Losses to Harvard, Dartmouth extend men’s hockey’s ECAC winless streak to 10

Naclerio ’16 notches 100th career point in lone bright spot of tough weekend at Meehan Auditorium

Sports Editor
Monday, February 8, 2016

Third-liner Alex Brink ‘19 scored the third goal of his career against Dartmouth, but the Bears suffered a familiar defeat against the Big Green.

Harvard consistently ranks higher nationally than the men’s hockey team, currently in last place. But Bruno (4-16-4, 2-12-3 ECAC) had not lost to the Crimson (13-6-3, 9-4-3) at home since 2011. Bobby Farnham ’12 — current New Jersey Devil — scored the lone goal for the Bears in a 2-1 defeat five years ago.

A future NHLer also scored in 2016’s matchup at Meehan Auditorium, as Nashville Predator draft pick Jimmy Vesey scored his 17th goal of the season to give Harvard a two-goal lead. The senior has been a nightmare for the Bears the past two years, picking up six goals and seven assists in six games against Brown.

But Brown’s pair of impressive first-years — forward Tommy Marchin ’19 and defenseman Max Gottlieb ’19 — cut the deficit to one before Zack Pryzbek ’17 tied the game up at two.

Marchin and Gottlieb have combined for a whopping 40 points this season. The defenseman has notched a team-high 16 assists, and the forward has picked up double-digit totals in both goals and helpers.

Pryzbek has been a solid contributor himself despite spending the majority of his time on the third and fourth lines. Third-liners Alex Brink ’19 and Max Willman ’18 got the assists on the Pryzbek goal, his third of the year — tied for fourth on the team.

The fourth line “brings a lot of energy,” said captain Mark Naclerio ’16. “They have really good puck possession and create some good scoring chances. They’re an invaluable part of our team.”

Brink and Willman also combined against Dartmouth, as Brink got the third goal of his career and Willman picked up the primary assist.

It took two borderline penalties to fell Bruno late in the third period against the Crimson, as Brady Schoo ’19 took a penalty after a scrum in front of the net. Just over a minute after the Bears killed the initial penalty, Willman was whistled for tripping in the middle of the ice, a call that had Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 beside himself on the bench.

“We obviously didn’t agree with the calls,” Naclerio said. “But you still have to make the kill. We try to control what we’re able to control, and we just weren’t able to do that.”

Kyle Criscuolo took advantage of the penalty and put the Crimson ahead for good, marking a stretch of nine conference games without a win for the Bears.

“We started off really slow,” Naclerio said. “Then we picked it up and got some really good scoring chances. It just hurts to come up short in the end.”

A 6-3 loss to Dartmouth (12-10-1, 9-7-0) only extended that streak to double digits, as a combined seven-goal second period ended with a two-goal Big Green lead heading into the last frame.

More important than the four Dartmouth goals in the period were the manner in which they were scored. The Bears gave up a shorthanded goal to go down 2-1 and then gave up two more goals in less than two minutes.

“That was certainly a frustrating, bad series of events,” Naclerio said. “We try to follow up a goal with a strong shift, and we were not able to do that.”

Nick Lappin ’16 increased his team-leading point total to 29 with a goal early in the second period that equalized the game for the first and only time. The goal also marked a milestone for Naclerio, whose assist gave him 100 career points. A Charlie Corcoran ’18 tip-in bookended the period and brought the Bears back within two goals before the start of the third, but Brown was unable to create anything substantial in the final frame.

The 6-3 defeat to Dartmouth marked the fourth consecutive time Brown has given up six or more goals to the Big Green. The five-game losing streak to Dartmouth dates back to a 3-2 overtime win in 2013, where Lappin — then a sophomore — scored two third-period goals before Kyle Kramer ’17 notched the overtime game-winner.

The Bears have only one tilt next weekend against Cornell before welcoming Clarkson and Saint Lawrence in their last home games of the season the following week.

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