Oct. 25, 2007
Providence, RI - It may not seem so at first glance, but the 2006-07 season was one to build on for the Brown Bears. After a long losing streak to start the season, the young squad found its footing in the second half, finishing 9-6-1 in its last 16 games and making a late run at an ECAC Hockey playoff bid. The team's young players - seniors accounted for just seven percent of the team's goals - improved dramatically as the year went on.
Now, last year's youth that may have been a disadvantage has become an advantage in a solid core that remains largely the same. In the 2007-08 season, Brown is poised to take a large step towards reclaiming its spot among ECAC Hockey's elite teams. Sixteen letterwinners return, while seven freshmen join the fold.
Forward (Returning: 13; Lost: 1; Newcomers: 2)
Brown's forward unit remains largely intact. The offense will revolve around senior captain Hayley Moore and sophomore Andrea Hunter, who combined for 65 points last season. After three seasons, Moore has accumulated 105 points, good for 17th all-time at Brown with one season still to play. She had team highs with 20 goals and 36 points last season, leading the team in almost every other offensive category. She earned Honorable Mention All-Ivy status, after finishing the previous year First Team All-Ivy and Second Team All-ECAC. Hunter, who also played as a defenseman early in the season when the team was shorthanded on the blue line, blossomed when inserted as the center on Moore's line, eventually finishing with a team-high 20 assists. She also was second on the squad with nine goals and 29 points.
Junior Savannah Smith came into her own after being moved onto Hunter and Moore's line, scoring 10 of her 14 points (9g, 5a) in the season's final three weeks. A small but powerful player, Smith has the hardest shot on the team, a big reason why she scored on 32 percent of her shots last season.
Senior captain Rylee Olewinski, and sophomores Sasha Van Muyen and Erin Connors should also provide the Bears with some solid scoring punch. Olewinski, who had 14 points (8g, 6a) for the second consecutive season, leads with a tough, hard-nosed style, as evidenced by her team-high 54 penalty minutes last season. She was the Bears' best center at winning draws, and was often counted on to take important faceoffs. Van Muyen and Connors both showed promise in their rookie seasons while playing with a similarly rugged style. Van Muyen tied for third on the squad with 14 points (9g, 5a), finishing strong with seven points in the team's final eight games. Connors, who saw time on the team's top line, had a seven-game point streak en route to 12 points (5g, 7a).
Moving forward after playing their rookie seasons on the blue line, sophomores Nicole Brown and Amanda Asay could be x-factors this season. Both helped the Bears fill a need by playing out of position last season, but will be moving back up to their natural spots. After finishing with four assists while concentrating on defense, Nicole Brown will be expected to step into one of the Bears' top lines right away. Asay, who finished with six points (2g, 4a), could also move up the depth chart as the season progresses.
Bringing their experience to the Brown penalty kill will be senior assistant captain Emilie Bydwell and senior Heather Lane. Junior Frances Male will be looking to regain the form of her 11-point freshman season after tallying just two points (1g, 1a) last year.
Sophomores Kath Surbey and Elizabeth Denis round out the returning forwards. Surbey had two assists in her rookie campaign, while Denis' lone point was her first collegiate goal. After a season adjusting to the collegiate game, the duo will be among those the Bears hope will increase their scoring punch.
Defense (Returning: 1; Lost: 4; Newcomers: 4)
While the forwards remain largely the same, the Brown blue line will see some major turnover. With four players gone and two more moving to forward, the unit will consist of one sophomore and four freshmen.
Sophomore Jenny Cedorchuk will be the senior member on the Bears' defense in just her second season. Cedorchuk had four assists in her rookie campaign, seeing significant ice time in the blue-line rotation.
Four freshmen - Erica Kromm, Jaclyn Small, Samantha Stortini, and Macie Winship - will jump in and play immediately. They will be expected to help take the pressure off Brown's goaltenders, while helping to improve the defense's scoring punch, as Bear defensemen scored just two goals last season.
Goaltending (Returning: 1; Lost: 1; Newcomers: 1)
Only one goaltender returns from last season, but fortunately that one is junior assistant captain Nicole Stock. After seizing the job as the Bears' top goalie in the middle of November, Stock went 9-6-2 with three shutouts. For the season, she posted a 2.82 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage to earn Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors. She wound up playing just under 72 percent of the time in net for Brown, winning ECAC Goalie of the Week twice after spectacular three-game performances late in the year.
Backing her up will be freshman Joy Joung. A graduate of Phillips Academy Andover, she'll be counted on to take some of the pressure off Stock while adjusting to the pace of the collegiate game.