Sophomore forward Jenny Brine has been thrust into the spotlight this season, as she has played a lot of minutes with returning Olympians co-captain Julie Chu, sophomore Sarah Vaillancourt, and junior Caitlin Cahow.
This weekend against Yale and Brown, Brine continued to add to her statistics and play the role of finisher, as she notched six goals—including two game-winners and a natural hat trick during the Crimson’s 8-1 victory over the Bears on Friday.On Saturday, she scored the second goal in a 5-1 win for No. 7 Harvard (7-1-0, 7-1-0 ECAC) over the Bulldogs.
“It definitely builds some momentum,” Brine said. “Most of them were power play goals. There were some great players setting me up with great passes, and I was in the right place at the right time.”
Against Brown, Brine’s outburst came at a perfect time for the Crimson, as her ability to find the back of the net turned a 2-0 score a minute and a half into the second period into a 5-0 spread just 13 minutes later.
“[Brine] was incredible,” Chu said. “We need her to take a big role on the team. We’re going to be expecting [that kind of performance] from her for the rest of the season.”
Additionally, all four of her goals came on the power play, a unit that should prove to be Harvard’s most lethal offensive threat all year.
“It means a lot,” Brine said. “We focus a lot during practice on power plays. This year, with all the rule changes, there are a lot more penalties, so there are a lot more power play chances.”
Brine could not quite finish a second hat trick against Yale a day later, but her two goals in that contest brought her season total to 12. That tally is better than any teammate by four and has her currently at the top of the national leaders in goals per game with an average of 1.50. In points per game, she only trails teammates Chu and Vaillancourt with 2.25.
While she was clearly one of the best freshmen on last year’s squad, Brine has stepped into a more senior role on the team this year after some off-season training, combined with the experience of playing a year at this level.
“I worked hard over the summer,” Brine said. “I worked a lot in the gym on building up my cardio. I was working on my agility and building endurance. In practice, we’re working on different shots and different plays, and its really just coming through for us.”
A season ago, she netted 18 goals all year—a mark that, with her onslaught from this past weekend in mind, she may break before Christmas.
As the season progresses, teams may key in more on Brine and her ability to put tallies up on the scoreboard, but she will always find some space, as the main targets for opposing defenses are still Chu and Vaillancourt.
The duo had been her linemates earlier in the season, but this past weekend, she saw opening action with sophomore Sarah Wilson and freshman Randi Griffin. But even playing minutes with the inexperienced line, Brine found ways to break out and propel the Crimson to victory.
She, as well as the rest of Harvard, hopes that she will continue to find the holes no matter who she plays with, as the Crimson enters the tougher part of its season.
—Loren Amor contributed to the reporting of this story.
—Staff writer Gabriel M. Velez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org