Sports

Men’s hockey opens season with weekend split against Yale

44-save performance from Nieto ’20, deep offensive production fuel Bruno to 4-1 win over Yale Friday

By
Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, October 29, 2017

Rookie Anea Ferrario ’21 duels for the puck at Meehan Auditorium Saturday. The Bears earned their first victory over Yale since 2014 on the road Friday, before returning home the following day to complete the series against the Bulldogs. Bruno visits Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend.

In its opening weekend, the men’s hockey team prevailed over Ivy rival Yale for the first time since 2014 with a 4-1 victory in New Haven Friday. The Bears recorded a pair of mixed decisions in the series, falling to the Bulldogs 5-2 at home Saturday.

Brent Beaudoin ’20 led Bruno (1-1, 1-1 ECAC) with a pair of goals for the weekend and starting goaltender Gavin Nieto ’20 recorded a career-high 44 saves in Friday’s matchup.

Brown 4, Yale 1

Friday night, first-period goals from Zach Giuttari ’20 and Alec Mehr ’21 gave the Bears an early advantage. Giuttari fired a shot from the point past Yale (1-1, 1-1) goaltender Sam Tucker at the 10 minute mark, before Mehr knocked the puck into the net off the crossbar five minutes later.

Despite being outshot by a margin of 45-25, Bruno was able to establish offensive integrity in the zone.

“We were attacking from the get-go,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “Even though we got outshot, I thought a lot of those shots were perimeter shots.”

Yale answered early in the second frame, when Phil Kemp found the back of the net with a shot from in front of the blue line. But Bruno prevailed,as Beaudoin and captain Josh McArdle ’18 added empty net goals in the final minute of the third to secure the lead.

In the crease, Nieto shut the Bulldogs down, recording a game-high 17 saves in the second stanza. He was awarded the game’s first star for his performance.

Brown 2, Yale 5

The following day, the Bears were unable to recover from an early deficit despite goals from assistant captain Tyler Bird ’18 and Beaudoin.

After a goal from Brett Jewell put the Bulldogs on the board late in the first period, Bird capitalized on a power play early in the second to equalize the game. Bird collected a sliding pass from Max Willman ’18 and slotted the puck past Tucker on his stick side.

Beaudoin responded to another Yale tally with a wraparound goal two minutes into the final stanza. But the Bulldogs recorded a trio of unanswered goals, including an empty netter in the last minute, to put the game out of reach for the Bears.

“They were throwing everything out of the zone right away,” Beaudoin said. “That just causes a tough time for us because if we have guys that get caught up in the play, then they automatically have an odd man rush coming back against us. That’s where a lot of their offense came from.”

Nieto made 22 saves in the loss as Yale outshot Brown 27-22.

Bruno demonstrated command of its penalty kill, holding Yale at 0 for 12 on the power play over the weekend. Looking forward, the Bears seek to achieve clean execution and vigor in specialty teams play.

“The kill was good this weekend,” Whittet said. “On the converse side, our power play guys have to understand how hard they have to work in order to come up with pucks, to get pucks through and to not allow them to clear pucks and eliminate zone time on that (penalty kill).”

“For us this year, specialty teams is a big emphasis,” Beaudoin said. “Power play has been good — we were lucky to capitalize today and yesterday for the limited amount of power plays we’ve actually had, and penalty kill has been very good for us.”

Mentally, Whittet emphasized the need for resilience and simplicity on the ice.

“We shouldn’t over-complicate it,” Whittet said. “It’s winning puck battles, winning races, defending hard, moving the puck north quickly. … You’ve just got to play a gritty game and we’re going to grow from it. We’ll get better. We’ve got to understand that it is a process.”

Friday’s win serves as a source of optimism as Bruno enters the bulk of its season with conviction and composure.

“We know that we can come out and win games — we’ve got a confidence that we didn’t really have last year,” Beaudoin said. “A big thing for us is staying positive this year, making sure that we control the things we can control. You can control how hard you work, and you can control your systems.”

The Bears visit Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend, before hosting Clarkson Nov. 10.