Providence, RI - Brown spotted the Friars a 2-0 first-period lead and despite a valiant third-period comeback attempt, the Bears could never recover, as Providence (6-3-0) earned a 4-3 win over the Brown men's ice hockey team (0-5-1) in the 24th annual Mayor's Cup battle on Tuesday evening at Schneider Arena. Senior Jordan Pietrus (Winnipeg, MAN) led Brown with a pair of goals, while freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) tallied a goal and an assist.
Things didn't start so well for the Bears, who lost their starting goalie, senior Dan Rosen (Syosset, NY) to an injury just 1:24 into the game. Sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA), who has started the previous five games for Brown, entered the game, but Providence had a 1-0 lead just 2:21 later. For the period, the Friars outshot the Bears, 16-4, and scored twice, Matt Bergland's goal at 3:45 and another by Matt Germain at 15:47.
As they have all season, the Bears came out with a sense of urgency in the second period, drawing three Providence penalties in a row in a span of 3:21, which led to two separate five-on-three chances for Brown, one for 29 seconds and another for 11 seconds. Though they did not capitalize on either two-man advantage, Pietrus made the Friars pay for the infractions, scoring on the third power play chance off a pass from freshman Marc Senecal (North Bay, ONT), who earned his first career point. Stationed to the right of the goal, Pietrus collected the puck from sophomore Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) at the right point. Pietrus sent the puck around the boards to Senecal on the left side. Senecal quickly passed the puck through the crease to Pietrus, who tapped the puck behind Alex Beaudry at 8:48.
PC grabbed a 3-1 lead at 13:51 of the second when Brown got caught in its own zone for a long shift, failing to clear the puck despite several attempts. After taking the puck from David Brown, Kyle MacKinnon skate into the slot and beat Clemente with a shot that found its way through traffic in front and into the net.
Seconds later, senior Scott Van der Linden (Antigonish, NS) was denied when his wrist shot from the right point deflected off the far post, as the period ended, 3-1, in favor of Providence.
The two teams took matching penalties 40 seconds into the third period and the Friars extended their lead 1:36 in when Germain scored his second of the night. Clemente left a big rebound out on a long-range shot by Mark Fayne and Germain came charging in on the left side uncontested, before lifting the puck past a diving Clemente.
At the tail end of the four-on-four, Zolnierczyk broke into the zone on a one-on-one, but never got a shot off and Beaudry was able to clear the puck away. Zaires' first career goal made it a 4-2 game at 8:38 of the third. After senior Devin Timberlake's (Port Alberni, BC) shot was blocked by the Providence defense, Zaires picked up the rebound, skate around a defender, and fired a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle that beat Beaudry stick-side.
With the score still 4-2 in favor of the Friars, 4:37 left to play, and the Bears about to go on a 40-second power play (4x3), head coach Brendan Whittet took a gamble and pulled Clemente for a five-on-three advantage. It nearly paid off right away, as Brown got several great looks at a goal. Senecal was denied on the doorstep by Beaudry, but Brown regained control and junior Jeremy Russell (St. Albert, ALB) turned and fired a shot wide. Beaudry went to save it but got caught out of position and the Bears had a wide open net to shoot out, but couldn't corral the puck before a PC defenseman was able to cover it.
Roughly a minute later, and with Clemente still out of the net, the Bears appeared to have scored, but the referee lost sight of the puck and had blown the whistle just before the puck crossed the goal line.
The gamble paid off with 1:11 left in the game when Pietrus scored his second of the night, beating Beaudry glove-side high with a shot from the left point. Zaires earned his second point of the night with an assist on the goal.
Clemente briefly returned to the net, and after Brown gained control of the puck, was again exchanged for the extra attacker. However, the Bears could get no closer, as PC claimed the Mayor's Cup for the third straight year.
Rosen made one save in the opening 1:24, while Clemente stopped 33 shots in 54:20. Brown returns to action Saturday night when it hosts Yale in a 7:30 p.m. ECAC contest.
BROWN 0 1 2 x 3
PROVIDENCE 2 1 1 x 4
First Period - P, Bergland (Fayne, Jamnick), 3:45; P, Germain (Brown), 15:47. Penalties - B, 1-2; P, 0-0.
Second Period - B, Pietrus (Senecal, Zolnierczyk), PP, 8:48; P, MacKinnon (Brown, O'Connor), 13:51. Penalties - B, 1-2; P, 3-6.
Third Period - P, Germain (Fayne), 4x4, 1:36; B, Zaires (Timberlake, Volpatti), 8:38; B, Pietrus (Zaires), EA, 18:49. Penalties - B, 3-6; P, 3-6.
B, Dan Rosen (1:24), 1-x-x-x - 1; B, Mike Clemente (54:20), 13-13-7-x - 33; P, Alex Beaudry (59:45), 4-10-10-x - 24.