December 9, 2008

Bears Third Period Comeback Falls Just Short as PC Earns Mayor's Cup With 4-3 Win

Dec. 9, 2008

Box Score

Providence, RI - Trailing, 2-0, heading into the final period of play, the Bears third-period comeback came up just short as Providence College (3-12-1) edged the Brown men's ice hockey team (1-8-2), 4-3, on Tuesday evening at Meehan Auditorium in the 23rd annual Mayor's Cup battle.

The Friars took a 1-0 lead on their second of three first-period power-play chances as Pierce Norton fired a one-timer from the top of the left face-off circle into a partially open net at 13:16, as senior Mark Sibbald (Ridgeway, ONT) couldn't get over from the left post to make the stop.

Providence doubled Brown up on shots in the second period and increased its lead to 2-0 at 11:09, capitalizing on a Bears' defensive zone turnover. Brown failed to clear the puck and Matt Germain intercepted a pass at the blueline, found Jordan Kremyr, who immediately passed to Chris Eppich at the top of the left face-off circle. Eppich's shot beat Sibbald glove-side for the 2-0 advantage.

The Bears went up on the power-play just 33 seconds after the goal, but were able to take only two shots, as PC held onto the 2-0 lead heading into the final period of play.

Senior Eric Slais (Fenton, MO) made it a one-goal game just 2:12 into the final period when he collected a cross-ice pass from junior Jordan Pietrus (Vermilion, ALB) and beat Justin Gates glove-side for his third goal of the season.

However, PC regained the two-goal cushion just two minutes later when Matt Bergland scored on a two-man advantage for the Friars. The Bears responded with a power-play goal of their own, as senior Matt Vokes (Auburn, MA) took a pass from sophomore Jeremy Russell (St. Albert, ALB) and beat Gates from the top of the left face-off circle, as the Bears scored on their first two shots of the third period.

Brown nearly tied the game with 9:17 remaining, but Pietrus' look at a partially open net was denied by Gates when he got his stick around to block the shot just in time.

Two minutes later, at the other end of the ice, the Friars responded with what would prove to be the game-winner as Kremyr knocked in the rebound of a shot by Matt Taormina. Sibbald made the initial save on Taormina and though he had the puck, but it trickled behind him and before he could cover, Kremyr was able to knock the puck in behind him for a 4-2 lead with 7:28 left to play.

The Bears made things interesting with less than two minutes to go, when junior Aaron Volpatti (Revelstoke, BC) picked the puck up at the bottom of the left face-off circle on a rebound of a shot by senior Mike Stuart (Rome, NY) and batted it back into the net to bring Brown to within 4-3 at 18:41. Sibbald also earned an assist on the goal, making the initial pass to Stuart for his first career point.

Head coach Roger Grillo called a timeout following the goal and Brown immediately began its attempt to pull Sibbald, which the Bears were unable to do until 19:45, as PC held on for the win, defeating Brown for the second straight year.

In his first start of the season, Sibbald stopped 42 shots, including 17 in the final period. The Bears are off for the next three weeks for exams and the holiday break and don't return to the ice until 2009 when they travel to Minnesota to face the Gophers in the first day of competition at the Dodge Holiday Classic on January 2. Brown will then play either Northeastern or Western Michigan on January 3 before returning to Providence.

PROVIDENCE 1 1 2 x 4
BROWN 0 0 3 x 3

First Period - P, Norton (Bergland, Taormina), PP, 13:16. Penalties - P, 0-0; B, 3-6.
Second Period - P, Eppich (Kremyr, Germain), 11:09. Penalties - P, 3-6; B, 3-6.
Third Period - B, Slais (Pietrus, Stuart), 2:12; P, Bergland (Taormina, Fayne), 5x3, 4:11; B, Vokes (Russell, Timberlake), PP, 6:07; P, Kremyr (Taormina, Germain), 12:32; B, Volpatti (Stuart, Sibbald), PP, 18:41Penalties - P, 7-14; B, 12-32.

Saves
P, Justin Gates (60:00), 7-6-6-x - 19; B, Mark Sibbald (59:45), 13-12-17-x - 42.