The men's hockey team has had its high and low points this season, but the Bears (8-12-4, 6-10-1 ECAC) are hoping they are on the way up going into the Eastern College Athletic Conference tournament after toppling St. Lawrence University (9-15-5, 5-11-1), 5-1, Saturday. The night before, the Bears fell, 4-1, to Clarkson University (13-14-2, 7-9-1) for their fifth-consecutive loss.
All season, Head Coach Brendan Whittet '94 has stressed the importance of his 10 freshmen to the future success of the program. This weekend, two of Brown's youngest — forward Mark Hourihan '14 and forward Garnet Hathaway '14 — showed that they can make an impact here and now.
Brown took control of the game early Saturday night, grabbing a 2-0 lead against St. Lawrence after first period goals by forwards David Brownschidle '11 and Chris Zaires '13. The onslaught continued when Hourihan broke away from the St. Lawrence defense and beat Saints' goalie Robby Moss less than three minutes into the second period for his first career goal, putting Bruno on top, 3-0.
"It took me a while to score, so it felt good to finally get that out of the way," Hourihan said. "To be honest, I didn't even know it went in until I saw everyone celebrating."
Less than two minutes later, Hathaway kept the pressure on with his fifth goal of the season, assisted by defenseman Mike Wolff '12.
"The rebound just popped out in front," Hathaway said. "The puck was in the air, so I just kind of batted it in from the middle of the slot."
Bruno gave up a goal in the third period, but made up for it when defensemen Jeff Buvinow '12 drilled one into the Saints' net, assisted by Hathaway and Hourihan. The Bears held on for a 5-1 win, ending their three-week-long losing streak.
"After a big slump, it was great to have a five-goal game and really build some confidence," Hathaway said. "Hopefully, we'll just keep rolling."
Although every team in the ECAC makes the playoffs, only the top four receive first-round byes. Brown currently sits ninth in the conference, two points behind Clarkson and nine points behind Cornell (12-10-3, 10-6-2), which occupies the critical fourth spot in the conference.
The Bears will need contributions from the entire team, including the 10 players that make up Whittet's first recruiting class. Hourihan praised the way in which their coach has helped them adapt to Division I college hockey.
"Coach knows that coming in, it's a big jump from where we played before and that we are all going to make mistakes," Hourihan said. "He has been really good about letting us make the mistakes and learning from them."
Hathaway noted that he has learned from the older members on the team this year. He asserted that the Brown hockey program is "on the rise."
"We have some very important older guys on the team that I know all the younger guys look up to," he said. "That's how we'll keep building the program. Hopefully next year, the younger guys will look up to us."
The next test for the Bears will be a road trip to ECAC rivals Princeton (14-9-2, 9-7-2) and Quinnipiac University (13-12-5, 6-8-4).