Defensive struggles plague men’s hockey in disappointing weekend

Bears suffer back-to-back defeats against Big Green and nationally ranked Crimson over weekend

Senior Staff Writer
Monday, November 9, 2015

Tim Lappin ’18 swoops in for the puck against No. 6 Harvard in a hard-fought game that ended with a 5-2 decision in favor of the Crimson. The harrowing loss was the second of the weekend and third consecutive this season, following a 7-3 defeat Saturday against Dartmouth, in which the Big Green scored six unanswered goals against Bruno.

After the men’s ice hockey team lost to Holy Cross 7-5 in its home opener, the signs of an electric offense and a mistake-prone defense were obvious to all who watched.

Following a 7-3 loss to Dartmouth and a hard-fought 5-2 battle with No. 6 Harvard, those themes were more visible than ever.

The Bears (0-3, 0-2 ECAC) got off to a roaring start in Hanover, scoring the game’s first two goals within five minutes of each other in the first period. Captain Mark Naclerio ’16 got his second goal of the year with helpers from Josh McArdle ’18 and Nick Lappin ’16 before Davey Middleton ’17 scored his first goal of the year to put Bruno up 2-0 on the Big Green (1-3, 1-3).

Alex Jasiek scored Dartmouth’s lone goal of the first period, cutting the Bears’ lead in half.

Alex Brink ’19 scored the first goal of his young career to kick off the second period, restoring Brown’s two-goal cushion after only two minutes and 21 seconds. But the Big Green controlled all of the action after that, as Dartmouth rattled off three-consecutive goals to put Bruno in a 4-3 hole heading into the third period.

Though Brown registered 10 shots to Dartmouth’s 12 in the final frame, the Big Green was able to score three more goals to make the score look lopsided. After Tim Ernst ’17 allowed seven goals against Holy Cross, Tyler Steel ’17 got the start in net and promptly gave up seven goals of his own on only 29 shots. Troy Crema led the way for the Dartmouth attack, registering four assists, while Jack Barre chipped in with two goals.

“We need to limit our unforced errors,” Naclerio said. “We kind of hurt ourselves with some of the goals we gave up this past weekend, so we’re focused on just limiting turnovers.”

Brown’s matchup against nationally ranked Harvard (3-0-1, 3-0-1) was the tougher of the two weekend games on paper, but the Bears were still able to grab the early advantage courtesy of Lappin.

“We have a lot of talented forwards,” Naclerio said. “We have been doing a good job of getting pucks to the net and forcing turnovers off our forechecking, which has led to scoring chances.”

Unfortunately for the Bears, their ineffective power play gave up a goal to the Crimson’s Jimmy Vesey. Ryan Donato followed Vesey’s lead with a goal of his own to give Harvard a one-goal lead.

Vesey got his second goal of the game in the second period, but that was the only Crimson score, making it Bruno’s best defensive period of the season.

Entering the final frame trailing by two goals, Brown showed signs of life when Zack Pryzbek ’17 scored less than three minutes into the period. But Harvard’s offense proved too much for an inexperienced Brown defense, as Kyle Criscuolo restored the Crimson’s two-goal lead before Ryan Donato finished the game off with an empty-netter. Ernst got the start and let in four goals on 27 shots as the Bears fell 5-2.

“We need to focus on playing a full, 60-minute game,” Naclerio said. “We were good in spurts but need to string together a full effort to be successful.”

Brown takes on ECAC foes Union and Rensselaer next weekend away from home.

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