Bears smoke Dutchmen, blanked by Engineers

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 14, 2011

The men’s hockey team lived and died by the power play last weekend. Special teams play was a determining factor in the outcome of games at No. 13 Union (5-3-3, 2-2 ECAC ) Friday and RPI (2-9-0, 1-3) Saturday  — a 2-1 upset of the Dutchmen and a 1-0 defeat at the hands of the Engineers.

Brown 2, Union 1

The road trip did not start auspiciously against a competitive Union squad. Union’s Daniel Carr slotted the puck past goalie Mike Clemente ’12 only 32 seconds into the first period, putting the Bears in an early hole.  

“You never want to get scored on that early,” said captain Jack Maclellan ’12. “We knew that we were ready for the game, but that was kind of deflating.”  

Yet the team was not held down for long, as Maclellan responded with two first period goals to seize the lead, 2-1.   

After peppering the goal with shots from Mike Wolff ’12 and assistant captain Bobby Farnham ’12, Maclellan found the back of the net for his first goal of the night with just under four minutes remaining in the first period.

“It was nice to get that first one back later in the period,” Maclellan said. “It was a product of hard work and guys crashing the net.”

The goal that put Bruno ahead came during a power play near the end of the period. Maclellan powered a shot over the goalie’s glove for the go-ahead score after receiving a pass from Matt Wahl ’14 as he came into the offensive zone.  

“It’s nice to go into the intermission with a lead,” Maclellan said. “When you can come out of a period when you didn’t play well with a 2-1 lead, it’s a relief.”

The game was far from over, but the team maintained strong defense for the final two periods to keep Union off the scoreboard. Clemente, who had 24 stops for the day, saved a number of breakaway shots and combined with the stalwart play of the defense to kill four power-play opportunities and, as Farnham put it, “win the special teams battle.”

RPI 1, Brown 0

Power plays again took on a leading role against RPI the following night. Previously winless in the ECAC, RPI was able to capitalize on Brown’s inability to convert its one-man advantage and come away with the two points.  

“It was a frustrating game,” Farnham said. “I thought we had some opportunities to put pucks in the net.”  

The team failed to seize its scoring chances in the first period, spoiling three power plays, including a two-man advantage. Later in the first, with a man advantage, RPI countered off a missed shot from Farnham to take the lead heading to intermission. Ryan Haggerty was left unmarked and scored what would prove to be the deciding goal, RPI’s first in three games.

In the second period, the Bears nearly tied it up. Jeff Buvinow ’12 beat RPI goalie Bryce Merriam, but his shot glanced off the post. In the ensuing confusion, neither team could locate the puck, and the play was whistled dead before Jarred Smith ’12 finally put it over the line.

“We just weren’t on Saturday night,” Maclellan said. “When there were loose pucks, we weren’t burying those opportunities. We weren’t as prepared as we needed to be.”

Looking to rally late, the team fell short. In the final period, Dennis Robertson ’14 hit the post during the team’s sixth power play of the night as the Bears squandered their last chance to break even.  

Though the weekend had its ups and downs, Maclellan and Farnham both said the team has potential, especially in its stifling defense.

“We were good defensively all weekend,” Maclellan said. “Giving up two goals on any weekend is usually going to lead to two wins.”

The squad will hit the road again next weekend when it travels to West Point, N.Y., Nov. 19 to take on Army (1-5-2).

“We feel really good about our team,” Farnham said. “We’re a good team, but we have the makings of a great team. And we need to take care of business at Army.” 

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