Fortunately for Harvard (10-7-3, 10-4-2 ECAC), it can rely on the leadership qualities of a protagonist determined to make up for lost time.
Senior forward and tri-captain Jenny Brine, rejuvenated upon her return to the lineup following a thumb injury last November, produced a virtuoso display as the Crimson secured back-to-back five-goal performances against Union and Rensselaer to extend its winning streak to four games.
Having had almost three weeks without a game due to final exams, the Harvard tri-captain was simply pleased to relieve the tension and get back on the ice.
“It was great after a long period off due to the exam period to get our legs back underneath us,” Brine said. “We had two strong performances and two wins, so it’s just nice to start rolling again.”
Crimson coach Katey Stone also expressed her delight with the returning forward’s form at such an important stage in the season.
“It’s great to have her back in the lineup after her injury. She’s one of our most talented players,” Stone said. “It’s good to see her feeling well and being able to shoot the puck so soon after coming back from injury.”
In a challenging weekend, Brine’s contribution was decisive.
Against Union, in the absence of fellow tri-captain Sarah Vaillancourt, Brine broke the ice and settled Harvard’s nerves by scoring the opening goal early in the second period.
The Crimson’s torch lit, Brine continued to prove the scourge of the Dutchwomen with a further three assists in a 5-1 rout. Contributing to junior Cori Bassett’s power-play goal and setting up both of sophomore Katharine Chute’s goals, Brine believed that the link-up with the forwards was key to Harvard’s success.
“It was good to get some chemistry this weekend [with Chute],” Brine said.
Against Rensselaer, Brine recorded two assists, feeding the restored Vaillancourt twice in a 5-4 win. The tri-captains combined incisively to build a strong advantage and continue the winning momentum.
As her injury rehabilitation continues, the senior is relishing this season’s new-found leadership responsibilities and this weekend’s dominant display serves as evidence.
“This season’s been a tough one for me,” Brine said. “As a captain, I think things are going well. It’s fun being a senior, and I’ve enjoyed being captain.”
In a campaign hampered by injury, Brine’s return is timely for Harvard. With the Beanpot, Ivy League, and ECAC Championships on the horizon, Stone will count on her tri-captain to be part of the Crimson’s offensive triumvirate.
“She’s a great kid, and I think she leads by example first,” Stone said. “It was a setback for her and for the team when she was out of the lineup, just because she plays hard, leads, and follows by example. It’s nice to have her back.”
With so much to play for, Brine is determined to secure a complete reversal of her injury problems by leading Harvard to future success.
“We’re just heading into this final stretch shooting for a good deal,” Brine said. “Everything is still open for us to achieve, and all of us have really high expectations for this part of the season.”
—Staff writer Allen J. Padua can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.