Sports

Men’s hockey falls to Clarkson, St. Lawrence in blowout weekend

With only one ECAC win to their name, Bears lack confidence and come up short against top teams

By
Senior Staff Writer
Monday, January 26, 2015

The men’s hockey team opened conference play in November against St. Lawrence and Clarkson full of confidence after an exhibition win over Dartmouth and a non-conference win against Army, but two losses set the tone for what would become a series of struggles against ECAC opponents.

Two-and-a-half months later, the results were the same: Brown (4-15, 1-11 ECAC) was dominated by fourth-place Clarkson (10-11-4, 7-4-2) by a score of 6-0 and fell to second-place St. Lawrence (13-10-2, 9-4-0), 5-2.

“I just think that we’re gripping our stick too tight,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We’re really lacking confidence, and we’re not playing winning hockey.”

Brown came out slow against the Golden Knights and was punished for it courtesy of a blast from Kevin Tansey that careened off the far post and past Tyler Steel ’17. Bruno got into a rhythm and accrued 10 shots after the goal, but none could find their way past Greg Lewis.

Just 23 seconds into the second period, Brown got what would be its best chance of the game. After a scramble in front of the net, the Bears were awarded a penalty shot because the referees determined that Clarkson’s Jeff DiNallo had thrown the puck out of the crease. Unfortunately for Bruno, Matt Lorito ’15 was unable to convert and the Golden Knights maintained their lead.

Two minutes later, A.J. Fossen was called for a major penalty, and Brown found itself with its second-best scoring chance of the night. But Brown’s power play, the worst in the ECAC,  failed to convert on any of its eight opportunities this weekend. Moments after the penalty expired, Janick Asselin, who was serving a coincidental minor with Brandon Pfeil ’16 along with Fossen’s major, took a clearing pass and walked in for the Golden Knights’ second goal of the night.

From there, the game got out of hand.­ About a minute-and-a-half later, Todd Christian got Clarkson’s third of the night, forcing Whittet to pull Steel for Tim Ernst ’17. Three minutes before the period ended, Clarkson got its fourth on the power play and then tacked on two more in the third period to complete the rout.

“I just don’t think we’re mentally crisp enough,” Whittet said. “We don’t seem to be able to handle the moment when things don’t go our way.”

Brown’s response to adversity was a little stronger against St. Lawrence. The Bears started out the first period strong but were undone by one of the most impressive goals college hockey has seen this year. Sean McGovern latched on to an Eric Sweetman pass behind the net and flicked it over the cage to Christian Horn, who settled and shot past Ernst.

The Saints tacked on another goal in the second period, heading into the third up 2-0 before Joe Sullivan scored St. Lawrence’s third. But Brown’s response after a Whittet timeout was impressive — Nick Lappin ’16 took a  pinpoint pass from Lorito and finished past stellar first-year goalie Kyle Hayton.

Pushing for a second goal, Brown was caught out when Josh McArdle ’18 was dispossessed at the blue line, allowing Gunnar Hughes to walk in and finish after Ernst’s glove tipped his shot. It was the Bears’ second power play goal allowed on 13 chances on the weekend, a marked improvement for the nation’s worst penalty kill.

“The penalty kill has been a lot better since we came back and a lot better than the beginning of the year,” Whittet said. “Both times we gave up goals we were pressing, so they were goals that had less to do with the kill and more to do with us trying to get things going on the offensive side and get back in the games,” he added.

Joey de Concilys ’15 cut the lead back to two after a pretty finish off of a Massimo Lamacchia ’15 pass, but St. Lawrence responded 14 seconds later to all but close the door on Bruno’s hopes of a comeback.

“We need more pushback. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves,” Whittet said. “I get the sense that our guys get really deflated when things don’t go our way, and that can’t happen.”

The goal was de Concilys’ fifth on the season, tying him with Lappin for the second-most goals on the squad, only two behind Lorito for the team lead.

“Joey’s been great this year,” Whittet said. “He’s really stepped up his game, and he’s had to because of all the injuries we’ve had on the back line, but he’s been chipping in on the offensive side as well.”

The Bears welcome league-leading Quinnipiac and bottom feeder  Princeton to Providence next weekend, hoping to escape from last place in the ECAC with a couple of wins.