Following a victory over Dartmouth on the road last Saturday, the men’s hockey team closed out the regular season with a pair of losses to No. 5 Quinnipiac University and Princeton at home this weekend.
With the week’s results around the league, the Bears finished eighth in the ECAC and secured home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Bruno will host Princeton again in a best-of-three series at Meehan Auditorium this weekend. The winner of the round will advance to the quarterfinals next week.
Brown 1, Quinnipiac 4
Friday night, Michael Maloney ’22 scored midway through the final stanza to bring the Bears (11-13-5, 8-9-5 ECAC) within two of the Bobcats (25-7-2, 14-6-2), but Bruno was unable to recover from a trio of first-period Quinnipiac goals.
Alex Whelan opened scoring for the Bobcats with a shorthanded goal nine and a half minutes into the first frame, collecting the puck in the neutral zone and sending a shot past netminder Luke Kania ’21 blocker side to claim the lead.
Quinnipiac widened its advantage with a pair of goals in the final two minutes of the stanza, as TJ Friedmann found the back of the net on a shot from the slot and Odeen Tufto sent a snap shot over Kania’s catcher.
Following a scoreless second period in which the Bears killed off a lone penalty, Maloney put the team on the board halfway through the third stanza. Brent Beaudoin ’20 worked his way into the Bobcats’ zone and sent a pass to Maloney in between the circles, where Maloney launched a shot past goaltender Andrew Shortridge to narrow the deficit.
Bruno pulled Kania for an extra skater with just over three minutes remaining, but the Bobcats put victory out of reach for the Bears when Nick Jermain notched an empty net goal in the final minute.
Brown 1, Princeton 5
The following day, Zach Giuttari ’20 scored in the third period, but the Bears were unable to mount a comeback after Princeton (10-16-3, 8-12-2) notched four consecutive goals in the final two frames.
The teams exchanged blows, dueling to a scoreless first period. Chris Berger ’21 was granted a penalty shot after he was hooked in the Princeton zone early in the second stanza, but the Tigers’ goaltender Jeremie Forget denied the bid to preserve the blank slate.
Midway through the frame, Jake Paganelli redirected a shot into the Brown net to give the Tigers the first lead of the evening. Max Véronneau converted on a power play with less than a minute remaining to double Princeton’s advantage entering the third.
Princeton struck again in the third period when Mark Paolini and Corey Andonovski scored within 32 seconds of one another on a four-on-four. Giuttari opened scoring for the Bears at the 12-minute mark, firing a one-timer past Forget to trim the deficit. Tommy Marchin ’19 and Tony Stillwell ’21 recorded assists on the play.
Véronneau tapped in an empty net goal with a minute and a half remaining to seal the victory for the Tigers.
“We weren’t over pucks a lot, we were reaching, we were stick checking instead of playing through people and we couldn’t get to the second opportunities,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We have to make sure that we’re on top of that on Friday.”
Following the weekend’s contests, the Bears look to reexamine and reinforce their systems.
“We struggled a bit just playing as a team and didn’t stick to our structures, and I think it showed on the scoreboard in both games,” Maloney said. “It’s just something that we need to refocus, get back to the way we were playing before and fix by playoff time.”
Bruno also seeks to remain focused and capitalize on the benefit of staying at its home rink in the first round of playoff competition.
“We worked to get home ice, so if we’re at home, we have to use it to our advantage,” Whittet said. “You can’t play for large stretches like we did these past two games in the playoffs — there are no second chances.”
“Obviously we want to win as quickly as we can in the series,” Giuttari said. “It starts with the first game, first shift — we just go from there.”
The best-of-three series will take place at Meehan Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Face-off is at 7 p.m. each night.