Sports

Bruno upsets top-ranked Yale

By
Sports Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Correction appended.

In an unprecedented upset, the men’s hockey team (7-8-4, 5-6-1 ECAC) dramatically took down the nation’s top-ranked Yale Bulldogs (17-2, 11-1), 3-2, on a game-winning goal in the final minute. The victory marked Brown’s first win against a top-ranked team since official rankings have been recorded.

With the game tied at two, Yale seemed poised to retake the lead with just three minutes left after they grabbed a man advantage for the sixth time that the day. But Brown goalie Mike Clemente ’12 stopped three Bulldog shots to kill the penalty, giving his team momentum as they returned to full strength.

It was the Bears’ captain, Harry Zolnierczyk ’11, who gave Brown fans something to cheer about, drilling the game-winning goal past Yale goalie Ryan Rondeau with just 16 seconds left in regulation.

“It was a broken-down play inside our zone,” said Zolnierczyk. “I just pushed it forward and it was off to the races.”

The win gave Bruno a split of the two-game series with Yale, as they dropped the first in New Haven, Conn. 5-2, just one day earlier. Despite the upset, Bruno has suffered from inconsistency thus far. After a tie in the Mayor’s Cup against Providence (7-10-5) Dec. 7, the team took down No. 15 Boston University (11-7-6) and Harvard (3-15-0, 2-11-0), while losing to Minnesota (10-9-3) and No. 18 Dartmouth (11-6-2,7-4-1). Last weekend at Meehan Auditorium, Bruno topped St. Lawrence (7-12-4, 3-8-0) but fell to Clarkson (12-9-2,6-4-1) the next day.

“We’ve been able to beat some really well-thought-of teams nationally,” Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 said. “Our problem is we’ve been inconsistent.”

One area of inconsistency has been staying out of the penalty box. According to the United States College Hockey Organization, Bruno ranks fourth in the nation in terms of penalty minutes, but ranks 37th in penalty killing.

“It’s not that we’re an inept penalty killing team, but we have a lot of the same guys that kill the penalty that play quality minutes,” Whittet said. “It wears you down.”

Whittet believes that penalties may be one factor that has contributed to his team’s sub-.500 record.

“We won’t be successful over the long haul if we continue to be in the box as much as we are now,” he said.

Zolnierczyk called excessive penalties the team’s “downfall” to this point in the season.

“That’s definitely something I have to work on individually as well,” Zolnierczyk said. The captain is second on the team in points, but leads the team with 83 penalty minutes.

Whittet’s squad hopes to gain steam heading into the final 10 games of the season. This weekend, they are hoping to avenge a pair of December home losses on a road trip to No. 10 Rensselaer (15-6-3, 7-5-0) and No. 13 Union College (16-7-3, 8-3-1).

Brown currently ranks ninth in the Eastern College Athletic Conference, a position that Coach Whittet hopes will improve.

“We’re going to have to win a majority of our games,” Whittet said. “But there are 10 games left — that’s a possibility of 20 points. I want to get all of them.”

A caption on the photograph attached to this article originally implied the photograph was taken at the Yale game. In fact, it was taken at an earlier game.