December 29, 2012

Men's Hockey Returns to Action Saturday against Minnesota State after Three-Week Hiatus

This Weekend:  After taking three weeks off for final exams and the holiday break, Brown returns to action with its final two non-league games of the season at the UConn Hockey Classic. Brown will face Minnesota State in the first game on Saturday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. and then will meet either AIC or UConn in Sunday's action. This marks the third time that Brown is playing in the UConn Hockey Classic. In December of 2007, Brown fell to Ferris State, 2-1, in the opening round before tying Army, 1-1 (ot), in the Third Place game. In December of 2004, the Bears won the Classic title, defeating Merrimack, 4-1, in the opening round and beating Holy Cross, 5-2, in the Championship game.  

Brown All-Time in Holiday Tournaments: Brown has competed in 56 Holiday Tournaments, winning seven. Brown's last Holiday Tournament Championship came in the 2004-05 season when the Bears captured the UConn Hockey Classic with wins over Merrimack and Holy Cross. That Championship marked Brown's first in-season Tournament Championship since winning The Downeast Tournament in 1984. Overall, Brown has 11 second place finishes and 14 third place finishes at Holiday Tournaments. 

Last Time Out: Brown battled back for a pair of ties on consecutive nights against ECAC Hockey foes Union and Rensselaer. On Friday, December 7th, the Dutchmen held a  3-1 lead after the first 20 minutes. However, Brown scored once in each of the final two periods, including the tying goal with 1:07 remaining in regulation to come back for a 3-3 tie. Sophomores Massimo Lamacchia (game-tying goal) and Matt Lorito both had a goal and an assist, while junior Dennis Robertson posted a pair of assists. Senior Chris Zaires also scored in the tie. Junior Marco De Filippo recorded  six saves in the opening period, before giving way to senior Anthony Borelli, who stopped all 16 shots he faced to earn the tie. The next night against Rensselaer, Brown overcame two separate one-goal deficits to pick up the point. After RPI took a 1-0 lead midway through the second period, Lorito tied the game at 1-1 just 42 seconds into the third. The Engineers quickly took a 2-1 lead, but Zaires' second goal of the weekend with 7:30 remaining would stand as the tying goal. Lorito had another two point night with an assist on the tying goal, while Borelli earned the tie with  a career-high 34 saves.

Brown vs. Minnesota State: Brown and Minnesota State have met just three other times, dating back to a two-game series in Mankato in January of 1999. Brown won both of those games, taking a 3-0 decision in the first game, before earning an 8-3 victory in the second game. The teams faced off against each other more recently, playing in the Championship game of Notre Dame's Shillelagh Tournament during the 2010-11 season. Minnesota State claimed a 7-3 victory to post its first win against Brown in the short all-time series. Juniors Jake Goldberg and Garnet Hathaway are Brown's statistical leaders against the Mavericks, as each has scored one goal in one game. 

Scouting Minnesota State: The Mavericks, ranked 18th in the current USCHO.com poll, enter the UConn Hockey Classic following a 5-1 loss at Nebraska-Omaha on December 15th, a decision that snapped their seven-game winning streak dating back to a 4-2 win at Wisconsin on November 23rd. After opening the season with a 2-0-2 record, Minnesota State went 1-5-0 in its next six games leading up to the win at Wisconsin. Matt Leitner leads eight double-digit scorers with 21 points (5g, 16a), while Jean-Paul Lafontaine is second on the team with 16 points (4g, 12a). Eriah Hayes leads the team with 10 goals and is third on the team with 15 points, while Johnny McInnis rounds out the top four scorers with 14 points (8g, 6a). Hayes also leads the team with five power play goals, while McInnis leads the team with three game-winning goals. Stephon Williams has seen the majority of time in net and has a 1.95 GAA with a .921 save percentage in 12 gams (7-4-1). Phil Cook has played in eight games (3-2-1) and has a 3.39 GAA with a .883 save percentage. 

Brown vs. AIC: Brown leads the all-time series with American International by an 8-1-0 margin, dropping its first game in the series last year when the Yellow Jackets claimed a 3-0 win on November 22nd at Brown's Meehan Auditorium. The Bears' last win in the series was a 5-2 victory on December 8, 2009. The series began during the 1948-49 season, with Brown earning a 10-5 victory at AIC. After playing three straight games in Springfield, the two teams first met in Providence during the 1962-63 season, a 15-1 Brown win. Senior Chris Zaires is Brown's statistical leader against the Yellow Jackets with one goal in two career games, while classmate Richie Crowley has one assist in two career games. 

Scouting AIC: The Yellow Jackets enter the UConn Hockey Classic following a 7-2 loss at Mercyhurst on December 8th. AIC is 1-3-1 in its last five games, winning a 7-3 game against the Lakers on December 7th, after going 0-1-1 against Canisius and falling to Army. AIC is led by Adam Pleskach, who has 12 points (4g, 8a), while Jon Puskar is second with 10 points (5g, 5a). 18 other players have tallied at least one point, including Jeff Ceccacci, who shares the team-lead with eight assists. Pleskach leads the team with two power play goals, while four different players have each scored one game-winning goal. Ben Meisner has seen the majority of time in net this year and has a 3.73 GAA with a .909 save percentage in 13 games (3-7-3). Chandler Long (4 games, 2.94 GAA, .892 save %) and Ryan Kerpan (1 game, 3.27 GAA, .913 save %) have also played in goal this season.

Brown vs. UConn: Brown and UConn have met eight times, with the Bears leading the all-time series, 6-1-1, winning four of the five games, including the first four in a row, with a shutout over the Huskies. In the last game, played on November 28, 2009, an 8-1 Brown victory gave head coach Brendan Whittet '94 his first career coaching win. All eight of the games have been played at Brown, as a meeting this year would mark the first-ever game between the two teams played away from the Bears' campus. On January 16, 2004, UConn scored its first goal ever against Brown, earning a 1-1 tie with the Bears. Prior to the 1-1 tie, Brown had outscored the Huskies 26-0 in the previous four games. On January 10, 2006, the Bears earned their fifth win, but it was the first victory not decided with a shutout. UConn picked up its first-ever win over Brown with a 4-1 decision in 2008-09. Senior Chris Zaires is Brown's statistical leader against the Huskies with 1-2-3 totals in one career game, while classmates Francis Drolet and Marc Senecal have each scored one goal in one career game.

Scouting UConn: The Huskies enter their own tournament following a 2-2 tie with Army on December 7th. UConn's last victory was a 3-2 win over Air Force on November 24th, as the Huskies were swept by Canisius, 3-0 and 3-1, on November 30th-December 1st. UConn is led by Sean Ambrosie, who has eight points (4g, 4a), while Jordan Sims is second on the team with six points (3g, 3a). 18 other players have earned at least one point this year, while nine have scored at least one goal. Four different players have each tallied one power play goal, while Ambrosie and Sims lead the team with two game-winning goals. Garrett Bartus has seen the majority of time in net and has earned a 2.54 GAA and a .917 save percentage in 13 games (4-7-1). Matt Grogan has played in two games and has yet to allow a goal, making 22 saves in just over 56 minutes of action.

Coming Up: After the turn of the calendar page, Brown returns to Providence to host the Russian Red Stars in an exhibition game on Wednesday, January 2nd. That game is free and open to the public. The Bears will then enjoy a rare weekend off the weekend of January 5th, before traveling to the North Country to resume ECAC Hockey action January 11-12 at Clarkson and St. Lawrence. The games against the Golden Knights and Saints begin a stretch of 15 straight ECAC Hockey contests to close out the 2012-13 regular season.