Men’s hockey claims 4-2 victory over Dartmouth at home

Four different Bears score, Nieto ’20 posts 31 saves as men’s hockey team earns first win of season

Sports Editor
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Chris Berger ’21 handles the puck. Berger was one of four Bears to score in Friday’s 4-2 victory over Dartmouth, the team’s first win of the season.

Following visits to Colgate University and Cornell last week, the men’s hockey team returned home to claim its first victory of the season, prevailing over Ivy rival Dartmouth 4-2 at Meehan Auditorium Friday. The win highlighted a pair of mixed results after the Bears fell to Harvard 5-2 Saturday.

Persistent offense and a 31-save performance from goaltender Gavin Nieto ’20 powered Bruno to victory over the Big Green. The Bears have now denied Dartmouth at home for two consecutive seasons, as this weekend’s win follows a 3-0 shutout of the Green on home ice in the team’s 2017-18 campaign.

Brown 4, Dartmouth 2

Friday night, goals from four different Bears fueled the team to its first victory of the season. Brady Schoo ’19, Chris Berger ’21, Zach Giuttari ’20 and Max Gottlieb ’19 each scored to secure a lead over the Big Green (3-2, 3-2 ECAC).

Brown (1-4-1, 1-3-1) took control of possession and pressured the Dartmouth net from the drop of the puck, outshooting the Big Green 11-5 in the first period. Schoo opened scoring midway through the stanza, collecting a feed from Alex Brink ’19 at the point and launching a smooth shot past netminder Adrian Clark. Joe Maguire ’20 picked up an assist on the play.

“We were possessing pucks pretty well,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We weren’t hesitating to actually shoot the puck, and … we created some really good chances. I thought we played fast, I thought we played with pace (and) I thought we competed hard.”

Berger put away a rebound to widen the Bears’ lead two and a half minutes into the second period. Tommy Marchin ’19 took the initial shot, which Clark deflected toward the slot where Berger was waiting to snap the puck into the net.

Dartmouth answered back one minute later as Will Graber capitalized on a turnover to give the Big Green its first goal of the evening. The Green became more aggressive in the zone, but Bruno’s solid defense, highlighted by several athletic saves from Nieto, staved off the attack to preserve the advantage entering the final stanza.

Giuttari extended the lead midway through the third period, gathering a pass from Tony Stillwell ’21 and launching a powerful shot past Clark from the blue line. Quin Foreman scored for Dartmouth six minutes later to keep Brown on its heels, but Gottlieb notched an empty net goal in the penultimate minute to secure the victory for the Bears.

In the crease, Nieto’s 31-save performance marked his third consecutive game with over 30 stops. The Bears’ penalty kill went 6-for-6 in the contest.

“We just outworked them,” Giuttari said. “We started out really well — we got in on the forecheck right away, they couldn’t break the puck out, our (defensemen) were jumping down and their forwards couldn’t do anything. … We definitely had a focus on getting more shots because we only had 20 or 25 shots in the last couple of games, and that’s just not enough.”

Brown 2, Harvard 5

The following night, Tristan Crozier ’22 and Marchin scored as the Bears claimed an early lead over their Ivy rival, but Bruno was unable to sustain momentum against a solid Harvard offense in the second and third periods.

“We came out at the beginning in the first period and played really well, and I think we just kind of tiptoed into the second period instead of pushing the pace and making them play to us,” Marchin said. “We just need to carry out that first-period energy throughout the whole game.”

The Bears’ first tally of the evening came on a power play late in the first stanza. With two minutes remaining in the frame, Crozier collected a pass from Stillwell at the top of the right circle and fired a shot past Crimson goaltender Michael Lackey to give Brown an early edge. Jake Harris ’22 also recorded an assist on the play.

Harvard (1-2-2, 1-2-2) answered with a trio of goals in the second period to reclaim the lead. After Jack Donato tied the game two and a half minutes into the stanza, Bruno successfully killed off a 5-on-3, but conceded two goals — including one to the Crimson’s power play — late in the frame, entering the third at a deficit.

Jack Badini added a power play goal for Harvard eight and a half minutes into the final stanza, though Brown responded two minutes later when Marchin launched a shot past Lackey from the left circle.

The Bears pulled Nieto for an extra skater on the power play with two minutes remaining, but Adam Fox cemented the victory for the Crimson with an empty net goal.

While the Bears’ penalty kill unit has been successful this season, leading the ECAC with a success rate of 88.9 percent entering the weekend, Whittet emphasized the importance of avoiding unnecessary penalties in future competition.

“We can’t be short for the amount of time that we’ve been short for,” Whittet said. “We have a great penalty kill this year — we have good individuals, and we have good systems, but again, like anything, the more time you give a team time on the power play, they’re going to score.”

On the penalty kill, “instead of worrying too much about what we’re doing, we’re just working harder, getting on pucks faster and making the other team make mistakes faster,” Marchin added. “It’s been successful so far, but we’d love to not be on the penalty kill as much as we have been.”

The Bears have a quick turnaround with a visit to the University of Connecticut for a non-conference contest Tuesday, before resuming ECAC play at Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University after the Thanksgiving break. Looking ahead, Bruno seeks to sustain a productive work ethic and carry momentum forward from its successes, both within the 60 minutes and in the longer term.

“Building off of a good period — building and continuing to take steps toward winning the game and playing confidently” is important for the team, Marchin said. “Instead of letting the other team make decisions and (playing) to what they’re doing, if we just keep pushing the pace and make them react to us, we’ll be good in the long run.”

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