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Bruno slips to PC on ice, recovers against Crusaders

In back-to-back home games last weekend, the men's hockey team suffered a 7-0 loss to Providence College Saturday but survived to rebound for a 3-2 win over Holy Cross Sunday.
The Bears (3-4-2) took the ice Saturday afternoon looking to capture the coveted Mayor's Cup against Providence College (6-5-1). The game was the 27th annual battle for the trophy, and Bruno was hoping to repeat last year's victory, which came on the Friar's home ice.
But Providence returned the favor by dismantling the Bears at home Saturday en route to taking the Cup. Head Coach Brendan Whittet '94 attributed the loss to a lack of effort and mental toughness.
"It was not Brown Hockey. It's not what we represent," he said. "We were weak mentally, lost a lot of battles, and we took absolutely hideous penalties."
Those penalties proved especially costly for Bruno in the second period. The Bears were hanging tight with the Friars, trailing 1-0 late into the second, when a fight broke out involving most of the players from each team. After a couple of minutes, the referees managed to sort out the mayhem, sending a total of six players to the penalty box.
The ruling took a major toll on the Bears with starting defensemen Dennis Robertson '14 and Matt Wahl '14 each serving ten-minute penalties. The Friars capitalized on the depleted Bruno defense with two power-play goals in three minutes to take control of the game after two periods.
The game went from bad to ugly for the Bears in the final stanza. Four different Friars scored goals in the period, the last of which came with two minutes remaining, capping the touchdown-sized victory. The loss is the worst in Whittet's tenure as coach.
"It was a debacle from the drop of the puck," Whittet said. "You don't forget the way you played. You've got to come back within 24 hours against a really, really high-end team and not let history repeat itself."
The Bears did just that, shaking it off and bouncing back to beat Holy Cross (7-3-1) Sunday in a comeback victory to salvage a weekend split.
The Crusaders went into the first intermission with a two-goal advantage despite Bruno's control of the game for most of the first period. Holy Cross managed their two goals on just six shots, while the Bears fired off 15 shots without scoring. The intermission concluded a four-period stretch in which the Bears were outscored 9-0, but they showed resilience in the second period.
"At times, it gets a little frustrating when you can clearly see we are controlling the play," said forward Matt Harlow '15. "It was tough to get down 2-0 at the beginning, but we kept working and kept working, and just showed great character by all the guys in the room to be able to come back and get a 'W.'"
Forward Garnet Hathaway '14 ended the scoring drought with his first goal of the season four minutes into the second period. A tremendous backhanded pass by Ryan Jacobson '15 set Hathaway up with an open shot from just outside the crease. Forward Matt Lorito '15, the Bears' leading scorer, then contributed his seventh goal of the season to tie the game going into the final period.
A relentless Bruno offense would not be denied in the third, as Mark Naclerio '16 notched his first career goal with seven minutes remaining in the game. Once again, the score came as a result of good passing. Wahl pushed the puck up the left wall to Harlow, who centered the puck to Naclerio for the decisive blow.
"It felt amazing," Naclerio said. "Harlow made a great pass to me, and I just shot it as hard as I could. It was fortunate enough to go in."
Following the Crusaders' two early goals, the Bruno defense tightened up against the Holy Cross attacking units. The Bears dominated in shots, more than doubling the Crusaders' shot attempts in each of the three periods.
Whittet said the comeback gave Bruno some much-needed confidence before they travel to New Haven next Saturday for a bout against conference foe Yale.
"Now we're in a positive frame moving into the week," Whittet said. "This win is a great win, it's a team effort, but what it should do is set us up to have a great week of practice to play a very good hockey team in their barn on Saturday night."


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