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Colgate’s Neena Brick is quietly having an outstanding season

Now in her junior season, Neena Brick has established herself as an offensive force on a team full of stars.

The fourth-ranked Colgate Raiders Women’s Hockey Team has been steamrolling through the 2023-24 regular season. At 14-2-1, they have six wins over ranked teams. Their only losses this season are to #2 Ohio State and #6 Minnesota-Duluth. The Raiders have established themselves as a legitimate national championship contender.

Driving that success is a roster loaded with star players. Danielle Serdachny, Kalty Kaltounková, Elyssa Biederman, and newcomer Sydney Morrow are among the very best players in the nation. They also make up four of the top five scorers for the Raiders this season. The name that is missing from the Colgate top five is a player who has put together a special season thus far and has defined the term “unsung hero”.

That player is forward Neena Brick.

Neena Brick is having a spectacular season for the Colgate Raiders. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Through seventeen games played, Brick is third on her team in points with twenty-four – trailing only Serdachny and Kaltounková. She is second on the team in both overall goals (thirteen) and power-play goals (four), with only Kaltounková ahead of her. In the Raider’s last game before the end-of-semester break on December 5th at Syracuse, Brick scored four goals and registered one assist. It was her second five-point game of the season and she is currently the only player in Division I to have scored four goals in one game twice.

Although Neena Brick may not be a household name in Women’s college hockey circles, her efforts have not gone unnoticed by Colgate head coach Greg Fargo.

“Neena’s game shines because she’s exceptionally intelligent”, Fargo said about Brick. “We often say that she’s playing a game of chess when others are playing checkers; she’s always two steps ahead, aware of every player on the ice. It’s not about sheer speed or physicality for her; it’s about precision, about making the right play at the right time. Watching Neena, you realize she’s the link for her linemates – she’s the one making others look brilliant”.

Her tremendous work ethic has impressed the Colgate bench boss as well.

“Since day one, Neena has embraced the challenge of improving her defensive play, a crucial aspect for a center at this level. Her transformation in defensive play has been remarkable, earning her the trust of her team and coaches in just about every scenario”.

“Her growth over the past three years has been a privilege to witness. Neena embodies this desire to continuously improve; her drive, focus, and eagerness to grow set her apart as much as her gameplay.”

Colgate Raiders Head Coach Greg Fargo on the evolution of Neena Brick’s game.

The evolution of Brick’s game and consequently Fargo’s trust in that game is apparent this season. Brick is putting up her exceptional numbers while mostly centering a line with two first-year wingers, Kaia Malachino and Madeline Palumbo. Malachino and Palumbo are both fine players and having Brick as their center will help make both of them that much better.

The Colgate Raiders Women’s Hockey 2023-24 season preview

“Another area where she stands out is in the faceoff circle” Fargo observed. “Seeing her master the faceoff circle, it’s become an art form she owns, which again, is a testament to her commitment to make an impact on our team. She’s carved out a critical role for herself here making her an invaluable part of this team. She’s a great example and role model for some of her younger teammates who surely look up to her.”

Neena Brick digs in to take a faceoff against Yale in their game at the Class of 1965 Arena on November 4, 2023. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

Brick’s exceptional season is a result of hard work both on and off the ice. Although her routine did not change from previous seasons, she took to the video room to help her prepare for this season.

“I continued to grow my game in different areas that I thought were necessary to set me up for success this season” the native of Regina, Saskatchewan said. “Video analysis from my previous season allowed me to understand areas where I can improve, which means incorporating or building on new skills”. 

Her experiences in her first two years with the Raiders helped prepare her for the leadership role she has taken on this season.

“One of the first things I noticed when coming to Colgate was the leadership displayed by the upperclassmen. This is important in order to quickly make the freshman feel welcome and feel like a team. The impact of this leadership on our team is reflected in our team’s success”.

A consummate teammate, she is quick to point out the work her teammates have put in to contribute to the team’s success. According to Brick, it is the culture of determination and teamwork that has helped make Colgate one of the preeminent Women’s college hockey programs in the country.

Neena Brick celebrates a Colgate Raiders goal with her teammates. Photo credit: Scott Kinville.

“Determination is a team trait that has been very evident throughout my time at Colgate,” Brick said about the Colgate program. “Players are constantly working on improving their game on or off the ice, and it is something that has pushed me to do the same. As a team we are determined to improve and keep getting better every day, to ultimately set us up for the best success”.

That determination has had the Raiders ranked inside of the top five in the national polls for the entire season. They return to action on December 29th for the second half of their season and pursuit of their fourth straight ECAC championship. Colgate is determined to bring a national championship banner home, and if that happens, Neena Brick will be a big part of it.

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