ITHACA, NY – Senior Jesse Fratkin's (Burnaby, BC) goal midway through the third period gave the Brown men's hockey team (3-2-1, 2-1-1) a 3-1 lead and the Bears survived Cornell's (2-6-0, 2-4-0) late comeback attempt to claim a 3-2 victory over the Big Red on Saturday evening in Ithaca. Combined with Friday's 5-2 win over Colgate, the Bears have earned their first road sweep of the upstate New York foes since the 1992-93 season when Brown won 5-2 against Colgate and 4-2 against Cornell in February of 1993, head coach Brendan Whittet's junior season with the Bears.
The win is also the first for all but one, senior Jeremy Russell (St. Albert, ALB) – who took a year off from the team due to injury, of the current members of the Brown team, which has not defeated Cornell since January, 2007.
The two teams battled during the opening half of the first period, trading power play opportunities, and playing mostly in the neutral zone. Brown weathered one particularly dangerous stretch of offensive possession by the Big Red immediately following Brown's first power play attempt, but junior Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) made a trio of saves and the Bears' defense blocked three more shots to help keep the score knotted at 0-0 through the first six minutes.
The Bears killed Cornell's lone man-advantage opportunity of the period, at 6:42, while not allowing a shot on goal, helped in part by junior Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) and senior David Brownschidle (Lawrenceville, NJ) winning the two faceoffs that came during the power play.
Despite getting outshot in the period, 10-3, Brown finally broke through for the game's first goal at the 11:42 mark. After a shot from Fratkin went wide of the net, the puck bounced off the end boards right to freshman Matt Wahl (Wellington, FL), who picked the puck up at the bottom of the right faceoff circle and one-timed it past Andy Iles for his first career goal. Junior Jarred Smith (Pepper Pike, OH) also assisted for his first point of the year.
Senior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) doubled the Bears' lead just 2:50 into the second period on a great individual effort. After blocking a shot by Cornell's Nick D'Agostino, Zolnierczyk beat two Big Red defenders to the puck and raced in on a one-on-none along the right wing. After getting behind the trailing defensemen, Zolnierczyk skated towards the slot and beat Iles with a low wrister for his third of the year.
However, Cornell cut into the lead less than five minutes later, when Jordan Kary converted on a delayed penalty call on the Bears at the 7:23 mark.
The rest of the period was marred by penalties, as the two teams combined for seven penalties in the 13:37 following Cornell's goal. During the time, the two teams played five-on-four, four-on-four, four-on-three, and three-on-three, which prevented either team from getting into much of a rhythm, as the teams headed into the final intermission with Brown leading, 2-1.
Both teams came out fast and furious in the beginning of the third and after several series of back-and-forth, end-to-end action, Fratkin collected the puck from Smith along the left wing and skated it in, before firing a hard shot from the top of the left circle that gave Brown a 3-1 lead at 9:38 of the third. The play started with Clemente, who made a big save on a chance in close by Dan Nicholls, whose rebound bounced right to Smith, starting the rush the other way.
The Bears had to kill a pair of penalties in the game's final eight minutes, and Cornell capitalized on the second to make it a one-goal game with 58 seconds left to play. With sophomore Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) in the box for tripping, Cornell pulled Iles for a six-on-four advantage. The bears were 15 seconds away from killing the penalty when Joe Devin redirected a shot by Kirill Gotovets to bring the Big Red to within 3-2.
Cornell pulled Iles again in the final 40 seconds, but Brownschidle won a pair of critical faceoffs and the Brown defense held on for the win.
Clemente finished with 20 saves, while Iles made 16 saves for the Big Red. Brown returns to action Tuesday evening when it travels to New Hampshire to face the Wildcats, currently ranked 7th in the country, in a 7:00 p.m. contest. It is the first of two straight games against Hockey East foes, as Brown will travel to BU on Saturday, November 27th, to face the Terriers in a 7:00 game.
BROWN 1 1 1 x - 3
CORNELL 0 1 1 x - 2
First Period – B, Wahl (Fratkin, Smith), 11:42. Penalties –B, 1-2; C, 1-2.
Second Period – B, Zolnierczyk (unassisted), 2:50; C, Kary (Birch, Devin, M.), Delayed Penalty, 7:23. Penalties – B, 4-8; C, 3-6.
Third Period – B, Fratkin (Smith), 9:38; C, Devin (Gotovets, Kary), PP, EA, 19:02. Penalties – B, 3-6; C, 2-4.
B, Mike Clemente (60:00) – 10-6-4-x – 20; C, Andy Iles (58:20) – 2-9-5-x – 16.
Pictured: Jesse Fratkin '11 had the game-winner and an assist at Cornell. Photo by DSPics.net.