"I think we were a little off of our game," forward Jordan Harmon said. "At first, we underestimated [Rice]. They are a good skating team and at first we didn't realize that."
Harmon opened the scoring for BBA with 10:17 left in the first period.
After testing Rice goalie Emma Forgione over the first five minutes, Harmon was able to capitalize on a rebound attempt that deflected off the stick of a Rice defenseman to put the Bulldogs up.
"The goalie gave off a lot of rebounds and we were looking for that," Harmon said. "The puck bounced off another player...and I saw [the goal] wide open."
The Bulldogs' offense, though, struggled to get a second goal past Forgione (29 saves).
BBA would go on the power play four times during the contest, but the team was unable to take advantage of the situations.
BBA coach Ed Lewicki pointed to one power play, which started at the start of the second period, that encapsulated the team's struggles to shake off 10 days of rust.
"[We] held the puck in the end for two minutes, and we missed...chances, tip-ins, deflections, shots that were just wide," Lewicki said. "I thought we had five good chances, and we didn't finish one of them."
But while the Bulldogs were trying to get the offense back firing, the defensive scheme allowed goalie Kaylie Benson (11 saves) to have a relatively quiet evening.
"With the [10 days] off, we changed our defensive scheme a little bit," Lewicki said. "We tried to be more aggressive, especially in our own end...We had a lot of breakdown against Rutland (a 3-3 tie). With this new scheme, it is very aggressive."
In the second period, Kristi Lewicki had two good chances on rebound attempts, but the junior was just off on both chances. The Bulldogs also created a scramble in front of the Rice net on a power play midway through the period, but Forgione was able to cover the puck for a face-off.
"We are real small in numbers, and the fear tonight was coming here, with this big ice surface, that they would figure us out and tire us out," Rice coach Maurice Boucher said. "But the girls played very well. This is the best game my defensemen have played in terms of getting the puck up. That is what saved us."
Rice's best chance of the evening came on the power play at the start of the third period.
Haley Boucher was able to pick up the puck in her defensive zone and skated forward past the BBA defensemen for a one-on-one opportunity against Benson. Boucher, though, could not fool Benson and the junior was able to save the shot and end the danger.
With 3:44 to play in the third period, BBA would get its insurance goal through Daisy Sullivan, who was able to hit home on a rebound. Kristi Lewicki and Bazyk were credited with the assists.
BBA moves to 10-1-2 with the win, while Rice falls to 4-7-0. BBA plays next on Wednesday, away against Spaulding.
The Bulldogs were without forward Megan Grabher for the second-straight contest. Grabher is out due to sickness, with no return date set. Her absence caused a switch in the lines used by BBA.
"In Rutland, we lost [Grabher] and that kind of changed the dynamics. Her, Daisy, and Kristi worked real well on the second line. We brought Aggie [Bisselle] down to be the center on the second line. Just a matter of getting used to the changes."