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Bobcats bounce m. icers from playoffs

The men's hockey team overcame a 5-1 deficit on Friday night to force overtime, but it ultimately lost 7-6 in the first game of its best-of-three Eastern College Athletic Conference playoff series at Quinnipiac. In Game Two on Saturday night, Brown's season came to a disappointing end in a 7-1 loss, in the final collegiate hockey game for the team's five seniors.

Graduating are captain Sean Hurley '08, assistant captains Jeff Prough '08 and David Robertson '08 and Paul Baier '08 and Chris Poli '08. All five have signed with NHL organizations, and have already reported to their respective minor league teams, so their hockey careers will continue past Brown and possibly to the major-league NHL level, said Head Coach Roger Grillo.

"It's a big leap (to the NHL), but they're talented kids who are passionate about hockey, so I think they'll have an opportunity for sure," Grillo said. "A lot of it is luck, being in the right place at the right time with the right team, and if you get an opportunity, you have to make the most of it."

Brown took a 1-0 lead with two minutes left in the first period of Friday night's game, when Sean Muncy '09 knocked home a rebound off a shot by David Brownschidle '11. Although the Bobcats out-shot the Bears 16-8 in the first period, goalie Dan Rosen '10 made all 16 saves to keep Quinnipiac out of the net.

Rosen was unable to repel Quinnipiac for long, though. In the second period, the Bobcats continued the relentless offensive attack, with a barrage of five goals in the first 4:53. After the Bobcats went up 5-1, Mark Sibbald '09 replaced Rosen in the net.

Sibbald made seven saves in the period to stymie Quinnipiac's attack, and Bruno got back into the game with goals from Ryan Garbutt '09 at 10:34 and Poli at 17:49. Hurley and Prough assisted on both goals.

With 1:12 remaining in the period, the Bobcats beat Sibbald for the first time to gain a 6-3 cushion heading into the final frame.

The Quinnipiac defense contained Brown's attack for the first half of the third period, but with just over seven minutes left, Sean McMonagle '10 finally beat the goaltender off the rebound of his own shot to cut the Bobcats' lead to 6-4. Garbutt scored his second goal of the game a little more than two minutes later, when he put home a rebound off of Poli's shot.

Then, with 22 seconds left, Matt Vokes '09 won a face-off after an icing call on Quinnipiac. After shots from Vokes and Robertson failed to find the back of the net, Prough picked up the loose puck and tipped it past the goalie to tie the game at six, with only 5.4 seconds remaining on the clock.

"The guys were ecstatic," Grillo said. "They kept fighting and they got rewarded for it. We had another life, another opportunity."

But the Bears were unable to muster another goal in overtime, though Robertson came close with a shot that hit the right post.

Then, 11:02 into the extra period, Quinnipiac's David Marshall got the puck at the bottom of the left face-off circle and put it past Sibbald to give the Bobcats the 7-6 win.

Game Two was scoreless until the eighth minute of the opening frame, when Quinnipiac's Jamie Bates beat Rosen to give his team a 1-0 lead. Then, with 2:36 left in the period, Devin Timberlake '10 took the pass from Prough and fired a shot on goal. Quinnipiac goaltender Bud Fisher made the save, but Garbutt collected the puck at the bottom of the right circle and lofted the puck into the upper right corner of the net to tie the game.

Once again, though, the Bobcats came out of the intermission with an explosive attack, beating Rosen three times in the first 9:20 of the second period. Sibbald came in to replace Rosen for the second night in a row. But five minutes later the Bobcats scored again to gain a 5-1 lead.

This time, there would be no miraculous comeback from the Bears, who were stonewalled by Fisher's 25-save effort. The Bobcats added two more goals in the final frame, and Brown's roller-coaster season came to a somber conclusion with a 7-1 playoff loss.

Quinnipiac's 14 goals in two games came as a disappointment to the Bears, who had allowed only nine goals in their last five regular season games. After a shaky start to the season, Rosen had been strong down the stretch, but the Bobcats had him and the Brown defense figured out when it mattered.

"It was one of those weekends where defensively, we just weren't very good," Grillo said. "It's not what we are, or what we've ever been. Quinnipiac's an explosive offensive team, but I was disappointed with our defense."

Despite the team's final record of 6-21-4, Grillo is optimistic about its future.

"I think we were disappointed with the way it finished and our overall wins and losses, but if you look at it closely, there's not that large a gap between us and other teams," Grillo said. "We have a large number of juniors and sophomores, and some of them stepped up this year and were leaders as underclassmen."

Nonetheless, Grillo expressed regret that the five seniors will be leaving.

"For us coaches and the rest of the team, it's very sad to see them go," he said. "They're great kids, classy kids, who represent Brown University, and they've been awesome to coach."


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