PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's ice hockey team (3-10-1, 2-7-0 ECAC) put forth a valiant effort, but ultimately fell 2-1 to #5/6 Clarkson (16-5-0, 8-1-0 ECAC) in tonight's ECAC hockey contest at Meehan Auditorium. The Bears exerted continuous offensive pressure, backed by solid breakouts and effective passing sequences, while also playing strong defense, but the Golden Knights skated away with the win on the heels of Brittany Styner's two goals. Junior Jessica Hoyle (Toronto, Ontario) scored Brown's lone goal, her second of the season.
The first period featured much of the game's action, with Clarkson taking the first possession and Brown struggling to get the puck out of its defensive zone for the first several minutes. The Bears edged their way back into the game however, as they began to force turnovers and generate offensive opportunities of their own.
Several minutes of back and forth play was halted 7:48 into the period however, when Styner found her way past junior goaltender Aubree Moore (Bowie, MD) and put Clarkson on the board with a 1-0 lead. Junior Carly Mercer received a pass from classmate Jamie Lee Rattray at the point and sent a hard shot towards the goal where it was batted away Moore. Styner was there to collect the rebound, tucking it into the cage for her fifth goal of the season.
The Bears didn't let the lead stand for long however, answering almost immediately with a goal of their own to even the score, 1-1, while simultaneously earning their only power play of the night. Freshman Monica Masucci (Toronto, Ontario) sent a pass through the middle, threading the needle to Hoyle who was pulled down by one of the Golden Knights' defenders as she was tucking it past Erica Howe for her second goal of the season. Vanessa Plante was whistled for holding on the play, giving the Bears the player advantage for the two minutes immediately following the tally.
There were some scary moments late in the first, including an instant where Rattray broke through a two-on-one and wrapped around the net to score backdoor, but Moore was impressive between the pipes, refusing to let anything past her crease. The teams ended the period tied 1-1, with Clarkson leading Brown in shots, 10-7.
The score remained knotted throughout the second period, with the Bears killing off two penalties and halting the Golden Knights' offense with impressive defensive maneuvers. Late in the period, Samantha Woodward (Lexington, MA) was whistled for hooking, leading to one of Brown's most gutsy playing sequences of the night. Clarkson won the initial face-off, sending the puck down to the Bears' net and keeping it there for the entirety of the penalty. The penalty kill unit embraced the challenge, playing 120 seconds of impeccable defense to send the teams into the locker room tied after a scoreless second period.
Moore made several impressive stops in the third period, and multiple Bears came painfully close to scoring, but as the clock wound down it was the Golden Knights who would break the tie. It was Styner who would eventually find the back of the net for the second time, earning the game-winning goal.
With just 2:31 left to play in regulation, Renata Fast took a hard shot from the point. Styner was waiting in front of the net, deflecting the puck through Moore's five-hole to reclaim the lead for Clarkson.
The Bears fought for the last few minutes, pulling Moore and striving towards the net, but ultimately fell to the Golden Knights.
"Tonight was a bit of a heartbreaker," said Head Coach Amy Bourbeau. "We played very well, and I thought we had plenty of quality scoring chances that would have allowed us to come out on top. Clarkson is a tough team to play, they are currently ranked 5th in the country, but we were right there with them for the whole game. We gave it all we had for 60 minutes, but unfortunately we came up one goal short."
Brown's defense was impressive in the loss, with Moore stopping 27 shots and the team blocking 16 shots to Clarkson's six. Howe made 21 saves in net for the win, with the Golden Knights out-shooting the Bears, 29 to 22. Both teams were 100 percent on the penalty kill, as Clarkson was 0 for 3 on the power play and Brown failed to capitalize on its sole opportunity.
The Bears will return to Meehan Auditorium tomorrow afternoon, when they take on the St. Lawrence Saints at 4:00pm to round out a weekend of ECAC hockey.
Brown: 7 - 6 - 9 - x - 22
Clarkson: 10 - 9 - 10 - x - 29
First period – C, Styner (Mercer, Rattray), 7:48. B, Hoyle (Masucci), 8:07. Penalties: C, 1-2.
Second period – no scoring. Penalties: B, 2-4.
Third period – C, Styner (Fast), 17:29. Penalties: B, 1-2
Saves: B, Moore (59:15), 9– 9 - 9 - x – 27. C, Howe (60:00), 6 – 6 - 9– x – 21.
Three Stars: 1. Brittany Styner (Clarkson) 2. Jessica Hoyle (Brown) 3. Sarah Robson (Brown)