Sports

Win, tie against ranked opponents halt men’s hockey’s 11-game skid

Four-goal period propels Bears past No. 20 Clarkson before draw with No. 18 St. Lawrence

By
Sports Editor
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Andrew Doane ’17 plows through defenders while skating his way to the goal. Bruno broke its 11-game streak of losses last weekend with a victory that will position it to compete in the first round of the playoffs.

Tommy Marchin ’19 intercepted a pass at the Clarkson blue line and fed a sublime pass to Nick Lappin ’16, who deposited a wicked backhand past Steve Perry for the men’s hockey team’s fourth goal of the first period. After losing games in which it had one-goal, two-goal and three-goal leads, Brown (5-16-6, 3-15-2 ECAC) finally broke its 11-game winless streak against conference opponents with a convincing 5-2 win over the No. 20 Golden Knights (16-13-3, 8-9-3).

“It was a really good weekend for us,” said captain Mark Naclerio ’16. “We’ve been going through every week of practice and working hard, so it’s nice to get some results with playoffs right around the corner.”

Lappin’s goal was the 49th of his career and his 15th this season, eclipsing his goal total from last year with three games left in the regular season. Right on the senior’s heels is the standout first-year Marchin, who scored the second goal of the game — his 14th. Naclerio — the third member of Brown’s vaunted first line — is third on the team in points with 21.

“We’ve been playing together basically all year,” Naclerio said. “It’s been working out really well for us. We’ve been able to put a lot of pucks in the back of the net.”

Zack Pryzbek ’17 scored his third goal in four games and Bruno’s third of the period to chase starting netminder Greg Lewis, who gave up a goal in the opening two minutes to Tyler Bird ’18 before ceding another to Marchin.

The first-period explosion was by far the Bears’ best frame of the season, burying a nationally ranked team with four unanswered goals while goalie Tim Ernst ’17 was only forced to make four saves.

Clarkson came back with a two-goal second period, but Alex Brink ’19 slingshotted around a Golden Knight defender to score his fourth goal of the season and restore a three-goal lead for Bruno in the third period.

“He’s been playing some real solid hockey,” Marchin said. “He had two really good games. He’s a good power forward and uses his body really well offensively.”

Brink added his fifth goal of the season — tying him for third on the team in goals — in a draw against No. 18 St. Lawrence a day later.

After losing Buffalo Sabres draft pick Max Willman ’18 for the season to a broken hand just over a week ago and Dane Cooper ’18 to an appendix injury, Brown overcame some adversity to emerge undefeated from a weekend in which it faced two nationally ranked teams.

“We know that we have to have different guys in the lineup,” Marchin said. “But we know that everyone’s going to be working hard because we all have the same goals in mind.”

Lappin got the 50th goal of his career against the Saints (16-12-4, 10-7-3) on senior night, establishing a one-goal lead that was quickly erased by a Gavin Bayreuther rocket that left Ernst helpless. After no scoring in the third period and overtime, Brown escaped a conference weekend with three points for the first time since early November.

Those three points were enough to catapult the Bears above Princeton and Colgate at the bottom of the ECAC standings, putting them in a position to face Clarkson, Rensselaer, Dartmouth or Cornell in the first round of the playoffs. Brown earned at least a point against each of these opponents this year except for Dartmouth, which is on a five-game winning streak against the Bears.

Brown wraps up its regular season with tilts against league leader No. 1 Quinnipiac and cellar dweller Princeton, which both defeated Brown earlier this season.

“Right now, we’re just focused on playing our best hockey,” Naclerio said. “We’re not focused on the playoffs or who we’re going to play. But when the first round comes, we’ll come ready to play.”