The men’s hockey team (1-7, 1-5 Eastern College Athletic Conference) fell to No. 14 Providence College (12-5, 6-3 Hockey East) 4-0 Saturday night at Meehan Auditorium in the Mayor’s Cup, the annual matchup between the two intracity rivals. Earlier in the week, the Bears fell 5-2 at No. 15 Harvard (5-3-1).
The matchup with Providence was the 105th between the two schools, and the 35th since the introduction of the Mayor’s Cup trophy.
Players who spoke to The Herald said the game is special. “You don’t get to win that many championships during the year, so getting an opportunity to win a trophy was huge for us,” said defenseman Luke Krys ’23.
But with Saturday’s defeat, the Bears have now lost six straight to the Friars stretching back to January 2016.
Providence jumped out to a lead six minutes into the game, with Brett Berard scoring a wraparound goal before Brown goalie Luke Kania GS could stretch across the net.
Brown created a couple of good opportunities during the rest of the period including a shot from forward Thomas Manty ’25 that the Providence goalie just barely prevented from eking through his legs.
Still, a number of strong saves from Kania, who recorded 42 in the game, limited the Bruno deficit at the first intermission to one. But two Providence goals in the first five minutes of the second period put the Bears in a deep hole.
Brown couldn’t find the net past Providence goalie Austin Cain, who in the second period saved a one-timer from a wide open Cole Quisenberry ’23 and a wrister from Michael Maloney ’22 on a Bruno break.
In the third period, Providence scored a fourth goal, deflecting a slap shot past Kania to ice the game.
Forward Nathan Plessis ’23 said the team played better than the final score suggested. “I think the scoreline was a little unfair,” he said.
Regardless, Brown has now been shutout in three of their past six games. “It’s been tough,” Plessis said. “We can’t really score fewer goals than we have so at some point I think the bounces are going to start coming our way,” he said.
The Providence game marked the end of a difficult week for the Bears, who were plagued by injury for all three games. Brown missed nine players in the Mayor’s Cup due to injury, and the team dressed fewer than the maximum 19 skaters in all three games.
“It’s tough having some of our top players out, but it’s an opportunity for younger guys to step up,” Krys said.
In the Harvard game Tuesday, the Bears fell behind quickly when the Crimson drove home a rebound two minutes into the game. Brown would manage just three shots in the period, but 14 saves from Kania kept the game at 1-0.
Harvard scored again three minutes into the second period, but Manty would respond just two minutes later, rifling a puck into the top shelf from a tight angle for his first collegiate goal.
“Just to play and to start is a huge accomplishment, and to score your first goal is an even bigger accomplishment,” Manty said. “It’s something very special to me … but the loss took away from that a little bit.”
Two Crimson goals in quick succession around the midpoint of the period put the game out of reach for the Bears.
A third-period goal from forward Jake Harris ’22 off of a flicked pass from defenseman Brett Bliss ’25 was a consolation for Brown after Harvard had already added a fifth.
Brown returned to the ice Friday in a visit to the College of the Holy Cross for its first non-conference matchup of the season. Early on, the Bears again were forced to play from behind after conceding a goal just 1:34 into the first period. The Crusaders would add three more goals before Quisenberry got Brown on the board in the final seconds of the second period. A Holy Cross goal in the final minutes cemented a lopsided 5-1 scoreline.
“The theme of the week was that we were playing hard … but sometimes we weren’t as effective with our play as we should’ve been,” Manty said.
Still, Krys said the scorelines didn’t reflect the team’s performance, and that there were positives to take from the three games. “We took steps in the right direction this week,” he said. “We’re on the right path now, and one day it’s going to click.”
Brown’s schedule won’t get any easier with perennial powerhouses Harvard, Boston College and Boston University composing three of the Bears’ next five matchups.
Plessis said that, with the team improving and players returning from injuries, the Bears remain confident.
Krys agreed. “To play these great teams … is a great opportunity for us,” he said. “I believe in our group … we’re going to give ourselves a chance to win each night.”
The Bears will try to rebound Friday night in another matchup with Harvard at home.