Sports

Inconsistency plagues men’s hockey in split

1-0 victory over UConn gives Bears first win since Halloween, but Crusaders beat Bruno in blowout

By
Sports Staff Writer
Sunday, November 30, 2014

Defenseman Ben Tegtmeyer ’18 corrals the puck. Defense has been a big problem for the Bears this season, as the team has allowed a whopping 3.75 goals per game overall, and 4.45 per game in ECAC play.

One might have thought that a respite from ECAC hockey would be good for the men’s hockey team, which has yet to register a conference win and has been outscored 27-8 in ECAC play. But it was more of the same inconsistent play for Brown this weekend as it beat the University of Connecticut 1-0 but fell 5-0 at Holy Cross.

The Bears’ (2-7, 0-6 ECAC) triumph Saturday over UConn (3-7-4, 2-3-1 HEA) was their second win of the season, which is especially impressive because the Huskies have registered some quality results so far, including a win against Boston College and a tie against No. 1 Boston University.

Goalie Tim Ernst ’17 got the start for Brown — his second of the season — and was able to record the first shutout of his career and the first of Brown’s season. He had 25 saves, none more important than his last two of the game with less than 10 seconds remaining.

“I was looking for someone to step up,” Whittet said. Ernst “made some good timely saves, but I thought it was more of a team effort. He was able to see a lot of pucks that came at him, and that’s something we hadn’t done defensively in prior games.”

On the offensive side, it was another tale of firsts, as Mark Naclerio ’16 made his first goal of the season to give the Bears the only point it would need. Picking off a UConn pass right outside the Huskies’ crease, Naclerio put the puck past a helpless Rob Nichols to convert what would be the game’s only goal.

“We needed a win,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We needed to play good defensive hockey, and then we capitalized on a turnover. It was a big win for us, and I was hopeful it would turn into a winning streak.”

But Brown followed up its most impressive result of the season with one of its worst results against Holy Cross: The Crusaders thrashed the Bears, 5-0, in a game that was much more emblematic of Brown’s rough start to its 2014-15 campaign.

“I thought we were awful,” Whittet said. “I told the guys it would be a challenge — I saw the film and I knew that they played at a fast pace — but we just lacked on the mental side of the game, and that’s unacceptable.”

Ernst started for the second game in a row, but the Bears fell behind quickly as Ryan Ferrill gave the Crusaders a 1-0 lead after three minutes. From there, Ferril had quite an impressive game: The Holy Cross freshman doubled his tally and the lead with four minutes left in the first period, completing his hat trick two and a half minutes into the second period.

Holy Cross continued its dominance in the third period, with T.J. Moore getting a power-play goal after two minutes and then doubling his total and pushing the lead to five less than two minutes later. Holy Cross goaltender Matt Ginn registered 25 saves for his shutout as the Bears suffered another tough loss to a lesser-quality opponent — the Crusaders lost to and tied Army earlier in the year, the only team besides UConn that Bruno has beaten this season.

“We need a healthy lineup. We didn’t have (Matt Lorito ’15) for these two games and he’s a big part of our offense,” Whittet said. “We’ve been really disjointed all season because of injuries, but we just have to be better. We have to take care of the puck better, have better outlets. If we think we can just walk into games and win, we’re not going to be successful.”

The Bears will aim to notch their first conference win of the season next weekend against Union (7-6-1, 1-4-1) and Rensselaer (6-9-1, 4-2).