Men’s hockey gears up for mission impossible

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, October 24, 2011

As he enters his third year as the head coach of the men’s ice hockey team, Brendan Whittet ’94 does not consider any goal unachievable during the upcoming season.

“Our goal as a program is to win the national championship,” Whittet said. “Some people say we’re crazy — that it can’t be done. Well, it can be done.”

The team finished the 2010-11 season with a 10-16-5 (8-12-2 ECAC) record. Though the team showed flashes of brilliance — including a win over top-ranked Yale on a last-minute goal — it was plagued by inconsistency throughout the season, at one point enduring a five-game losing streak.

Despite its checkered past, assistant captain Bobby Farnham ’12 said he believes the team can overcome these issues through hard work and persistence.

“If we are consistent all year, and we work hard all year, we’re going to be very successful with the team we have,” Farnham said.

The team lost four seniors in May, including Harry Zolnierczyk ’11, who signed with the Philadelphia Flyers and recently scored his first career goal against the Ottawa Senators in his NHL debut Oct. 18. Last year, Zolnierczyk led the team in points and was the Ivy League Player of the Year.  

But despite this loss, nine first-years have joined the team and are all expected to be “impact guys,” Whittet said.

“We welcome in a deep and talented class of freshmen,” Whittet said. “They have to earn playing time, but they’re really good hockey players.”

In Sunday’s scrimmage against the University of Waterloo, Massimo Lamacchia ’15 assisted on both of Brown’s goals in the 2-0 victory.

The team also welcomed Harvard to Meehan Auditorium Saturday night and beat the Crimson 3-2 in an informal scrimmage.

“We were a much more polished team on Sunday,” Whittet said. The players “were more energized, and it wasn’t as sloppy.”

With these two victories over the weekend, the team will now gear up for its opening game of the season at Dartmouth Oct. 28 at the Ivy Shootout. Every game of the season will be important, and the road to a championship must be taken in incremental steps, Whittet said.

“Our goal is to represent Brown University to the best of our ability every time we step on the ice,” Whittet said. “When we put on the jersey, we play with a lot of pride and energy.”

Farnham said the team has greater depth than he has seen before. He also stressed the importance of every line.

“The guys we expect to score goals and the guys we expect to give us energy on the fourth line are just as important,” Farnham said.

One of the smaller goals of the season is to win all of the home games at Meehan, Whittet said. Last season, the team dropped six of its 12 home matchups.

Whittet said he hopes to see the Brown student body rally behind the team and help make Meehan the “toughest” venue on the East coast.

“I want students to come to the games,” Whittet said. “I know they’ll leave happy and excited about the sport of hockey and how good our guys are.”

“I want people to make sure they’re in the stands,” Whittet continued. “It’s going to be a fun ride.”

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