HAMDEN, CONNECTICUT – Trailing, 3-1, with under three minutes left in regulation, the Brown men's hockey team (10-11-6, 6-8-6) scored twice in the final 2:16 of play, including the tying goal with 52 seconds remaining, to come back and earn a 3-3 tie with #1 Quinnipiac (23-4-5, 16-1-3) on Saturday evening at the TD Bank Sports Center. The tie marked the second time this season that Brown played the Bobcats, who have already clinched the ECAC Regular Season Championship, to a draw. The two teams tied, 1-1, in Providence on February 1st.
The tie finishes off a three-point weekend for the Bears, who maintained positioning to host a first round playoff series. Brown enters next weekend's final two games of the season alone in eighth place, one point behind seventh-place Clarkson and one point ahead of Cornell and Princeton, who are tied for ninth.
As they have all season, the Bears battled adversity, scratching junior Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, ME), who had three points in Friday's win at Princeton, from the lineup after pre-game warm-ups. Brown also had to fight back from an early 1-0 deficit and then a 3-1 deficit to earn the critical point.
"That was a gutsy effort to overcome a two-goal deficit with under three minutes to play," said head coach Brendan Whittet '94. "We are a resilient group that never quits and we were able to will ourselves to a tie in a packed arena against the top-ranked team in the country."
With Quinnipiac holding onto a 3-1 lead after a Jeremy Langlois goal just 29 seconds into the third period, Brown clawed its way into the game when senior Jeff Ryan (Media, PA) scored his third goal of the weekend at 17:44 of the third. Brown pulled senior Anthony Borelli (Grand Island, NY) in favor of the extra attacker with one minute left in regulation and then just eight seconds later, at 19:08, senior Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) scored his sixth of the season to tie the score at 3-3 and send the game into overtime.
Junior captain Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, British Columbia) started the play leading to Ryan's goal, passing up to freshman Mark Naclerio (Milford, CT) on the right wing. Naclerio skated the puck into the zone and then passed to Ryan in the slot, who carried the puck through the defense to the edge of the crease. Although Hartzell saved the initial attempt, Ryan collected his own rebound and fired it into the net, bringing Brown to within 3-2.
Just 1:23 later, with the extra attacker on the ice, Ryan dug the puck out of the corner and passed to sophomore Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) at the bottom of the right faceoff circle. Lorito fired a quick shot on goal that Hartzell saved, but Zaires was in position to clean up the rebound.
The two teams played a physical first period with Quinnipiac holding a 15-8 advantage in shots on goal. The Bobcats scored the only goal of the frame, as Jordan Samuels-Thomas took a pass from Bryce Van Brabant, springing himself for a breakaway, before beating Borelli on a shot from the top of the circle.
The Bears tied the score at 7:29 of the second period when freshman Joe Prescott (Norwell, MA) beat Eric Hartzell on a breakaway of his own. Senior Richie Crowley (Canton, MA) intercepted a Quinnipiac clearing attempt at the Bears' blueline, and immediately sent the puck through the neutral zone to Prescott at the far blueline. Staying onside, Prescott collected the puck and skated in on a breakaway, deking Hartzell, before bringing the puck back to his forehand and tucking it behind the Quinnipiac goalie at the right post.
The tie was short-lived though, as Quinnipiac regained a 2-1 lead just four minutes later on Samuels-Thomas' second goal of the night. With the Bobcats on their second power play of the game, Zach Davies fired a shot from the left point that Borelli saved. However, the rebound bounced right to Samuels-Thomas, who knocked it into the net just 11 seconds into the man-advantage. The play was briefly reviewed, but the referees determined that the ruling on the ice was correct, as Quinnipiac held a 2-1 lead through 40 minutes.
The Bobcats wasted little time in increasing their lead to 3-1 at the start of the third, as Langlois' shot from the point got through traffic in front of the net and beat Borelli just 29 seconds after the faceoff.
The two teams battled back and forth throughout the third period with both Borelli and Hartzell making several spectacular saves on grade-a scoring chances for both sides.
Sophomore Massimo Lamacchia (Maple, Ontario) nearly scored Brown's second goal in the eighth minute of the period, but his shot from the point, which was headed for the top corner, was gloved out of the air by Hartzell on a delayed penalty against the Bobcats.
Zaires then nearly tallied Brown's second goal with less than seven minutes remaining when he apparently converted a two-on-one break with Lorito. The puck got behind Hartzell, lighting the lamp, but the referee immediately waved the goal off and Quinnipiac held onto its 3-1 lead until Ryan's goal at the 17:44 mark.
Borelli finished with 36 saves, while Hartzell made 26 for the Bobcats.
Brown returns home next weekend to host Cornell and Colgate in the final two regular season games of the 2012-13 campaign.
BROWN 0 1 2 0 - 3
#1 QUINNIPIAC 1 1 1 0 - 3
First period – Q, Samuels-Thomas (Van Brabant), 2:32. Penalties – B, 0-0; Q, 1-2.
Second period – B, Prescott (Crowley), 7:29; Q, Samuels-Thomas (Davies, Goodman), PP, 11:39. Penalties – B, 3-6; Q, 0-0.
Third Period – Q, Goodman (Langlois, Davies), 0:29; B, Ryan (Naclerio, Robertson), 17:44; B, Zaires (Lorito, Ryan), EA, 19:08. Penalties – B, 0-0; Q, 1-2.
Overtime – No Scoring. Penalties – B, 0-0; Q, 0-0.
B, Borelli (64:20), 14-12-9-1 – 36; Q, Hartzell (65:00), 8-12-5-1 – 26.
Pictured: Chris Zaires '13. Photo by DSPics.net.