Men’s Hockey Skates to 3-3 Tie at No. 16 Denver; Bears Win Shoot-out

DENVER – Sophomore Mark Naclerio (Milford, Conn.) notched a pair of third-period goals to lead the Brown men's hockey team to a 3-3 tie at No. 16 Denver in Friday evening's non-conference matchup at Magness Arena. The Bears then defeated the Pioneers in a shoot-out, 1-0, as junior Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) opened with the only tally.

Brown moves to 5-6-2 on the season, while the Pioneers stand at 10-6-4 overall.

Under NCHC rules, if a game is still tied at the end of overtime, both sides enter a shoot-out. Since this was a non-conference contest, those rules do not apply and the game officially counts as a tie in the standings. However, due to the game being played in an NCHC venue, an agreement before the contest allowed for an unofficial shoot-out if still tied after the overtime period. Each side attempted a penalty shot for three rounds, and if the score remained tied, the shoot-out would continue round-by-round to determine a winner.

Lorito opened with the only tally in the shoot-out and assisted in all three Brown goals during the contest, while sophomore Nick Lappin (Geneva, Ill.) finished with two points on one goal and one assist. Rookie Tyler Steel (Kelowna, British Columbia) registered 24 saves in net for the Bears, while counterpart Sam Brittain stopped 40 shots on the other end.

After a quick Brown penalty gave Denver the advantage, the Pioneers jumped out to an early lead at 2:26, when Joey LaLeggia blasted a shot from the left circle to beat Steel and put the home side on top, 1-0.

Brown answered right back with a power-play goal by Lappin at 9:57 to even the score. Lorito dug the puck out of the corner and slid a pass to the right circle, where Lappin converted a no-look backhand shot past Brittain to knot up the game at one goal apiece. Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, British Columbia) was also credited with an assist on the play.

The two teams stood at 1-1 at the end of the first period. Brown held a slim 10-9 edge in shots during the opening stanza.

Brown managed to kill off a penalty four minutes into the second frame, but the Pioneers took advantage of another power-play three minutes later, as David Makowski scored on a one-timer in front of the blue line for the 2-1 lead midway though the period. The Bears outshot the Pioneers by a 12-10 margin in the second period.

Once again, the Bears scored in the second of back-to-back power-play attempts, this time with a goal by Naclerio at 6:52 in the third period. Lorito rifled a shot from the right circle, but Naclerio was positioned in front of the net to direct the puck past Brittain and even the score, 2-2. Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, British Columbia) was also credited with an assist.

After Denver responded with the go-ahead goal by Emil Romig less than one minute later, the back-and-forth action continued as Naclerio found the back of the net at 11:11 to even up the score. Lorito fielded a pass from Lappin and sent a centering pass to Naclerio, who re-directed the puck over the shoulder of Brittain to pull even at 3-3 and force overtime.

The Pioneers outshot the Bears by a 3-2 margin in overtime, but Steel came up with a big save with 1:21 remaining to preserve the tie. Brown held a 43-27 edge in shots during the contest, including a 19-5 margin in the third frame.

The Bears return to action on Saturday, Jan. 4 when they visit Colorado College at 9:07 p.m. EST.