Sports

Bears undefeated on road trip

Bruno topples Princeton 4-2, upsets No. 4 Quinnipiac 4-1 for four-point weekend

By
Sports Editor
Monday, February 11, 2019

The men’s hockey team won four of its last five contests on the road, including two clashes against nationally ranked opponents.

The men’s hockey team found success on the road this weekend, earning a critical pair of victories over Princeton and No. 4 Quinnipiac University. The Bears bested the Tigers 4-2 Friday, before upsetting the nationally ranked Bobcats 4-1 to close out the road trip the following night.

“They were both really, really good team wins, and I think that was kind of an emphasis going into the weekend,” said Jack Gessert ’20. “We executed our game plan, stuck to it and kept it simple. … Everybody on the team was contributing in some way, shape or form, and I think that’s one of the main reasons we won.”

With the wins, the Bears reignited their hot streak, improving to an 8-3 record over the last 11 games and climbing to sixth place in the ECAC. Bruno also swept its last away series, against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and No. 20 Union College, two weeks ago.

“We’ve proved to everyone and ourselves that we can play with the best of the best when we play our game,” said Chris Berger ’21. “We have to continue to do that and be consistent with it.”

Brown 4, Princeton 2

Friday night, four different Bears scored to power the team to victory over reigning ECAC Tournament champions Princeton (7-14-2, 5-10-1 ECAC). The teams entered the third period tied at two, but goals from Colin Burston ’21 and Berger gave Bruno (10-10-3, 7-6-3) the final advantage late in the stanza. Justin Jallen ’22 and Max Gottlieb ’19 also posted tallies, and goaltender Luke Kania ’21 made 32 saves to secure the victory.

Brown jumped out to an early lead two minutes into the first period when Jallen capitalized on a power play opportunity and fired a shot from the right circle past Tigers netminder Ryan Ferland. Corey Andonovski equalized the game with a goal for Princeton late in the stanza, sending the teams into the locker rooms at a draw of one.

Princeton forward Alex Riche gave the Tigers the lead with a goal on a five-minute power play early in the second period, but the Bears answered back as Gottlieb sent a smooth shot from the slot into the Princeton net to equalize the game seven minutes later.

Burston reclaimed the advantage for Bruno midway through the final frame, redirecting a feed from Ben Taylor ’21 past Ferland in the crease. Berger cemented the victory with just over a minute remaining, finishing off a rebound after Tristan Crozier ’22 took the initial shot in a 2-on-1 bid.

Brown 4, Quinnipiac 1

The following day, a three-goal offensive surge in the first 3:07 of the third period fueled Bruno to victory, bringing Quinnipiac’s five-game undefeated streak to an end. In net, Kania made a career-high 47 stops to shut down the Bobcats (21-6-1, 10-5-1).

Following a scoreless first frame highlighted by several athletic saves from Kania, Brent Beaudoin ’20 opened scoring on a power play early in the second period. After a shot from Jallen was blocked, Beaudoin launched the puck past a sliding Andrew Shortridge for the advantage.

Alex Brink ’19 began the offensive wave in the first minute of the final period, finishing a rebound from his own shot to widen the Bears’ lead. Berger followed 15 seconds later, also capitalizing on a rebound after a turnover in the Quinnipiac zone.

Brogan Rafferty converted on a power play for the Bobcats a minute later, but Bruno quickly reasserted its lead when Gessert scored a wraparound goal at 3:07. After collecting a pass from Burston behind the net, Gessert sent the puck past Shortridge to seal the victory for the Bears.

“Our forecheck was really effective,” Berger said. “It allowed us to sustain pressure and stay out of our own zone, which is important.”

“We … kind of grinded their (defense) down and worked it around the offensive zone, and that definitely created chances,” Gessert said. “Especially in the third periods against Princeton and Quinnipiac, we kind of came alive and once we started to wear them down, we saw that offensive explosion happen.”

In the final three minutes, Kania made eight saves on a 6-on-4 Quinnipiac bid as the Bobcats pulled Shortridge on the power play for an extra attacker.

The Bears seek to carry momentum from their recent successes forward into the final stretch of the regular season, which continues with home contests against No. 10 Cornell and Colgate University this weekend. Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 emphasized the importance of diligence and everyday improvement in the lead-up to playoff competition in March.

“All I’m focused on is tomorrow, and the guys are the same way because we understand that we’re just going to continue to get better,” Whittet said. “If we play to our identity, if we strive to improve every day when we step on the ice (and) if we’re driven toward daily improvement, we’ll perform on Fridays and Saturdays. That’s the way we’ve been all year, and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”

“Keeping it simple and sticking to our game plan will be key,” Gessert said. “If we keep getting the contributions from all 28 of our guys, good things will keep coming.”

The Bears return home to host Cornell and Colgate at Meehan Auditorium this weekend.