Brown Out: Women’s Hockey Defeats 8’th-Ranked Bears

With one of the hardest schedules in the toughest league in the country, the Colgate women’s hockey team began the New Year with some high expectations. Earlier in the season, the women defeated eighth-ranked Providence, and the team entered its latest stretch of games in which it faced three teams ranked in the top nine in the country. Despite the daunting task, the team managed to pull out a victory over Brown and competed well against some of the other top teams in the ECACHL. On January 7, the Raiders played one of their best games of the season, defeating the Brown Bears by a score of 2-1. The team put pressure on the ninth-ranked Bears from the start, out-shooting Brown, 8-6 in the first period. The shooting paid off at the 9:50 mark, when junior Becky Irvine potted her tenth goal of the season to give the Raiders an early 1-0 lead. Sophomores Alix Warren and Tara French assisted on the goal, which came on a breakaway. The second period was much like the first for Colgate, as the Raiders bombarded the Brown goaltender with 11 shots, while senior Raider netminder Rebecca Lahar faced only four shots in the second stanza. First-year Cassie Reid gave the Raiders a two-goal lead at the 9:45 mark of the period with her first collegiate goal, set up by senior Maura Kehoe and first-year Kara Leene. With a two-goal lead, Colgate focused on preserving the lead, tightening up the defense. Although the Bears out-shot the Raiders, 7-2, in the final period, Lahar and the Colgate defense stood tall to preserve the win, despite allowing Brown to score a goal in the last minute. With the victory, Colgate secured its second win over a ranked opponent this season. The win was also the first-ever victory for the Raiders over Brown in eight attempts. The team returned to the ice the following night against the seventh-ranked Harvard Crimson and fatigue seemed to set in. The Raiders fell behind just 14 seconds into the game and could never recover, falling 3-0. Harvard came out strong, generating 18 shots in the first period, while the Raiders were unable to register a shot on goal until one minute remained in the period. The effort that it took to defeat Brown the previous evening – combined with the fact that Colgate was playing yet another nationally-ranked team – seemed to hamper the Raiders through the night. Sophomore Brook Wheeler was the person most affected by the Raider fatigue, as Harvard fired 38 shots at the Raider goaltender. Colgate, meanwhile, only attempted 10 shots. After the tough loss, the going did not get any easier for the Raider women last Tuesday, when they faced off with eighth-ranked New Hampshire. Just as occurred in the Harvard game, the Raiders fell behind early, allowing the Wildcats to score in the game’s first three minutes on its way to a 5-1 victory. UNH added another goal a few minutes later to take a quick 2-0 lead, putting Colgate in an early, deep hole. Raider senior Cheryl Setchell notched her second goal of the season to bring Colgate back to within one goal with seven minutes remaining in the period, but UNH came right back. Nicole Helke gave UNH its two-goal back late in the period, however, giving the Wildcats a lead that Colgate was unable to overcome. After the loss, Colgate rebounded the following weekend with a tie against Cornell and a win over Quinnipiac. After digging themselves into a 3-0 hole, the Raiders scored three unanswered goals and out-shot the Big Red 30-9 in the final two periods to escape Ithaca with a tie. Irvine and senior Amanda Barre each scored a goal and had an assist for Colgate during the furious comeback, which gave Colgate a hard-earned point on the road. The Raiders then took out some frustrations on Quinnipiac, scoring a season-high four goals on the way to an easy 4-1 victory. In the first period, Colgate out-shot the Bobcats, 21-4, and scored two first period goals that put the game out of reach early. Setchell scored the team’s first power-play goal in its last 30 chances in the opening period, setting the tone for a solid Raider game. Lahar stopped 19 of 20 shots she faced in the game, only allowing Quinnipiac a goal with two seconds left in the game. The Raider women, who currently stand at 8-10-2 overall and a 2-5-2 mark in the ECACHL, return to conference play this weekend when it travels to Vermont and Dartmouth. The Raiders face off against the Catamounts tonight at 7 p.m. and travel to Hanover for a 4 p.m. showdown with the second-ranked Big Green tomorrow.