Sports

Men’s hockey secures first 2-0 start in 10 years

The team won its first match of the season against defending national champion Yale

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, October 28, 2013

This weekend’s start to the season may be difficult to top, as the men’s hockey team knocked off defending national champion and ECAC favorite No. 7 Yale, 4-1 and followed with a 5-3 win over Dartmouth, a team that it had not beaten since February 2008.

Though the games, played at the Liberty Invitational in Newark, do not count toward ECAC standings, the victories give Bruno its first 2-0 start in 10 years.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Mark Naclerio ’16. “We worked really hard in the off-season, and we were ready to get back on the ice.”

Naclerio led the charge for the Bears and was unanimously named MVP of the invitational after netting two goals against Yale and the game-winner against Dartmouth. Brandon Pfeil ’16 was named to the All-Tournament team after tallying three points and five blocked shots over the weekend.

In the two games, Bruno’s top line of Naclerio, Nick Lappin ’16 and Matt Lorito ’15 combined for 13 points.

“You never expect that, but they’re a very good line,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “Time will tell, but I think they’re one of the best lines in the ECAC and in the country. Points come when you do things right, and they did a lot of things right this weekend.”

The weekend also featured strong showings from two goalies competing for a starting position. Against the Bulldogs, Marco de Fillipo ’14 turned away 31 of 32 shots, while Tyler Steel stopped 28 of 31 against the Big Green.

 

Brown 4, Yale 1

In its first game of the season, Brown upset Yale in a match Bruno dominated from the middle of the second period.

The Bulldogs looked to have the early advantage after registering 11 shots compared to Bruno’s six in the first period. But de Fillipo and the Bears’ defense turned them all away in a scoreless first period.

The second frame did not start off well for the Bears. Three minutes into the period, captain Dennis Robertson ’14 was given a game misconduct for a five-minute boarding penalty. Without its captain and facing a five-minute penalty kill, Bruno gave up the first score of the game to the Bulldogs’ Stu Wilson.

But the game’s momentum shifted later in the period when Bruno capitalized on a power play of its own. Just 11 seconds after a hooking penalty against the Bulldogs, Naclerio found the back of the net on assists from Pfeil and Matt Wahl ’14 to even the score at one.

The third period was all Bears. Four minutes into the frame, Naclerio tallied his second goal of the evening off assists from Pfeil and Lorito. Lorito’s shot went off Naclerio and into the net.

“It was kind of lucky on my part, but I’ll take it,” Naclerio said.

Midway through the period, Matt Harlow ’15 added his name to the scoring sheet by beating Yale goalie Alex Lyon, whose play fell off sharply in the third period.

Lappin sealed the victory with an empty netter late in the contest.

De Fillipo finished strong with 12 saves in the third period. After sitting out almost the entire second half of the season last year, the senior goalie showed no signs of rust, shutting the door on the defending national champions.

On a line where the scoring is usually dominated by Lorito, Naclerio and Lappin combined for three goals, which fits well with Whittet’s early-season hopes that scoring will be more evenly distributed.

 

Brown 5, Dartmouth 3

As in the game against Yale, strong goaltending and timely scoring from Naclerio allowed Bruno to break its winless streak against Dartmouth.

“It was back and forth all game,” Naclerio said. “There were a lot of penalties and a lot of power play goals.”

“It wasn’t by any stretch perfect,” Whittet said. “We responded very well, and we were able to grit out a win.”

Bruno picked up right where it left off the evening before when Pfeil got on the board just 26 seconds into the game. Naclerio set up the goal by winning a faceoff to Pfeil, who fired a shot over the right shoulder of Dartmouth goalie Cab Morris.

“It was a good pass by Naclerio,” Pfeil said. “I just tried to get it through to the net, and it ended up going past the goalie.”

Just over a minute into the second period, Dartmouth knotted the game up at one when Troy Crema beat Steel just after a power play had expired. Lorito responded 11 seconds later, corralling a loose puck in front of the net before spinning and scoring to put the Bears up 2-1.

Before the end of the second period, Dartmouth’s Eric Neiley tied the score once again on a power-play goal.

Early in the third period, Lappin put the Bears ahead 3-2 on a power play goal. Lorito fed Lappin in front of the net, and he was initially denied but dived after the rebound for the score. But the potent Dartmouth power play stormed back with another goal a few minutes later, this time from Brandon McNally.

With 4:34 left in the game, Naclerio took a pass from Lappin in the offensive zone and scored five-hole on Morris for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal.

“It was great hustle,” Whittet said. “(Naclerio) really went after the loose puck.”

Garnet Hathaway ’14 added an empty netter to bring the final score to 5-3.

Naclerio attributed some of his success to opponents’ focus on Lorito.

“You can tell that some defenses key on him,” Naclerio said. “It definitely opened things up for me and (Lappin) this weekend. But (Lorito) is a great player, and he was able to get around it and score a lot of points.”

Bruno will host Clarkson for its home opener Friday evening and will play St. Lawrence in another ECAC matchup Saturday.

“We’re just trying to get better every day,” Pfeil said.

“It’s all about preparation in practice, and taking it one game at a time,” Naclerio said. “We know we have a good team and we expect to be successful, but the key is not letting it go to our heads.”