Bears resume conference play with losses to Princeton, Quinnipiac

Giuttari ’20, Lafferty ’18 each record two points as Bruno outshoots Tigers in home clash Friday

Sports Editor
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Following a close duel with the University of Connecticut last weekend, the men’s hockey team resumed conference play with a pair of losses and fell to Princeton 7-2 Friday and Quinnipiac University 3-0 Saturday.

Zach Giuttari ’20 and Sam Lafferty ’18 led the Bears’ (6-13-4, 5-11-1 ECAC) offense against Princeton Friday as each recorded two points in the loss. Tommy Marchin ’19 also notched a goal against the Tigers.

Brown 2, Princeton 7

Friday night, Marchin and Giuttari both scored, but Bruno was unable to fend off a persistent Princeton (11-11-3, 8-9-1) offense.

The Tigers opened scoring with a pair of goals — including one on the power play — in the first period, before Marchin narrowed the deficit to one late in the stanza. Lafferty maneuvered around a Princeton defenseman in the Bears’ offensive zone and sent a shot toward the crease where Marchin redirected the puck into the net for his team-high ninth goal of the season.

Brown peppered the Princeton net with shots in the second frame and outshot the Tigers 15-10 for a two-period advantage of 27-19. Princeton added a pair of goals midway through the period, but Bruno answered when Giuttari capitalized on a power play 13 minutes into the stanza. Giuttari collected a pass from Max Gottlieb ’19 in the slot and fired a shot top shelf to extend his point streak to four games.

The Tigers scored twice in the final period to secure the victory, their fifth consecutive win.

In net, goaltender Gavin Nieto ’20 made 13 saves before giving way to Luke Kania ’21 in the second period. Kania stopped 12 shots as the Bears outshot the Tigers 35-32.

Brown 0, Quinnipiac 3

The following day, Bruno pressured the Quinnipiac (12-14-4, 7-9-2) net with 22 shots but was unable to break down the Bobcats’ defense as goaltender Andrew Shortridge delivered a shutout performance.

Joe O’Connor gave the Bobcats an early lead in the first period by edging a shot past Kania from the slot. The Bears held off the Quinnipiac attack for the rest of the stanza, but Brandon Fortunato and Kevin Duane added a pair of unanswered goals in the second frame to claim the victory.

Giuttari led the Bears with four shots. Kania made 23 saves as the Bobcats outshot the Bears 26-22.

“Guys are getting a lot of shots — they’re doing a lot of good things,” Kania said. “If we just stick to the process, the goals will come, and we’ll get some wins.”

With only four games remaining in the regular season, the Bears seek to translate their offensive opportunities into goals by gaining composure in front of the net and capitalizing on rebounds.

“We’ve got to have a little bit more of a poise around the net. I think a lot of times (when) there are pucks there, we just throw them right back into the goaltender,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We need to take away the goalie’s eyes; we need those second chances, those third chances — that’s how we’re going to generate offense.”

Bruno went 4-for-6 on the penalty kill over the weekend. The team hopes to achieve a greater balance between playing with aggression and passivity on the kill, Whittet said.

“We have a tendency to be so passive at times that it leads … to a lot of possession and then your penalty killers get tired,” Whittet said. “When your penalty killers get tired, systematically you kind of fall apart, so that’s why we’ve got to know when we should press and when we shouldn’t.”

Mentally, the Bears remain positive and maintain their day-by-day approach leading up to the ECAC playoffs, which begin March 2.

“We just want to come to the rink every day and work hard, get better every day — it’s a process,” Kania said. “We’re a never-give-up team — we’ve had our struggles this year, and we’ve been good this year, so we just battle through and keep fighting.”

The Bears will close out away competition for the regular season with visits to No.3 Cornell Friday and Colgate University Saturday.

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