Bears hope to start strong after last season’s icy end

Contributing Writer
Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The men’s hockey team will rely on its roster depth and the chemistry among its players to start the season off strong as it retakes the ice for the 2012-13 campaign Friday.
The team started practice two weeks ago, looking to rebound after a first-round loss in last spring’s Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament put an early end to last season. Preseason polls predict Bruno will finish at the bottom of the conference, but assistant captain Richie Crowley ’13 said such talk is a motivator for the Bears.
“One of the major driving forces behind us will be the fact that we got disrespected by media polls,” Crowley said. He added this year’s challenge will be “changing the culture of Brown Hockey to a winning organization.”
The Bears received a taste of the season ahead in a scrimmage last Saturday against conference foe Harvard. Bruno took the two-period exhibition match 3-1. Captain Dennis Robertson ’14 said the squad felt positive after the scrimmage, and the win gives them confidence heading into the regular season.
Robertson said the team’s depth this year will be its greatest strength. “We don’t have lines that will be a liability anymore,” he said. “All four forward lines especially are going to be able to attack and be a threat to other teams.”
Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 said these qualities – a deep Bears squad and the feeling of camaraderie the players share – combine to spell success on the ice.
“In my time, this is the most depth that we’ve had. It’s a good thing because it creates healthy competition,” he said. “What I see is a group of guys that is going to play together for one purpose.”
Crowley also said a feeling of unity among the players will be a powerful force for the Bears. “From the seniors all the way down, the chemistry has been really good,” he said. “When you see everyone every day, it’s hard not to be best friends.”
With the loss of last year’s captain and leading goal-scorer Jack Maclellan ’12 to the National Hockey League, much of the Bears’ scoring will have to come from returning forwards Chris Zaires ’13 and Matt Lorito ’15, Robertson said. He added that there are a host of players primed to break out offensively this season, including Ryan Jacobson ’15, Massimo Lamacchia ’15, Matt Harlow ’15 and Garnet Hathaway ’14.
Whittet said the Bears’ playing style emphasizes defensive strength. “I always want to concentrate on the defensive side out,” he said. “That’s what we’ve been preaching and practicing in the first few weeks on the ice.”
Robertson will team up with fellow returner Matt Wahl ’14 to protect goalies Anthony Borelli ’13 and Marco De Filippo ’14.
The Bears will bring five newcomers to the ice this year. Robertson said all five will be competitive right away. “They make our team a lot better,” he said. “All of them are really well-rounded players and they’re jumping into the systems we play and fit really quickly.”
Mark Naclerio ’16, one of the new Bears, said his transition to collegiate hockey has been seamless thanks to the upperclassmen. “The older guys are really helpful to the younger guys. As a freshman, the (upperclassmen) have all made me really feel welcome and help me out whenever we need it,” he said.
The Bears open the season this weekend, playing host to the Ivy League Showcase at the Meehan Auditorium. Bruno will square off against Princeton Friday evening and play Saturday night against either Yale or Dartmouth. Robertson said the team’s goals for the weekend are clear.
“Two wins is what we’re looking for,” he said. “We’re looking for a good start, then to keep on rolling from that.”
Crowley said despite the low expectations expressed through preseason polls, the team’s goals remain the same.
“Win Ivies. Win ECAC. Make the NCAA Tournament,” he said. He added that it is up to this year’s squad to change the team’s reputation and “establish ourselves as that team in the country … that teams hate to play.”

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