Sports

Tie with Dutchmen ends men’s hockey’s six-game conference slide

Lappin ’16 registers 100th point, Doane ’17 gets second career goal in draw day after Bears blow lead to RPI

By
Sports Editor
Monday, February 1, 2016

The entire men’s hockey team was standing, hands raised and incredulous looks on their faces. Leading the charge against the officials was Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94, whose incensed tone differed drastically from the calm disposition he had displayed the whole game.

Referees sparked this frustration Saturday when the Bears took on Union. In overtime, officials seemingly missed two blatant penalties against Dutchmen (10-9-7, 3-7-4 ECAC) defenders before raising their hands for a questionable boarding call against Sam Lafferty ’18. With Brown’s (4-13-4, 2-10-3) first conference points in its last seven tries on the line, the call could have had disastrous consequences.

“We were not happy with the call in overtime,” said captain Mark Naclerio ’16. “At the very least, we thought it should have been a wash. We were glad we were able to kill the penalty, but we did not think we should have been a man down.”

That kill gave the Bears just their seventh point of the season, which leaves them in the bottom spot in the conference. Still, with Princeton and Colgate just one point ahead and fourth place only 10 points away, the Bears have plenty of room to move up the ECAC ladder before the postseason starts.

Andrew Doane ’17 netted the second goal of his career against the Dutchmen, putting one past Alex Sakellaropoulos to give Brown its first lead of the game. Unfortunately for the Bears, Union scored with 36 seconds left in the second period. That goal turned out to be the last of the game, as the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie.

Doane had only featured in one game this season before Whittet made the decision to include him in the lineup against Providence, an opportunity that resulted in the junior’s first goal. Since then, Doane has played in seven straight games.

“He’s irreplaceable,” Naclerio said. “He’s a great locker room guy. It’s great to see him doing well, because he works his butt off. I know there’s more to come from him.”

Nick Lappin ’16 reached a career milestone earlier in the game, registering his 100th career point on a goal that knotted the game at one after 13 minutes. The senior has continued his productive career at Brown with 27 points on the year — good for sixth in the conference.

Instead of playing with perennial partner-in-crime Naclerio against Union, Lappin played beside Tommy Marchin ’19 and Charlie Corcoran ’18 in a slight tweak of the forward rotation. Naclerio moved down to the third line to play between Davey Middleton ’17 and Alex Brink ’19.

“We just tried to shake things up and spark something,” Naclerio said. “The lines did well. We just need to start winning games.”

Halfway through their first match-up of the weekend, the Bears had seemed poised for a more successful slate of games. Brink had scored the second goal of his career in the second period of a Friday duel with No. 16 RPI to give Bruno a comfortable 3-0 lead. But the Engineers (14-8-6, 6-2-6) capitalized on two Brown penalties to cut the lead to 3-2 before the end of the frame and deposited two more in the third period to take the win and two points.

“We just need to be more consistent,” Naclerio said. “We picked up a couple of penalties, and they scored on the power play, which hurt us. We just need to be able to put together a full 60 minutes.”

Josh McArdle ’18 scored the opening goal against the Engineers, the second of his career after notching seven assists but no goals in his first season in Providence. Marchin — whose first season at Brown has been one of the more productive in recent history — knocked in the second on the power play. The power play unit is one of the major improvements of this year’s squad, posting a 21.8 percent success rate in conference play after converting just 18.6 percent of the time last season.

Brown has a midweek contest against Connecticut before big weekend tilts with Harvard and Dartmouth at Meehan Auditorium.