CANTON, N.Y. — Brown didn’t lose a step from last weekend’s sweep of Vermont and No. 3 Dartmouth going into ECAC Quarterfinal Game One at No. 6 St. Lawrence’s Appleton Arena.
Behind a two power-play goal performance by Lindsey Glennon and a shutout from freshman O’Hara Shipe, the Bears (15-13-2) made quick work of the Saints (24-6-5) in a one sided 3-0 affair.
Glennon opened the scoring at 11:09 of the first period when she put away a loose rebound off a quick Hayley Moore shot just five seconds into the Bears’ first power-play of the night.
At 17:23 of the second period, Glennon struck again with a skillful deflection off a Myria Heinhuis shot from the point. She deflected the low shot from the right slot to beat Meaghan Guckian for a 2-0 Brown lead through two periods.
“They came down on a two-on-one and our girl made a great play and came up with the puck, but their girl tried to jump over our girl, and we wound up with a penalty,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan of the call leading to the Bears’ second goal. “Brown took advantage of the break and [Glennon] did a great job doing what forwards are taught to do, and kept her stick on the ice.”
Although Brown led after two periods, the Saints had ample opportunities to cut into the Bears lead. Sophomore Crystal Connors scored what looked to be an equalizer with 1:41 remaining in the first period, but the net was ruled to be dislodged, although no whistle had been immediately blown.
The Saints’ best chance of the game came with 11:11 left in the second period when Chelsea Grills fed Saints captain Rebecca Russell for a breakaway. Russell faked Shipe right and had her beat on the left, but she couldn’t backhand the puck into the open net.
Brown put the game out of St. Lawrence’s reach when Jessica Link walked in on a two-on-one and fired a wrist shot from the left slot past Guckian on her blocker side, 2:40 into the third frame. It was Link’s team-leading 15th goal of the season.
After falling down 3-0, the Saints looked to make at least a dent in Brown’s lead when they went on their first power-play of the game, surprisingly not until 4:46 of the third period. The opportunity got even better when the advantage grew to a 5-on-3. The Saints pestered Shipe with three shots during their 1:12 two-man advantage, coming closest when Saint junior forward Emilie Berlinguette put the puck off the post. Shipe held her ground all night and wound up with a twenty-one save clean sheet. Berlinguette saw her 18-game point streak come to an end.
“We’ve had bad luck all year, with bounces seeming to always go against us, but our team has never felt this positive going into the ECACs as we do this year,” said Brown’s Glennon after her two goal performance. “Confidence has been rising. We know we don’t have all-stars but we’ve really come together well down the stretch.”.
This was only Glennon’s third game back in the Bears lineup after suffering an injury versus No. 7 Mercyhurst in early February. Coach Murphy decided to insert Glennon back into her natural position on forward, due to Katie Guay’s standup performance on defense in her absence. In her last three games playing forward, Glennon has three goals and an assist. Tonight’s goals were Glennon’s fifth and sixth of the season.
“At Brown, traditionally the kids start to get it at a certain point in the season, players are finally getting confidence in moving the puck,” said Brown coach Digit Murphy, whose teams have a history of finishing strong. “We’re a tournament team, we don’t change anything, consistency is the key and we’re finally healthy, and the kids are deciding that they can do it.”
When asked how far a healthy Brown team can go, Murphy said, “I don’t know if we can make NCAAs, but if we continue to have a disciplined work ethic, we can at least go to a championship. Harvard is the monkey on our back and if we make it past St. Lawrence, we only have to beat [Harvard] once”.
The two teams will square off Saturday at 2 p.m. in Game 2 of the best-of-three ECAC Quarterfinal. If the Saints win they will force a decisive third game at the same time on Sunday.