PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND – The Brown women's ice hockey team (6-19-1, 5-16-0 ECAC) put up a brave fight, but ultimately saw its playoff hopes slip away with a 2-1 loss to the Princeton Tigers (11-15-2, 6-13-2 ECAC) in tonight's ECAC Hockey contest at Meehan Auditorium. The teams combined for three goals over the course of the first period, but the goalies held the game scoreless for the next 40 minutes to give the visitors the victory.
Princeton grabbed an early lead on Brown, scoring its first goal of the night just 1:10 into play. Junior Olivia Mucha walked into the zone, deked junior goaltender Aubree Moore (Bowie, MD) and tucked the puck in low on the blocker side to give the Tigers a 1-0 edge over the Bears.
Both teams played with intensity and desire throughout the period, with Brown causing trouble for Princeton's freshman goaltender Kimberly Newell whenever the team pressured her around the net, and the drive and discipline paid off for the Bears when senior co-captain Alena Polenska (Kutna Hora, Czech Republic) scored her ninth goal of the season to tie the score at one. Play on the tally began when junior Samantha Woodward (Lexington, MA) headmaned the puck up to sophomore Brittany Moorehead (Clinton, NY) in the neutral zone. She shot on Newell, and Polenska was there to bury the rebound that bounced off of her pads, tying the score 1-1.
The teams continued to battle back and forth for the next several minutes, but Princeton was able to get another one past Moore to break the tie with 2:15 left to play. As the Tigers skated in on a two-on-one, freshman Kelly Micholson (Elk Grove Village, IL) attempted a defensive maneuver, but Princeton's Kelly Cooke sent a pass over to Molly Contini who backhanded a shot over Moore's shoulder to give her team a 2-1 lead over Brown that would last for the remainder of the game.
The Tigers out shot the Bears, 11-9, in a clean first stanza, with Moore making nine saves for Brown and Newell stopping eight shots for Princeton.
The Bears were defensively sound in a scoreless second period, blocking 10 shots to the Tigers three. Each of the squads earned a player advantage over the course of the stanza, but neither was able to capitalize, as the score remained locked through both power plays and into the second intermission.
Each team skated hungrily in the third, as the playoff hopes of both hung in the balance. An abundance of turnovers and the elevated speed of play resulted in action spread up and down the ice, with both sides fighting to create a chance to score. A hooking penalty on Princeton's Brianna Leahy resulted in several near misses for Brown, but the Tigers held on to their lead as the clock wound down.
With 2:40 to play, Woodward was called for her own hooking penalty, but impressive blocks by the defense and clutch saves by Moore kept the Bears within striking distance. Head coach Amy Bourbeau called a time out with 37.4 left to play and Brown seemed ready to pull Moore in favor of the extra attacker, but Princeton kept the puck out of its defensive zone to foil the Bears' plan and hold on for the 2-1 win.
Princeton out shot Brown, 28-24, over the course of 60 minutes, while each team had an identical 17 blocks in its defensive efforts. Both the Bears and Tigers had two power play opportunities over the course of the evening, but neither team earned a goal with the advantage. Moore made 26 saves for Brown in the loss, while Newell had 23 stops to grab the win for Princeton.
Brown will conclude its season tomorrow afternoon when the team welcomes the Quinnipiac Bobcats to Meehan Auditorium. The puck is scheduled to drop at 4:00pm and, at the conclusion of the contest, the Bears will honor the accomplishments and contributions of the five members of the Brown women's ice hockey class of 2013 with a special on-ice ceremony.
Brown: 9 – 6 – 9 - 24
Princeton: 11 – 10 – 7 - 28
First Period: P, Mucha (unassisted), 1:10. B, Polenska (Moorehead, Woodward), 13:14. P, Contini (Cooke), 17:45. Penalties: none.
Second Period: none. Penalties: P, 1-2. B, 1-2.
Third Period: none. Penalties: P, 1-2. B, 1-2.
Goalies: B, (Moore), 60:00, 9 – 10 – 7 – 26 . P, (Newell), 60:00, 8– 6 – 9 – 23.