Sports

M. hockey takes 3rd in ECAC championships

By
Sports Editor
Monday, March 22, 2010

The men’s hockey team was the first No. 11 seed in ECAC Hockey Tournament history to make it to the tournament Final Four, but the Bears’ unlikely run to the championship ended Friday night in a 3-0 loss to No. 7 Cornell, who went on to win the tournament.

“We were a program that was utterly down when I got there, and we’ve had to change the mentality and culture,” said first-year Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “It would have been nice to obviously win a championship, but we made some good strides.”

The Bears beat St. Lawrence in a 3-0 consolation game the next day to finish in third place.

Cornell 3, Brown 0
When Cornell took the ice minutes before the opening faceoff, a sea of red shirts roared. And when the Bears skated out seconds later, only a murmur came from the small Brown contingent. But the atmosphere didn’t intimidate the Bears.

“I thought we were going to win this game because we were on a roll, and our guys believed — not only believed we should be here, but believed we should win a championship, and that’s pretty powerful,” Whittet said.

Brown controlled the opening period, getting out to an 11-5 advantage in shots. But both goalies shut down the nets, and the teams skated into the locker rooms at intermission with the scoreboard still blank.

“They did a lot of good things in the first period against us and put us back on our heels,” said Cornell Head Coach Mike Schafer. “We did a good job in the second period and started to create some offensive chances.”

The first chance to find the back of the net came off the stick of Locke Jillson 15:35 into the period. Jillson took the puck from the left faceoff circle, sized up Brown goalie Michael Clemente ’12, made a quick move and fired a blistering wrist shot inside of Clemente’s elbow to give Cornell a 1-0 lead.

“What happened in the second period was we couldn’t get any pressure at all because they were in our zone for 40 or 50 seconds,” Whittet said. “By the time we got out, we were dumping pucks in and we were gassed and had to change.”

The chances were there for Brown in the third. Bobby Farnham ’12 got on a breakaway seven minutes into the third period but was shut down. And Jack Maclellan ’12  had a chance from point blank with 6:30 left in the final frame. But Cornell goalie Ben Scrivens denied those two pucks and 21 more in the shut out.

“If one of those pucks went in, it’s a different game,” said tri-captain Jordan Pietrus ’10, who returned Friday from what was once labeled a season-ending injury.
John Esposito and Riley Nash both beat Clemente in the third period, giving Cornell the 3-0 victory.

Brown 3, St. Lawrence 0
In his last collegiate game, Dan Rosen ’10 — who backed up Clemente in goal this season — got the start and made the most of his opportunity.

Rosen blanked the Saints and had 21 saves.

“He’s the real deal,” St. Lawrence Head Coach Joe Marsh said of Rosen. “He sees the puck so well, he’s quick. He made a couple of saves that we had some really good shots on — we set screens and he just stuck the pad out there. … There’s two really quality goaltenders at Brown.”

After a scoreless first period, Rosen got some support on the other end when second team All-Ivy selection Aaron Volpatti ’10 got on a breakaway with little more than five minutes left in the period. Volpatti approached the goal from the right, then swooped to the left and dinged a wrist shot off of the post and into the net, giving Brown a 1-0 lead.

“I think (the first goal) set us up for, ‘Okay, let’s pop another one and get the win for our class and for the rest of the team and send these guys on a high note for next year,’ ” Volpatti said.

And the Bears did just that. Jesse Fratkin ’11 made it a 2-0 game on a one-timer from Harry Zolniercyzk ’11 and then Zolnierczyk added an empty-net goal with 3:08 left on the clock to seal third place for Brown.

“Not many teams, or especially seniors, get to go out with a win,” Rosen said. “To have the team play as hard as they did and play the way they did … it meant a lot to the seniors and particularly to me.”