M. hockey shocks No. 6 Yale, heads to ECAC semis

By
Sports Editor
Monday, March 15, 2010

Goalie Michael Clemente ’12 stared through his metal facemask out onto the ice as the final minutes of game three of the ECAC quarterfinals winded down. He had held No. 6 Yale, the top goal-scoring team in the league, scoreless so far.

But the Bulldogs’ offensive attack, which averaged 40 shots on goal per game and was led by the third-leading scorer in the nation, was gunning for him. And with the Bears ahead by only one goal, Clemente couldn’t afford any mistakes.

“You’re just going one shot at a time — deny the shot and control the rebound,” Clemente said.

He did just that — 44 times, without slipping up once.

Clemente maintained his shutout until the final buzzer sounded, sending Brown to the ECAC Hockey semifinals in Albany, N.Y., for the first time since 2003.

“It’s definitely the best time of year to be playing hockey,” Clemente said.

The Bears will look to pull another upset next Friday when they take on No. 9 Cornell in the ECAC semifinals on Friday.

This weekend’s series all came down to game three after Brown beat Yale on Friday, 3-2, then lost on Saturday, 6-3.

Brown 3, Yale 2

It was a similar story Friday night, when Yale was held to under three goals for just the second time since January, as Clemente stopped 37-of-39 shots.

Yale’s normally explosive offense fizzled while missing its leader, Ivy League Player of the Year Sean Backman, who broke his foot earlier in the week.

Brown’s offense did its part, thanks to Bobby Farnham ’12, Jeff Buvinow ’12 and tri-captain Aaron Volpatti ’10 — who each had one assist and one goal on the night.

“Game one, we came out on fire,” Clemente wrote in an e-mail to The Herald. “The offense was clicking and the defense limited their second chances. I was beating passes, getting to the top of the crease and eating pucks.”

After a scoreless first period, Buvinow lit the lamp just seven seconds into the middle frame on a shot from the far side of mid-ice that found its way through traffic and between Yale goalie Billy Blaise’s legs.

Volpatti, who is tied for the most goals on Brown, had his 15th of the season 57 seconds after Buvinow’s to give the Bears a 2-0 lead.

The teams traded goals in the opening 6:18 of the third period, and neither team scored again until the Bulldogs got one with 38 seconds left after pulling their goalie in favor of an extra attacker, narrowing Brown’s lead to 3-2, where it stayed until the buzzer sounded.

Yale 6, Brown 3

Neither Clemente’s play nor Backman’s absence could slow down the Bulldogs’ offense Saturday night.

Broc Little — the third-leading goal scorer in the nation — scored just 26 seconds into the game. Three other Bulldogs added goals in the first two periods, giving Yale a 4-0 lead heading into the final frame.

“Saturday we got off to a slow start,” Clemente wrote. “I let in a couple soft goals.”

In a third period plagued by penalties, Brown mounted a comeback that made the final score look more exciting, but never gave the Yale crowd much to worry about as the Bears couldn’t get closer than three goals away.

The Bears’ first goal on the night came shorthanded, when Jack Maclellan ’12 executed a 2-on-1 rush after a turnover in the neutral zone, making the score 4-1. But any momentum Brown could have gained from the goal died quickly when Yale added its fifth goal just 1:10 later.

Volpatti scored for the sixth game in a row on a five-on-three power play with 6:08 left in the third period, and Scott Van der Linden ’10 matched a late Yale goal with his first of the season in the last minute of the game, making the final score 6-3.

“We just tried to turn it around a little bit in the third period to just try to get some momentum going into tonight, and it looks like it paid off,” Maclellan said after Sunday’s game.

Brown 1, Yale 0

It was just a little off from the start for the Yale, as Marc Arcobello put one off of the pipe less than two minutes into the game. The one-inch miss came back to haunt the Bulldogs.

Maclellan scored the only goal of the game shorthanded 9:21 after the opening faceoff.
Two Yale defenders collided, leaving the puck lying open and Maclellan punched it out, raced down the ice and fired it past the goalie from one stride inside of the blue line.
It was Maclellan’s second shorthanded goal of the series.

Neither team scored for the rest of the night. The Bears lost on the shot charts, 44-21. But with Clemente shutting down Brown’s goal, Maclellan’s one was all the Bears needed.
“It’s pretty impressive to get a shutout against the No. 1 offensive team in the country,” Maclellan said.

When the clock finally showed 0:00, the Brown benched poured onto the ice to celebrate with Clemente. Maclellan said everyone on the team had a word of congratulations for the goalie.

When asked what those final moments were like, Clemente simply said, “Lots of fun. Lots of smiles.”