Conference skid stretches to six for men’s hockey

Despite valiant effort against No. 6 Colgate, Bears drop two more to stay winless in ECAC

Sports Staff Writer
Monday, November 24, 2014

Massimo Lamacchia ’15 enters the offensive zone. After scoring six goals in 22 games last season, he has just one in seven games this year, and no points over his past four games, which Bruno has lost by a combined 20-5.

It was a tale of two very different games for the men’s hockey team against Colgate and Cornell this weekend, but the end of the story was the same as it has been all season — two games, zero conference wins.

Brown (1-6, 0-6 ECAC) lost to No. 6 Colgate 4-3 in an overtime heartbreaker Friday before falling to Cornell 4-0 Saturday. For a team averaging fewer than two goals per game, the Bears’ offensive firepower shown against the Raiders was a positive surprise while the scoreline against Cornell was more indicative of Bruno’s performances this season.

“I actually thought we played pretty good against Colgate,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “They’re a legit hockey team, and I thought we played fairly intelligently.”

Brown struck first with a goal by Matt Lorito ’15 — the second time all season and the first time in conference play the Bears have scored the first goal. Colgate (9-4-1, 3-2-1) evened the score after 13 minutes with a goal from forward Andrew Black and the Bears, went into the second period tied for the first time in conference play this season.

Joey De Concilys ’15 got his first goal of the season six minutes into the second period and Lorito got his second of the game and fourth of the season on a power play to double the lead. Naclerio’s assists were his first two points of the season — he led Brown in points last year — as Whittet’s decision to keep a line of Nick Lappin ’16, Lorito and Mark Naclerio ’16 together was a good one, producing two goals. Lorito’s second goal was only Brown’s second power play goal on the season.

But the Raiders were not to be put away: Fifty seconds after Lorito’s goal, with the Bears back on the power play, Colgate’s most prolific forward, Kyle Baun, was able to get a shorthanded goal to reduce the Brown lead to one. The shorthanded goal was the third of its kind given up by Brown this season, meaning that the Bears have given up more goals than they have scored on the power play by a margin of 3-2.

“We got hit with that shorthanded goal,” Whittet said. “We cannot give up those kind of goals and expect that good things are going to happen. It was a total shift in momentum for them.”

Seven minutes into the third period, Colgate turned that momentum into a power play goal courtesy of Joe Wilson that tied the game. From there, the game went into overtime before the Raiders prevailed with another Wilson goal.

“We had some inexplicable puck management,” Whittet said. “Then we lost a battle and gave up a breakaway goal. I take encouragement from the way that we played, but I know that we won’t take solace in playing a close game. We wanted the win.”

The Bears lost Dane Cooper ’18 to a concussion — the first-year later had to get 20 stitches in his mouth after the game — which hurt them against Cornell (3-4-1, 3-3-0). Cooper, who had started against Colgate, joined Ben Tegtmeyer ’18 on the sideline, so Whittet only dressed five defensemen and compensated by playing 13 forwards.

“It hurts because you are missing guys that have played a lot of minutes,” Whittet said. “Cornell is a big, strong team, and I think we got overwhelmed by their size.”

Cornell got off the mark quickly, scoring 4:30 into the game thanks to a goal by Joel Lowry. The Big Red did not stop there, getting a power play goal courtesy of Dwyer Tschantz before Christian Hilbrich established a three-goal lead for Cornell.

Whittet pulled Tyler Steel ’17 for Tim Ernst ’17 for the second time this year after Cornell’s third goal, and this time, Ernst turned in the better performance. Steel had eight saves on 11 shots in 15 minutes while Ernst had 19 saves on 20 shots in 45. Ernst’s lone hiccup was another power play goal for the Big Red, this time from Matt Buckles. It was the 10th power play goal allowed by Brown in seven games, especially frustrating for Whittet because the power play unit was one of the lone bright spots in Brown’s opening weekend but has been porous since.

“The penalty kill struggled again,” Whittet said. “We just have to go back to the drawing board in practice and go over what makes a successful penalty kill unit.”

As for the goaltender position, neither Steel nor Ernst has played particularly well this season — Ernst has a 3.78 goals against average in 95 minutes of ice time while Steel has a 4.23 GAA in 326 minutes.

“We’ll reevaluate the position during practice this week, like we do every week,” Whittet said. “I just want somebody to grab the position and not let it go, but no one has solidified that spot so far.”

Whoever is playing goalie will have another tough test Dec. 5 and Dec. 6, when Union (6-5-1, 1-4-1) and Rensselaer (5-7-1, 4-2-0) come to Providence as the Bears look to get their first conference points of the season.

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