeton, who finished last season ranked third and sixth, respectively, joining Brown and Harvard (no. 8) in the national top ten.