February 15, 2013

Brown to Take on Union and Rensselaer in Crucial Weekend of ECAC Play

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND - After traveling through a blizzard to play the Dartmouth Big Green last Friday, the Brown women's ice hockey team (4-17-1, 3-14-0 ECAC) will return to Meehan Auditorium this weekend to take on the Union Dutchwomen (7-20-3, 0-15-3 ECAC) and the Rensselaer Engineers (9-17-4, 7-9-2 ECAC) in two league contests. Currently, Brown is 2-9-1 at home this season, earning wins against Maine and Yale, and tying its cross-town rival, Providence, to retain the Mayor's Cup in November. Union and Rensselaer have records of 3-12-0 and 4-9-1, respectively, on the road. This weekend's match-ups will have a significant impact on the ECAC standings, as the Bears currently sit five points out of the eighth and final playoff spot.

The Bears will take on the Dutchwomen at 7:00pm on Friday before facing off against the Engineers on Saturday at 4:00pm. Brown fans who would like to follow the action from home can do so with live stats or video, both of which can be accessed through the women's ice hockey schedule page at brownbears.com. Additionally, fans can follow the team on twitter at BrownWHockey for in-game updates over the course of the weekend.

A Look at Brown: The Bears have hit a bit of a rough patch recently, losing five consecutive games after triumphing over the Yale Bulldogs at home on January 19, and, with the return of leading scorer, senior co-captain Alena Polenska (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic), will look to swing their momentum and fight for a playoff berth in the weekend's games. Polenska, who spent the last two weeks participating in Olympic qualifying competition with the Czech Republic national team, has scored a team-high seven goals and added five assists to account for her twelve points. She is closely followed by senior co-captain Laurie Jolin (Lachine, Montreal), who has tallied 10 points (5g, 5a), and junior Jessica Hoyle (Toronto, Ontario), who has added nine points (3g, 6a). Junior goaltender Aubree Moore (Bowie, MD) has made 14 appearances in net, including 13 starts, and has stopped 355 shots for a save percentage of .917 and a GAA of 2.40. Defensively, the team has blocked a total of 322 shots, led by junior Jennifer Nedow (Brockville, Ontario), with 35, and sophomore Lauren Vella (Staten Island, NY), who has stopped 30.


Brown vs. Union

Series record: 14-2-3, Brown

Current streak: Brown, one win

First meeting: 2/20/04 (Brown, 10-0)

Last Brown win: 12/8/12 (1-0)

Last Union win: 2/5/11 (3-2)

Last tie: 1/20/12 (2-2)

Coach Bourbeau vs. Union: 2-0-1

A Look at Union:
 The Dutchwomen remain winless in the ECAC, and are currently in the middle of a nine game losing streak. Their last win came on January 12, when they earned a 2-1 victory over Penn State at home. Courtney Turner leads the team in scoring, tallying 13 points on five goals and eight assists, while Jessica Kaminsky (6g, 6a) and Christine Valente (5g, 7a) have each contributed 12 points. Kaminsky's six goals are a team-high, while Turner's eight assists make her the team's most prolific helper. Shenae Lundberg has appeared between the pipes on 27 occasions, making 697 saves for a save percentage of .905 and a GAA of 2.92.

Last Time Out Against Union: Brown earned its second league win of the season when the squad grabbed a narrow, 1-0 victory over the Dutchwomen on December 8 at Messa Rink. The Bears scored the lone goal of the game in the first period, when junior Jessica Hoyle intercepted Union's attempt to clear the puck, skating around the right side of the net and backhanding a shot into the left corner to beat Shenae Lundberg and put the Bears up, 1-0. The goal, her first of the season and the ultimate game winner, was unassisted. Aubree Moore played all 60 minutes in net for Brown, making 33 saves to earn her first career shutout.


Brown vs. Rensselaer

Series record: 6-4-3, Rensselaer

Current streak: Rensselaer, one win

First meeting: 2/18/75 (Brown, 2-1)

Last Brown win: 1/21/12 (3-2)

Last Rensselaer win: 12/7/12 (3-0)

Last tie: 11/11/11 (2-2)

Coach Bourbeau vs. Rensselaer: 1-1-1

A Look at Rensselaer:
 The Engineers have seen a mixed bag of results in their past six contests, earning a sweep against travel partner Union and a win against the Colgate Raiders, before falling to Cornell and Clarkson and tying St. Lawrence. They will head to New Haven, Connecticut to take on the Yale Bulldogs before traveling to Providence on Saturday. Freshman Alexa Gruschow leads the team offensively, notching 10 goals and contributing 12 assists for 22 points. Senior Taylor Horton has added a team-high 11 goals and 7 assists for 18 points, while sophomore Eleeza Cox is right on her heels with 17 points (10g, 7a). Sophomore Kelly O'Brien is the team's go-to netminder, playing in 28 of their games and making 656 saves for a save percentage of .907 and a GAA of 2.24.

Last Time Out Against Rensselaer:
The Bears suffered a 3-0 loss to the Engineers in Troy, New York on December 7. Rensselaer wasted little time getting on the board, as freshman Lauren Wash snuck through the Bears' defense 8:23 into the first to grab a 1-0 lead for the home team. After a scoreless second, the Engineers extended their lead less than four minutes into the final period when Aubree Moore skated out of the net to clear a puck that had slid behind the goal. Realizing that Toni Sanders was rapidly approaching, she raced back to the pipes, but not before Sanders could swoop behind and sneak the puck into the right corner for her second goal of the year. Assists were awarded to Wash and Katie Daniels. The Bears continued to fight, but Rensselaer's Jordan Smelker scored an empty-net goal to put the Engineers up, 3-0, as the clock wound down. Moore made 18 saves for Brown in the loss.

Looking Ahead:
 The Bears will head to Cambridge, Massachusetts on Tuesday, February 19 to start off their final week of the regular season against the #5 Harvard Crimson. The game, which was rescheduled due to Winter Storm Nemo, will commence at 7:00pm at the Bright Hockey Center.