PROVIDENCE, RI - Trailing, 1-0, at the start of
the third period, freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen,
NJ) ignited a Brown comeback with his eight goal of the year just
45 seconds into the period, as the Bears (8-15-3, 6-10-3) came back
to earn a 3-2 win over Clarkson (7-21-3, 3-14-2) on Friday evening
at Meehan Auditorium.
The victory gives Brown the season sweep of the Golden Knights, marking the first time since 2004-05 that a Brown team has posted two wins over Clarkson in the same season. It also marks the first time this year that the Bears have earned a victory when the opposing team scores first.
In addition to Zaires, sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) and junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ON) also scored in the comeback, which took place during the opening nine minutes of the period. Zolnierczyk led all players with a goal and two assists, while Zaires had a goal and an assist and senior Devin Timberlake (Port Alberni, BC) had a pair of assists.
The two teams played a high-paced opening period with the Bears holding a 13-8 advantage in shots. Both Brown and Clarkson had their fair share of quality scoring chances, but sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) and the Golden Knights' Paul Karpowich were outstanding between the pipes, stopping everything that came their way.
Senior Aaron Volpatti (Revelstoke, BC) had a particularly dangerous shot towards the middle of the frame, racing in around his defender and attempting to go far side from the left corner, but Karpowich was able to get his left leg out to stop the puck and keep Brown off the board.
Clarkson's Matt Beca broke a scoreless tie just 1:11 into the second period with an unassisted goal, his 17th of the year. With Brown attempting to break out of the zone, Beca blocked a pass in the neutral zone and skated in all alone. With a Bears' defenseman trailing, Beca pulled Clemente to the left post and lifted the puck into the opposite side of the net for the 1-0 lead.
Brown had a great chance to tie things up with about three minutes left in the period, but junior Tyler Fernandez's (Bloomfield, CT) redirection of a centering feed from Zaires went wide of the net on a two-on-one break for the Bears.
With six-tenths of a second remaining in the period, Brown actually scored following a scrum in front, but the referee had blown the play dead just prior to the red light turning on so the goal was waved off.
Following the play, both Clarkson and Brown were whistled for matching roughing minors and the Golden Knights took an additional hitting from behind penalty, giving Brown a full two-minute power play to open the third period.
Zaires tied the game just 45 seconds into the man-advantage, collecting the puck from Timberlake at the goal line extended and banking his shot off the back of Karpowich and into the back of the net.
Just 1:05 later and with both teams skating four players, Maclellan gave Brown a 2-1 lead, beating Karpowich glove-side with a shot from the left face-off circle. Zolnierczyk earned his second point of the night with the pass to Maclellan, while freshman Richie Crowley (Canton, MA) also assisted.
Zolnierczyk extended Brown's lead to 3-1, scoring a power play goal for the Bears at the 8:50 mark. Zaires started the play with a pass down to Timberlake at the bottom of the left face-off circle. Timberlake crossed the puck over to Zolnierczyk, who was stationed back-door, and the junior snuck the puck just inside the near post for his third point of the night and 11th goal of the year.
Clarkson pulled Karpowich with three minutes remaining in favor of the extra attacker, but ended up with seven skaters on the ice 26 seconds later, giving Brown a power play with 2:34 remaining. The Golden Knights pulled Karpowich again to even things up and with 39 seconds left the two teams combined for 54 minutes in penalties, which ended up in a Clarkson advantage.
With the Golden Knights' net still empty, Beca brought the visitors to within 3-2 when his shot from the bottom of the left faceoff fluttered into the air and behind Clemente with 32 seconds remaining. The red light never came on, but was initially signaled a goal, and after a lengthy discussion ruled that it had in fact crossed the line.
The Bears won the ensuing faceoff and after getting briefly pinned in their zone, Zolnierczyk cleared the puck with a "shot" that almost hit the back of the net, but skimmed the left post instead. Though he didn't increase Brown's lead, it was enough to kill valuable time off the clock, as Clarkson was unable to clear the zone for another look at the tying goal.
Clemente finished with 23 saves, while Karpowich stopped 31 for the Golden Knights. The Bears return to action when they host St. Lawrence in a 7:00 p.m. game at Meehan Auditorium. The contest is the final regular season home game of the year, as Brown will recognize its seven seniors in a post-game ceremony.
BROWN 0 0 3 x - 3
First Period - No Scoring. Penalties - C, 2-4;
Second Period - C, Beca (unassisted), 1:11. Penalties - C, 3-6; B, 1-2.
Third Period - B, Zaires (Timberlake, Zolnierczyk), PP, 0:45; B, Maclellan (Zolnierczyk, Crowley), 4x4, 1:50; B, Zolnierczyk (Timberlake, Zaires), PP, 8:50; C, Beca (Rufenach, Oakley), PP, EX, 19:28. Penalties - C, 8-45; B, 10-35.
B, Mike Clemente (59:59) - 8-5-10-x - 23; C, Paul Karpowich (57:58) - 13-12-6-x - 31.
Pictured: Harry Zolnierczyk ’11. (Photo by DSPics.com)