Following a close loss to Bentley University on the road Tuesday, the men’s hockey team continued its non-conference slate with a visit to No. 13 Providence College this weekend.
Though Trey Dodd ’20 gave the Bears an early lead in the first period, the Friars responded with four consecutive goals, including three in the second frame, to secure a 4-2 victory over Bruno.
Cole Quisenberry ’23 notched Brown’s second tally — which marked his first career goal — as the team gained momentum in the third stanza, but Providence (8-4-3, 5-3-2 HEAM) fended off the attack to claim the win and take home the Mayor’s Cup, awarded annually to the winner of the matchup between the two crosstown rivals.
Dodd put the Bears (3-7-0, 3-5-0 ECAC) on the board just under three minutes into the first period, scoring on a one-timer from the left circle. After finding a loose puck in the offensive zone, Dodd launched a shot to the glove side of Friars netminder Michael Lackey, which popped off the crossbar and over the goal line.
The teams exchanged blows for the remainder of the period, pressuring one another with multiple shots on net. Bruno killed off a pair of penalties before Friars forward Patrick Moynihan scored on the power play to equalize the contest in the last two minutes of the stanza.
“We’ve had games where our special teams have won for us and also haven’t performed as well as we needed them to,” Quisenberry said. “Our attention to power play and penalty kill is extremely important, especially going forward this year and trying to turn around our recent performances with these better teams and especially in the next stretch.”
Providence claimed the lead three and a half minutes into the second period, as Parker Ford redirected the puck into the net from the crease after Greg Printz and Jack Dugan worked their way into the zone with a series of back-and-forth passes.
The Bears continued to pepper the Friars’ net with shots, and threatened to tie the contest midway through the stanza when Dodd forced Lackey to make a diving save to preserve the score.
Later in the period, Providence widened its advantage with a pair of goals over a minute-and-a-half span. Brown goaltender Gavin Nieto ’20 made the initial sliding save on a bid from Ford, but Tyce Thompson finished off the rebound to extend the lead. Shortly thereafter, Friars forward Shane Kavanagh scored a wraparound goal for the team’s fourth tally of the evening.
Bruno approached the third period with vigor and began to gain momentum early in the stanza. Quisenberry narrowed the deficit three minutes into the frame, sending a wrist shot from the right circle which rung off the post and traveled past Lackey. Bradley Cocca ’23 and Tony Stillwell ’21 both recorded assists on the play.
After killing off a pair of consecutive penalties later in the final period, the Bears pulled Nieto for an extra skater with less than two minutes remaining. Though Bruno continued to apply pressure in the offensive zone, the Friars held off the attack to seal the victory.
The Bears’ recent performances have demonstrated a need to sustain momentum throughout the full 60 minutes of play, Dodd said.
“A big part of carrying momentum throughout the game is carrying it in between periods too and having energy in the locker room,” Dodd said. “That’s something that we’ve not necessarily struggled with, but haven’t had on our side looking back. So looking forward, that’s something we hope to do.”
“Momentum is huge, especially when we’re going up against these really forward-heavy teams with a lot of speed,” Quisenberry added. “It’s something that we can really focus on more — not allowing momentum to get too much shifted on their side, and really us just rolling all four of our lines and making sure everyone’s doing their jobs.”
The team also cited the importance of consistency between shifts and depth in its roster to its offensive production and success.
In “the Clarkson game (last weekend) especially I think we were very consistent, and we carried that into the PC game,” Dodd said. “It really shows what one or two slips of a shift can do and that’s when we gave them three goals in a row, so consistency will go a long way both offensively and defensively.”
“We have a lot of very good hockey players in that room, and any given night we can have different guys in our lineup,” Quisenberry said. “As our younger guys get more comfortable with the pace of play at the college (level), I think that depth is really going to show even more and become even more impactful for the team.”
With a pair of conference contests against Union College and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute coming up this weekend, the Bears view their ability to compete with elite teams as a source of confidence and optimism.
“At times we showed that we can play with the best teams in the nation, and really we’re right there with them,” Quisenberry said. “It’s just a couple of mistakes that are making a difference for us right now, and these good teams are going to capitalize on our mistakes. If we can just limit those and keep pressure on for the entire 60 minutes, there’s no reason that we can’t be a top 10 team.”
The Bears resume league play at Union and RPI this weekend, before returning to Meehan Auditorium to host No. 10 University of Massachusetts Amherst Dec. 10.