March 5, 2010

Bears Set for Best-of-Three First Round Series at RPI

This Weekend: The 11th-seeded Bears face sixth-seeded RPI in a best-of-three First Round series. It marks the fifth straight that year that Brown will play a First Round series on the road and the sixth consecutive season that Brown will play in the First Round, as the Bears' last top-four finish and subsequent bye came during the 2003-04 season.

All-Time in the ECAC First Round: Since the first season that the ECAC hosted a First Round of the playoffs (1989-90), Brown has played in the First Round 12 times. The Bears were 2-1 in single-elimination games between 1989-90 and 1996-97, while opening in the Quarterfinal round in four of the five other seasons. The ECAC began a best-of-three format for the First Round beginning with the 1997-98 season. The Bears are 9-12-0 all-time in those games, winning the series three times (in 2003, 2005, and 2009). From 1961-62 to 1981-82, the ECAC playoffs began with four single-elimination Quarterfinal games. Brown was 4-7-0 in those games. From 1982-83 to 1988-89, the ECAC playoffs began with a best-of-three Quarterfinal series. Brown was 0-2-0 in those games.
Brown's All-Time First Round Results
1990    at Brown 7, Vermont 5       
1991    Yale 2, at Brown 1           
1996    at Brown 4, Princeton 3       
1998    Princeton 3, at Brown 2           
           at Brown 6, Princeton 0           
           Princeton 5, at Brown 3       
1999    at Clarkson 3, Brown 2 (ot)      
           at Clarkson 3, Brown 1           
2002    at Harvard 4, Brown 1       
           at Harvard 2, Brown 1 (2ot)       
2003    at Brown 2, Princeton 1       
           at Brown 3, Princeton 1            
2005    at Brown 7, RPI 4
           at Brown 4, RPI 3 (ot)
2006    at SLU 3, Brown 2 (ot)
           Brown 3, at SLU 2
           at SLU 5, Brown 4 (ot)
2007    Brown 4, at Princeton 3 (ot)
           at Princeton 2, Brown 1 (ot)
           at Princeton 4, Brown 3
2008    at Quinnipiac 7, Brown 6 (ot)
           at Quinnipiac 7, Brown 1
2009    Brown 1, at Harvard 0
           Brown 2, at Harvard 0

Last Time Out: The Bears will look to rebound from a tough weekend, during which Brown was outscored 15-6 in a pair of games to close out the regular season. On Friday night against Quinnipiac, the Bobcats blew open a 2-1 game with four straight goals in the second period. The next night against Princeton, the Tigers held a 1-0 lead after the first, but extended that to 4-0 with three unanswered goals to open the second period. Junior Harry Zolnierczyk (1g, 1a) and freshman Chris Zaires (2a) had one point in each game, while senior Aaron Volpatti (1g, 1a), and sophomores Jack Maclellan (1g, 1a) and Jeff Buvinow (2a) had a multiple-point game against Princeton. Sophomore Mike Clemente recorded nine saves against the Bobcats, allowing five goals, before getting relieved by senior Dan Rosen, who stopped 14 of 17 shots. Clemente allowed six goals on 52 shots the next night against Princeton, coming to within one save of tying his career-high.

These Dates Historically Speaking: All-time, Brown is 7-7-1 in games played on March 5th, 8-8-0 in games played on March 6th, and 6-5-1 in games played on March 7th. In away games, the Bears are 1-5-0 on March 5th, 3-2-0 on March 6th, and 4-5-1 on March 7th. Brown and RPI have met one other time on March 5th, a 4-3 Bears' win in the First Round of the ECAC Playoffs in 2005.

Brown vs. Rensselaer: This weekend will mark the 77th, 78th, and possibly 79th meetings between Brown and RPI, with the Engineers leading the all-time series, 50-19-7. After Brown won two straight games in the 2005 playoffs, RPI has swept Brown in three of the past four seasons, including last year. The Engineers were 6-0-1 against the Bears in the teams' previous seven games, but Brown earned its first victory since the playoff win in 2005 with a 4-3 overtime decision at the end of January. The two teams first met in 1951-52, a 5-0 Brown victory. Senior Aaron Volpatti is Brown's statistical leader against RPI with six points (3g, 3a), including the overtime game-winner this season, in eight career games. Senior Devin Timberlake has five points (2g, 3a) in seven career games.

Brown vs. RPI in the Playoffs: The Bears have faced RPI just two other times in the playoffs, most recently in 2005 when their 2010 positions were reversed and sixth-place Brown hosted 11th-place RPI. The Bears swept the series, winning 7-4 in game one and 4-3 (ot) in game two. In 1990, eight-seeded Brown defeated ninth-seeded Vermont, 7-5, in a single game to advance to the Quarterfinals, where the Bears traveled to Troy to face second-seeded RPI. The Engineers swept that series, winning 5-3 in game one and 6-4 in game two.

Scouting Rensselaer: The Engineers enter their first home playoff series since the 2005-2006 season, and are coming off a 1-1 tie with Cornell. RPI is 1-3-1 in its last five games, having last earned a win on February 19th, the same date of Brown's last win, when the Engineers defeated Quinnipiac, 5-3. The Engineers are led by junior Chase Polacek, who has 50 points, split evenly between goals and assists, in 36 games. Polacek also leads the team with 12 power play goals to go along with two short-handed goals and two game-winners. Freshmen Brandon Pirri and Jerry D'Amigo occupy the 2-3 spots on the team, as both have already reached the 30-point milestone, or eclipsed it in the case of Pirri. Pirri has 41 points on the year, including a team-high 31 assists, while D'Amigo has 32 points.  Senior Paul Kerins (12g, 15a) has also reached 20 points on the season, while six other players have hit double digits in scoring and an additional 13 players have posted at least one point.Sophomore Allen York has played the majority of time in net this season and has a 2.59 GAA and .909 save percentage in 30 games (1758:59). Freshmen Bryce Merriam (404:26) has served as his primary relief, appearing in eight games, and posting a 3.26 GAA and a .878 save percentage. 

Complete release is available here.

Pictured: Devin Timberlake ’10. Photo by DSPics.net