March 14, 2010

Bears Advance to ECAC Championship Tournament With 1-0 Win over #6 Yale in Deciding Game

NEW HAVEN, CT – Sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) scored his second short-handed goal in as many games, while sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) stopped all 44 shots he faced to earn his third career shutout as the 11th-seeded Brown men’s hockey team (12-19-4, 7-12-4) upset top-seeded and sixth-ranked Yale (20-9-3, 15-5-2), 1-0, in the deciding game of the ECAC best-of-three Quarterfinal series.

With the win, the Bears move on to face Cornell in next weekend’s ECAC Hockey Championship Tournament. Brown will meet Cornell in the 4:00 game on Friday, March 19th, at the Times Union Center.

The two teams were even during the first seven minutes with both Clemente and Yale’s Billy Blase making saves on the first three shots they saw. After an early Brown power play failed to result in a goal, the Bulldogs picked up the intensity, drawing the first of three Brown penalties in a row at the 8:32 mark, while outshooting Brown 10-2 over the remainder of the period.

Despite the distinct advantage in shots over the period’s final 13 minutes, it was Brown that would score the period’s only goal, as Maclellan connected for his second short-handed goal of the weekend. After a pair of Yale players collided inside the blueline on the Bulldogs’ first man-advantage, Maclellan scooped up the puck and skated in along the right wing with junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) on his left. Essentially a two-on-two with a trailing Yale defenseman, Maclellan opted to keep the puck and beat Blase near side with a wrist shot from the center of the right face-off circle at 9:21, giving Brown a 1-0 lead.

Both teams saw several quality scoring chances in the second period, but again Clemente and Blase were up to the challenge stopping everything they saw. Brown had two particularly dangerous chances towards the end of the period. Junior Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) had the first one when he had a wide open net to shoot at after a scrum in front, but just couldn’t corral the puck before Yale was able to clear. Then, Maclellan nearly scored on a one-on-one with Blase with both teams skating four players. Uncontested by the Yale defense, Maclellan cycled the puck around the right faceoff circle and into the slot where he shot from the wide-open lane, but Blase made the stop.

With Yale on its fourth power play of the night late the in the period at 18:39, the Bulldogs held the puck in Brown’s zone the majority of the remaining 1:21, taking five shots from close range. Clemente made a pair of saves and the Bears blocked an additional three to keep the Bulldogs off the board after two periods.

The Bulldogs opened the third period with 39 second remaining on the man advantage that carried over from the end of the second frame, but an arrant pass on the blueline that sailed out of the zone and then an immediate icing by Yale effectively ended the threat.  

Yale got a fifth chance on the power play 19 seconds shy of the five-minute mark in the third but Brown’s aggressive penalty kill weathered the storm to hold on to the 1-0 lead.

With time winding down, and Brown still clinging to its lead, Yale pulled Blase in favor of the extra attacker at 18:56. The Bears had an immediate opportunity, but Zolnierczyk’s breakaway bid was broken up by the Yale defense and then freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) missed a chance to put the lose puck away. During the final 30 seconds, the Bulldogs had two more offensive zone faceoff chances but were never able to get set up in the zone, as Brown advanced to the 2010 ECAC Championship Tournament for the first time since 2003 when the Bears also advanced with a Quarterfinal series win over Yale.

Clemente posted 44 saves to earn his third career shutout, all of which have come in the playoffs, while Blase made 20 saves for the Bulldogs. The Bears will face Cornell, the second seed in the tournament, in the 4:00 game on Friday afternoon. The Big Red advanced to the semifinals by virtue of a quarterfinal series sweep over Harvard.

BROWN                     1          0          0          0          -           1
YALE                          0          0          0          0          -           0

First Period – B, Maclellan (unassisted), SH, 9:21. Penalties –B, 4-8; Y, 2-4.
Second Period –
No Scoring. Penalties – B, 2-4; Y, 2-4.
Third Period –
No Scoring. Penalties – B, 1-2; Y, 0-0.

Saves
B, Mike Clemente (60:00) – 13-12-19-x – 44; Y, Billy Blase (58:30) – 4-11-5-x – 20.

Pictured: The Bears celebrate their 1-0 quarterfinal series clinching win over #6 Yale. Photo by DSPics.net.