March 1, 2013

Brown Hosts Cornell and Colgate in Final Regular Season Weekend with Home Ice on the Line

This Weekend: Brown hosts Cornell and Colgate in a pair of pivotal ECAC hockey contests to close out the regular season. The Bears can finish anywhere from 4th through 11th in the standings and control their own destiny for a first round playoff series at home. Brown sits alone in 8th place with 18 points and is one point ahead of Cornell and Princeton, currently tied for 9th with 17 points, and three points ahead of Colgate, currently in 11th place with 15 points. The Bears are also one point behind 7th-place Clarkson, two points behind 6th-place Union, three behind 4th-place Dartmouth and Yale, and four points behind 3rd-place St. Lawrence. Brown cannot finish in third place, however, as the Saints own the tiebreaker with the Bears, having earned three points during the regular season. 

Coming Up: The Bears will resume action either next weekend or the week after in the ECAC playoffs. Brown is still alive for both a First Round bye and for a First Round series at home, but can also be on the road next weekend.

Last Time Out: Brown picked up three points in a pair of critical games on the road last weekend, defeating Princeton, 4-1, on Friday night before rallying for a 3-3 tie at #1 Quinnipiac on Saturday. Against the Tigers, the Bears were led by the line of junior Garnet Hathaway, freshman Mark Naclerio, and senior Jeff Ryan, as the trio combined for all four goals. Hathaway and Naclerio both finished with a goal and two assists, while Ryan scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, as Brown held a late 4-0 lead before Princeton got one past senior Anthony Borelli, who made 32 saves. The next night against the Bobcats, Brown fell behind, 1-0, but freshman Joe Prescott tied the score at 1-1 midway through the second period. Quinnipiac answered with a power play goal and then took a 3-1 lead just 30 seconds into the third period. Brown rallied with two goals in the final three minutes to come back for the 3-3 tie. Ryan scored his third goal of the weekend with 2:16 remaining and then senior Chris Zaires scored with Brown skating an extra player at 19:08 for the tie. Borelli recorded 36 saves to finish the weekend with 68.

Brown vs. Cornell: Cornell leads the all-time series with Brown, which began with an 8-2 Brown win on February 21, 1959, by a 69-43-5 margin, including a 3-0 Bears' win earlier this season. The Big Red had earned a season sweep over the Bears in three straight seasons, but Brown reversed the trend by earning a season sweep of the Big Red in 2010-11 with a pair of 3-2 wins. The season sweep marked the first sweep of Cornell for Brown since the 1994-95 season and was Brown's best season against Cornell since 2003-2004, when the Bears earned three points against the Big Red. The Bears stretched their winning streak against Cornell to three games with a 5-4 win in Providence early last season, but the Big Red earned the split with a 5-2 victory in Ithaca. Junior Dennis Robertson leads all Brown players with six career points, all assists, in five career games. 

Scouting Cornell: The Big Red enter the weekend riding a four-game unbeaten streak with wins at Dartmouth (4-2) and at home against RPI (4-1) and Union (4-2), and a tie at Harvard (2-2). The win at Dartmouth on February 15th snapped a seven-game skid, dating back to January 19th at RPI. Cornell is led by senior Greg Miller, who has 26 points (14g, 12a) in 26 games, while sophomore Joel Lowry (10g, 8a) and sophomore Brian Ferlin (5g, 13a) each have 18 points in 26 and 27 games, respectively. Sophomore Joakim Ryan is fourth on the team with 17 points (2g, 15a) in 27 games, while four other players have reached double digits in scoring. Senior John Esposito leads the team with five power play goals, while Miller has a team-high four game-winning goals. Junior Andy Iles has played all but 10:53 in net this season and has a 2.43 GAA with a .911 save percentage. 

Brown vs. Colgate: Saturday night's game between the Raiders and the Bears marks the 78th meeting between the two teams in a series that began on March 8, 1935, a 1-0 Brown victory. Colgate leads the all-time series, 52-20-5, including a 2-1 win in Hamilton earlier this year. Brown has gone 4-6-3 in its last 13 games against the Raiders, including a season sweep in 2010-11, Brown's first sweep since the 1992-93 season, with a 5-2 win in Hamilton and a 6-4 win in Providence. Colgate swept the series last year with a 5-3 victory in Providence and a 7-6 win in Hamilton. Brown's pair of wins in 2010-11 was Bruno's best season since earning three points in 2008-09. Senior Chris Zaires has 1-5-6 numbers in six career games, while juniors Dennis Robertson (2g, 3a) and Garnet Hathaway (1g, 4a) each have five points in five games.

Scouting Colgate: The Raiders enter Friday's game at Yale following a 3-2 overtime loss to RPI last Saturday and a 4-1 win over Union last Friday. The victory over the Dutchmen snapped a six-game winless streak (0-4-2), dating back to February 1st. Freshman Tylor Spink leads the team in scoring with 29 points (12g, 17a) in 32 games, while senior Robbie Bourdon is second on the team with 26 points (9g, 17a) in 31 games. Three other players have recorded at least 20 points, while seven more have reached double digits in scoring. Spink leads the team with six power play goals, while freshman Kyle Baun has scored five on the man-advantage. Five players lead the team with two game-winners. Freshman Spencer Finney (21 games) and junior Eric Mihalik (15 games) have shared duties in goal. Finney has a 2.50 GAA with a .911 save percentage, while Mihalik has a 2.65 GAA and a .905 save percentage.