PROVIDENCE, RI - Brown scored three times in the opening eight minutes and never looked back, as the Brown men's hockey team (5-7-1) closed out the semester with a 5-2 victory over AIC (2-13-1) on Tuesday evening at Meehan Auditorium. Sophomore Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB) led the Bears with a goal and two assists, while senior Aaron Volpatti's (Revelstoke, BC) goal at 8:01 of the first would stand as the game-winning goal.
The victory stretches Brown's current winning streak to five games, marking the first time that a Bears' hockey team has won five in a row since former Hobey Baker Finalist and All-American Yann Danis '04 was in net during the 2003-04 season.
"The guys battled hard tonight," said head coach Brendan Whittet. "Going into the break on a five-game winning streak is a great accomplishment and speaks volumes as to the progress the team has made. Our work is certainly far from finished, but this is a huge step in the right direction towards accomplishing our goals."
Brown got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the game's first two minutes and again just after the eight-minute mark to grab an early 3-0 lead. Maclellan put Brown up with his fifth goal of the year just 1:19 into the game. After winning a defensive zone faceoff back to freshman Richie Crowley (Canton, MA), Maclellan got the puck back from Volpatti and skated the puck along the length of the ice, beating Dan Ramirez on a wrap around from the right side.
Sophomore Jeff Buvinow (Turnersville, NJ) increased Brown's lead to 2-0 48 seconds later, scoring on a shot from high in the slot that beat Ramirez glove-side, knocking the water bottle up into the air. Maclellan earned an assist on the goal for his second point of the night.
The action settled down after the goal, but at 8:01, Volpatti
scored his fifth of the year to increase the Bears' lead to 3-0.
After collecting the puck in Brown's defensive zone, Maclellan
skated along the left wing, leaving the puck for Volpatti, who was
trailing the play, once he entered the zone. Volpatti fired a
wrister from the top of the left circle that beat Ramirez to the
far corner for the 3-0 lead.
AIC got on the board with two goals in a span of 3:10, scoring on almost identical plays. Mike McMillan made it a 3-1 game at 11:58, tipping Mike Little's shot past sophomore Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) from the right side of the crease. Tom Mele brought the Yellow Jackets to within one at 15:08, putting away a rebound with AIC on the only power play of the period. After Clemente denied back-to-back shots by Steve McLeod and McMillan, Mele, buried the puck from the right side of the crease into a partially open net for the 3-2 score.
Brown got one back with 2:36 left in the period. After Ramirez saved a shot from junior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT), the rebound settled just outside the crease and within reach of both Zolnierczyk and a Yellow Jackets' defenseman. Zolnierczyk got to it first and pushed it under Ramirez for the 4-2 lead.
The second period was a bit of a different story, with AIC doubling the Bears up on shots, 14-7, thanks in large part to three straight power play chances in the opening 10 minutes of the period.
Despite being a man down for six minutes, Brown had three quality chances, to extend its lead. The first came with about 20 seconds remaining on AIC's first power play chance when Zolnierczyk broke in on a one-on-one opportunity. His shot from the bottom of the right circle had Ramirez beat, but it clanged off the post and out.
Brown was unable to extend its lead three minutes later when senior Devin Timberlake (Port Alberni, BC) hit Ramirez in the face mask with a shot from the slot after stealing the puck away from an AIC defender just inside the blueline. Then with time winding down on the Bears' first power play of the game, Zolnierczyk and Maclellan combined for a text-book give-and-go, and had Ramirez beat, but they made one pass too many and Maclellan couldn't handle the puck, as the Yellow Jackets escaped the threat.
After having two goals called back in the third period, one that was ruled to have been kicked in and another that came a second after a penalty was called on Brown, the Bears broke through for their fifth of the night with 4:39 remaining. After possessing the puck for a big chunk of time in AIC's zone, Timberlake passed down to junior Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) behind the net. Fratkin held the puck and centered it for freshman Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ), who banked his shot off the back of Ramirez and in from the left side of the crease.
Clemente stopped 24 shots for the Bears, while Ramirez made 27 saves for AIC. Having played four games in eight days, Brown is now off for the next three weeks for exams and the holidays. The Bears return to action after the New Year when they travel to Minnesota for a two-game series with St. Cloud State on January 2nd and 3rd.
AIC 2 0 0 x - 2
BROWN 4 0 1 x - 5
First Period - B, Maclellan (Volpatti, Crowley), 1:19; B, Buvinow (Maclellan), 2:07; B, Volpatti (Maclellan, Russell), 8:01; A, McMillan (Little), 11:58; A, Mele (McLeod, McMillan), PP, 15:08; B, Zolnierczyk, 17:24. Penalties - A, 0-0; B, 1-2.
Second Period - No Scoring. Penalties - A, 1-2; B, 3-6.
Third Period - B, Zaires (Fratkin, Timberlake), 15:21. Penalties - A, 2-4; B, 3-6.
B, Mike Clemente (60:00) - 6-14-4-x - 24; A, Dan Ramirez (59:53) - 11-7-9-x - 27.