PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The first puck drop of 2014 is fast approaching as the Brown women's hockey team hosts No. 3 Cornell on Friday at 7 p.m. and Colgate on Saturday at 4 p.m. in a pair of ECAC Hockey contests. Friday's showdown will be the first of the New Year for the Bears at Meehan Auditorium and the team's first home contest since Nov. 26.
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LAST TIME OUT
The Bears tied their season high with three goals from three different players, but Maine used a pair of third-period goals to battle Brown (1-9-3) to a 3-3 tie in non-league action at Alfond Arena on Saturday, Dec. 7.
Senior co-captain Jennifer Nedow (Brockville, Ontario) scored a power play goal in the second period to stamp an exclamation point on her 100th career game for the Bears, while freshman Catherine LeBoeuf (Diepe, New Brunswick) potted her first career goal to give Brown a 3-0 lead midway through the second stanza.
Junior Janice Yang (Westport, Conn.) scored the game's first goal and junior Kaitlyn Keon (Toronto, Ontario) picked up a pair of assists. Seniors Kelly Kittredge (Mahwah, N.J.) and Vanessa Welten (Crysler, Ontario) also tallied assists on Nedow's marker.
In net, sophomore Micaela Ross (McKinney, Texas) and freshman Monica Elvin (Oakland, Calif.) each made their collegiate debut, with Elvin earning the start and stopping all 23 shots sent her way in 30:58 between the pipes. Ross took over in the second period and made 13 saves.
SCOUTING THE BIG RED
The third-ranked Big Red of Cornell saw its unbeaten streak snapped with a 4-1 loss to split a weekend series against No. 7 Boston College on Nov. 30, but returned to its winning ways with a 5-2 victory over Syracuse on Dec. 3 to improve to 10-1-2 on the season. Cornell is unbeaten in ECAC play at 6-0-2 with ties against No. 9 Quinnipiac and Ivy League rival, No. 6 Harvard.
The high octane Big Red offense ranks second in the nation with 4.08 goals per game and is led by the country's top goal scorer, Jillian Saulnier. The junior forward has 12 goals to average 0.92 per game, while classmate Emily Fulton paces the nation in points per game (1.85) and assists per game (1.23). Sophomore Cassandra Poudrier is tied for the most power play goals in Division I with five, helping Cornell top the rankings in power play conversion at 30.6 percent (19-of-62). Senior goalie Lauren Slebodnick compliments the offense with the third best win percentage in the country (.909), while allowing just 1.96 goals per game.
SCOUTING THE RAIDERS
Colgate heads to Providence on a six-game winless streak after consecutive 2-2 non-conference ties against Vermont on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1. The Raiders last won on Nov. 8 with a 5-1 ECAC victory over Union, and now hold a 3-12-2 overall record and 1-7-0 mark in league play.
Junior Miriam Drubel propels the Colgate offense and leads the squad in goals (6), assists (5) and points (11). Sophomore Nicole Gass challenges Drubel for the most helpers with five of her own, while junior Katie Case anchors the defense with a team-high 29 blocks.
All three Raider goalies have seen significant time in net with junior Brittney Brooks earning seven starts and logging 392 minutes. Brooks leads the Colgate netminders in goals against average (2.30) and save percentage (.923), but junior Susan Allen and sophomore Ashlynne Rando each earned a victory this season in a combined 13 appearances.
Friday marks the 78th meeting between Brown and Cornell, dating back 1972 when the teams met for the Bears' inaugural contest against an Ivy League squad. The Big Red holds a 38-31-8 advantage in the all-time series and has won 11 in a row, while the Bears aim to take down Cornell for the first time since prevailing 3-0 on Jan. 20, 2007.
The Colgate series is dead even at 10-10-3 after the two sides split last season's meetings. Brown took the first game of the series by a 4-1 score on Oct. 27 thanks to goals from Ariana Rucker (Oakton, Va.), Sarah Robson (Mississauga, Ontario) and Welten, but the Raiders took the rematch at Meehan, 4-3, on Jan. 25.
Brown travels for a pair of Ivy League and ECAC contests at No. 5 Harvard and Dartmouth next Friday and Saturday, respectively. The Bears square off against the Crimson at 7 p.m. and the Big Green at 4 p.m.