All season, the men's hockey team talked about finishing in the top eight in the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings, which would have given the Bears home ice in the first round of the ECAC Tournament. After countless hours of practice, four months and 27 games, it all came down to last weekend.
But the Bears were blown out in both road games over the weekend — first by Quinnipiac, 8-3, on Friday and then by Princeton, 7-3, the following day. The losses erased any hopes of home ice in the playoffs and dropped Brown into 11th place in the ECAC standings.
"It almost feels like we worked and came so far this season for nothing, really, to finish in 11th like we finished," said forward Jack Maclellan '12. "With all of the fan support we've been getting lately and how well we've been playing at home, it's definitely disappointing to not be there for the playoffs."
The wins by Princeton and Quinnipiac helped both teams claim the last two spots for home ice in the playoffs. Brown, however, will have to travel to Rensselaer for a three-game series with the Engineers for the opening round of the tournament March 5 through 7.
Quinnipiac 8, Brown 3
Maclellan said the Bears knew they had to win both games on the weekend to guarantee home ice in the playoffs, and tri-captain Aaron Volpatti '10 said his team may have come out with a little too much energy.
"We were pretty jacked up to go," Volpatti said. "I don't know if that affected how we played. It must have, because we came out pretty badly."
The Bears and Bobcats traded goals in the first nine minutes of the opening period, but then Quinnipiac rattled off five unanswered goals, gaining a 6-1 lead midway through the second period.
"If they score a goal, you've just got to bounce back," Maclellan said. "And if you don't, then they're just going to keep rolling and keep scoring. And before you know it, you're in too deep of a hole to get yourself out of."
Francis Drolet '13 stopped the bleeding when he scored 13:27 into the second period. But the Bobcats reopened the wound in the third by scoring two more before Brown got its final goal with less than four minutes left, making the final score 8-3.
Princeton 7, Brown 3
It didn't get much prettier for the Bears the next night.
Princeton leapt out to a 4-0 lead midway through the second period behind the leadership of forward Mark Magnowski, who had two goals and two assists on the day.
"We wanted to come out strong against Brown," Magnowski said. "They are a hard-working team, so we wanted to get an early jump on them and we did."
The 4-0 lead crippled the Bears, who are just 1-14-2 on the season in games when their opponent has scored the first goal.
Volpatti called the early 4-0 deficit "deflating."
"When we get up a goal, we're a different team," he added.
Maclellan and Jesse Fratkin '11 scored a pair of goals for Brown two-and-a-half minutes apart in the middle of the second period to narrow the Tigers' lead to 4-2. But Princeton responded with three third-period goals to Brown's one.
"It was a frustrating weekend," Maclellan said. But "dwelling on it is not going to help us either, so we're just looking forward to next weekend and seeing how we're going to beat (Rensselaer)."