PROVIDENCE, RI – Senior Anthony Borelli (Grand Island, NY) recorded 31 saves to earn his third shutout of the season and help lead the men's hockey team (12-12-6, 7-9-6) to a 3-0 win over Clarkson (9-19-7, 8-11-3) in game one of the ECAC Hockey best-of-three First Round series between the seventh-seeded Bears and the 10th-seeded Golden Knights.
At the other end of the ice, Brown's line of sophomore Matt Lorito (Oakville, Ontario) and freshmen Mark Naclerio (Milford, CT) and Nick Lappin (Geneva, IL) provided the offense combining for the game's first two goals. Sophomore Joey de Concilys (St. Catharine's, Ontario) clinched the win with an empty net goal with 15 seconds remaining.
Brown's team defense was critical in helping the Bears come away with the win, blocking 25 shots, as the Golden Knights outshot the Bears, overall, 74-47, and 31-28 on goal. The penalty kill was a perfect 5-5 on the night, including killing a Clarkson power play chance that came with just 2:15 left to play. Having already pulled goalie Grant Lewis for the extra attacker, seven seconds earlier, the Golden Knight went up on a six-on-four advantage. Brown responded, limiting Clarkson's chances until the de Concilys' empty-netter just as the Bears returned to full strength.
"We are a defensive-minded team," said head coach Brendan Whittet '94. "We have to be. It starts with Anthony, and goes through our defensive corps. I didn't think we started that game off particularly well. I thought we were trying to do a little too much. We were trying to do other people's jobs defensively."
Both teams came out with energy, playing a fairly physical opening 20 minutes. The Golden Knights earned the first power play of the night midway through the first period, which Brown killed. Just four minutes after returning to full strength, the Bears got their first power play chance and 24 seconds in, Naclerio gave his team a 1-0 lead.
Lappin started the play, controlling the puck at the left point, before crossing to down low to Lorito at the bottom of the right circle. Lorito made a move around the Clarkson defenseman and passed to Naclerio, who deflected it into a partially open net from the left side.
Borelli was instrumental in helping to keep Clarkson off the board in the first, making several key saves early in the game, while allowing the Bears to find their rhythm.
Lappin nearly gave the Bears 2-0 lead just five seconds into the second period, but his shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle ricocheted off the cross bar. Then on another Brown power play chance in the sixth minute of the frame, Lorito fired a shot from the left circle that got past Lewis. However, the puck rolled across the goal-mouth and never went over the line, as the Bears headed into the locker room clinging to their 1-0 lead.
With under 16 minutes to play, Clarkson narrowly missed getting on the board, but TJ Moor shot wide to the far side from the right wing with the Golden Knights on a four-on-two break. Senior Chris Zaires (Aberdeen, NJ) and sophomore Matt Harlow (Bridgewater, MA) raced the other way with a two-on-one, but Zaires' centering feed was deflected away by the Clarkson defenseman, keeping it a one-goal game.
Less than two minutes later, Brown broke through for its second goal. Lappin again started the play, passing to Naclerio in the neutral zone. Naclerio skated into the zone and fed Lorito on his left, who beat Lewis with a wrist shot from the top of the left circle that trickled in behind him at 6:25.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night in game two of the best-of-three series. Tickets are still available by calling the Brown ticket office at 401-863-2773. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
CLARKSON 0 0 0 x - 0
BROWN 1 0 2 x - 3
First period – B, Naclerio (Lorito, Lappin), PP, 15:45. Penalties – C, 1-2; B, 1-2.
Second period – No Scoring. Penalties – C, 3-6; B, 2-4.
Third Period – B, Lorito (Naclerio, Lappin), 6:25; B, de Concilys (Hourihan, Ryan), EN, 19:45. Penalties – C, 0-0; B, 2-4.
C, Lewis (57:53), 9-7-9-x – 25; B, Borelli (59:56), 12-8-11-x – 31.
Pictured: The Bears celebrate Mark Naclerio's first period goal against Clarkson. Photo by DSPics.net.