Sports

Bruno fights through winter break, preps for tough lineup

Plagued by injury and illness, the men’s hockey team has split wins and losses so far

By
Senior Staff Writer
Friday, January 25, 2013

Men’s hockey faced two nationally-ranked opponents during winter break. Battling knee problems and bouts of flu, the Brunonians skated to a 3-3 record. Herald file photo.

The men’s hockey team went 3-3 over the winter break, bringing its overall record to 6-8-4, 2-5-4 ECAC. The squad went 1-1 at the UConn Hockey Classic, earning them third place, and 2-2 in conference games.

The first two league wins for the Bears came Jan. 11 against Clarkson and Jan. 19 against Harvard. Team captain Dennis Robertson ’14 said the wins were important in boosting the team’s morale for upcoming conference games.

Offensive productivity was key for the Bears, who scored an average of 3.3 goals per game over break, an improvement from the 2.1 average in the team’s first 12 matchups. Robertson said this increase could be attributed to more players getting involved in the offense.

“Guys are starting to click out there,” Robertson said. “We are getting more balanced scoring, and our game against Harvard is a perfect example where we had five different goal scorers.”

But on defense, the Bears have been plagued by injury and illness. Goaltender Marco De Filippo ’14 has had knee problems, and fellow keeper Anthony Borelli ’13 has suffered from the flu twice. Defensemen Matt Wahl ’14, Joey de Concilys ’15, Kyle Quick ’15 and Nate Widman ’16 have also missed time due to injuries.

“This is the worst year I’ve seen for injuries,” Robertson said. “Even guys that are in the lineup are still not at 100 percent.”

But Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 said the team will not be deterred from playing hard and seeking success.

“Guys get injured. It happens everywhere,” he said. “The people that step into these roles have a job, and I want them to do a job without having excuses to fall back on.”

After a short holiday break, the Bears were back in action Dec. 29-30 at the UConn tournament competing against nonconference teams. No. 14 Minnesota State Mankato beat Bruno 3-1 in game one, but the Bears rebounded the following night with a 7-2 victory over American International College. Robertson said the tournament was important for helping the team shake off rust while allowing them to test their mettle against different styles of play.

Before heading back into conference play, Bruno hosted a European all-star team, the Russian Red Stars, in an exhibition matchup Jan. 2. The Bears rolled to a 7-1 victory in the contest, with a hat trick by Jeff Ryan ’13.

When the Bears travelled to Clarkson to resume league play, forward Ryan Jacobson ’15 led the squad, contributing two goals to the Bear’s 3-2 win. Bruno followed the win a day later with a second league game at St. Lawrence, but this time the Bears came out on the losing end of another 3-2 decision.

Bruno fell to No. 11 Dartmouth 4-2 at home Jan. 18, but avenged the conference loss with a 5-2 win over Harvard the following night.

The road will not get any easier for the Bears as three of their next five games are against top 20 teams in the national rankings. Despite all the injuries this year, the team remains upbeat heading into this crucial stretch of the season, Robertson said. Whittet said the key to success through the brutal schedule will be disciplined play.

“We have to concern ourselves with ourselves,” he said. “We’ve got to focus on the little things and making sure we’re as crisp as possible when the puck drops.”