NEWARK, N.J. – Sophomore Mark Naclerio (Milford, Conn.) broke up a string of back-and-forth goals with a game-winning tally late in the third period to lead the Brown men's hockey team to a 5-3 victory over Dartmouth in the final day of the Liberty Invitational Saturday afternoon at the Prudential Center.
Brown captured both games of the Liberty Invitational after a season-opening victory over defending national champion Yale on Friday. As part of the Liberty Invite, the games do not count in the ECAC Hockey or Ivy League standings. Following the final game, Naclerio was named the tournament MVP by a unanimous decision, while sophomore defenseman Brandon Pfeil (West Vancouver, BC) was also named to the all-tournament team.
Brown head coach Brendan Whittet earned his 50th career win as the Bears improved to 2-0-0 on the season. Dartmouth dropped to 0-2-0 overall.
"It's a good way to start, you want to open with some positive momentum and getting these two wins is a great start for our program," said Whittet. "We've got a pretty mature team, with a lot of young guys, but most of our guys have been through these situations so they remained patient and responded very well with the go-ahead goal."
Freshman Tyler Steel (Kelowna, BC) made 28 saves for the Bears in his first collegiate contest to earn the win, while Cab Morris registered 30 stops for the Big Green. Naclerio, who scored two goals in the win over Yale, added three points against Dartmouth to lead the Bears with six points throughout the two-day tournament.
Brown jumped out to a quick start as Pfeil scored just 26 seconds into the contest. Naclerio won a faceoff in the right circle and pushed the puck back to Pfeil, who launched a shot over the right shoulder of Morris for the early advantage.
Dartmouth made a strong attack late in the first stanza, highlighted by a pair of good looks from Kyle Nickerson and then Keith Bullock from point blank, but Steel turned away both shots to preserve the one-goal lead heading into the first intermission. Brown outshot the Big Green by an 11-9 margin in the opening period.
Dartmouth opened up on the power play for the first 1:34 of the second period and the Big Green took advantage as Troy Crema scored just seconds after the Bears were back at full strength to even the score at 1-1.
The Bears answered back just eleven seconds later when junior Matt Lorito (Oakville, ONT) fought for a loose puck in front of the Dartmouth crease, gained control and spun around before sending a shot into the back of the net to take back the lead, 2-1. Sophomore Nick Lappin (Geneva, Ill.) was credited with an assist on the play.
The Big Green responded with a power-play goal at 14:20 when Steel deflected a shot by Eric Robinson, but Eric Neiley buried the rebound to even the score at 2-2. Dartmouth held a 13-9 edge in shots during the second period.
Lappin gave the Bears a 3-2 lead with a goal at 5:50 of the third period for his first tally of the season. With Brown on the power play, Lorito skated behind the Big Green cage and slid a pass in front of the net, where Lappin made an initial shot before diving for the rebound. He was able to get enough force behind the diving shot to beat Morris and give the Bears a one-goal advantage.
Once again, Dartmouth scored the equalizer with a power-play goal, as Brandon McNally tipped in a shot from Brett Patterson to knot up the score at 3-3.
Nevertheless, Brown responded with Naclerio's game-winning tally at 15:26, when the sophomore corralled a feed from Lappin and buried the go-ahead goal to the left of Morris for the 4-3 lead.
Senior Garnet Hathaway (Kennebunkport, Maine) added an empty-net goal with eleven seconds left in the contest to seal the victory. Naclerio and senior Dennis Robertson (Fort St. John, BC) earned assists on the final goal.
Brown returns to action on Friday, Nov. 1 when the Bears play host to Clarkson at 7 p.m. in the 2013-14 home opener. For tickets, purchase online, call the Brown Athletics Ticket Office at (401) 863-2773, or walk up to the Box Office located in the Pizzitola Sports Center, open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.