PROVIDENCE, RI – Brown got two goals from senior Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) and junior Jarred Smith (Pepper Pike, OH) and one each from junior Mike Wolff (Walpole, MA) and senior Jesse Fratkin (Burnaby, BC) to claim a 6-4 win over Colgate (7-24-3, 4-15-3) on Saturday evening at Meehan Auditorium.
The Bears, who finished 10-14-5 overall and 8-12-2 in the ECAC, took care of things on their end in their attempt to secure a first round home series, but a Clarkson win and a Quinnipiac tie left Brown one point shy of the eighth and final spot for home ice.
Brown grabbed a 1-0 lead at 7:41 when Wolff fired a rocket from the right point that clanged off the far post and into the net, as he tallied his second goal of the year. Senior Jeremy Russell (St. Albert, ALB) made a great play at the opposite point to keep the puck in the zone on a Colgate clearing attempt, sending it back down the boards for freshman Mike Juola (Lake Forest, CA) on the left half boards. Juola crossed the puck back up to Wolff, who wound up for the shot, beating Eric Mihalik stick-side.
The Raiders would tie the score at 1-1 just 3:23 later when Francois Brisebois one-timed the puck past junior Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) with nine seconds left on a two-man advantage after back-to-back penalties on junior Richie Crowley (Canton, MA) and Robertson.
However, Brown responded at the 12:47 mark when Fratkin took a pass from Robertson and fired it past Mihalik. The puck clanged off the right post and bounced out immediately, but the red light came on. Referee Scott Whittemore initially waved off the goal, but after conferencing with the two linesmen, his partner, Chip McDonald, and the goal judge, it was ruled a goal, giving Brown a 2-1 lead. Freshman Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME) also assisted on the goal.
Brown extended its lead to 3-1 just 2:12 into the second period, when Zolnierczyk tipped a Robertson slap shot over Mihalik's left shoulder for his third goal of the weekend. Fratkin also earned an assist on the goal for his second point of the night.
Following the goal, Brown went back on the power play, but could not capitalize and then the Bears went on the kill three times in a span of 4:34. Brown was able to kill all three penalties, but just 44 seconds after returning to full strength Colgate's Mark Nasca caught Clemente by surprise and beat him from the slot after a faceoff win by the Raiders to Clemente's left.
The Bears regained momentum almost immediately, as Zolnierczyk took a pass from sophomore Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) and beat Mihalik with a shot from the bottom of the left circle, finding what appeared to be the only opening for his 16th goal of the year and fourth of the weekend. Juola earned his second assist of the night with the initial pass to Zaires.
Colgate continued to stay within striking distance and made it a one-goal game just 37 seconds into the final period when Jeremy Price beat Clemente to the far post with a shot from the right point. Brisebois earned his second point of the game with an assist.
As they had all night, the Bears responded with a goal of their own, this time off the stick of Smith, who scored his first of the year. After the Raiders' defense blocked an attempt by junior Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA) from the slot, Smith picked up the rebound and one-timed it past Mihalik, giving Brown a 5-3 lead at 2:06. Freshman Marc-Antoine Carrier (St.-Michel-de-Bellechasse, QUE) also assisted, earning his first career point.
However, just 2:40 after the goal, the Raiders went up on their sixth power play of the game and Thomas Larkin again made it a one-goal game when he redirected the puck over Clemente 6:11 into the period.
With the Raiders looking to tie the game and with time winding down, Smith got his second of the night at the 18:12 mark, picking up the puck after a shot by Wolff went wide and bounced off the end boards right to Smith.
Clemente finished with 23 saves, while Mihalik made 38 for the Raiders, who were outshot, 44-27. Brown continues action next weekend when it travels to Quinnipiac to face the Bobcats in a best-of-three First Round series. Brown and Quinnipiac finished the 2010-2011 regular season with a pair of ties against each other with the Bobcats finishing one point ahead of the Bears.
COLGATE 1 1 2 x - 4
BROWN 2 2 2 x - 6
First Period - B, Wolff (Juola, Russell), 7:41; C, Brisebois (Smith, Poplawski), 5x3, 11:04; B, Fratkin (Hathaway, Robertson), 12:47. Penalties – C, 1-2; B, 2-4.
Second Period – B, Zolnierczyk (Robertson, Fratkin), PP, 2:12; C, Nasca (McCann, J. McNamara), 13:33; B, Zolnierczyk (Zaires, Juola), 14:32. Penalties – C, 2-4; B, 3-6.
Third Period – C, Price (Brisebois), 0:37; B, Smith (Farnham, Carrier), 2:06; C, Larkin (K. McNamara, Bourdon), PP, 6:11; Smith (Wolff, Brownschidle), 18:12. Penalties – C, 2-4; B, 1-2.
C, Eric Mihalik (60:00) – 6-15-17-x– 38; B, Mike Clemente (60:00) – 10-9-4-x – 23.
Pictured: Jarred Smith '12. Photo by DSPics.net.