March 4, 2005
PROVIDENCE, RI - The Brown men's ice hockey team (15-12-3, 9-11-2) used a balanced offense with six different goal scorers, including two players with their first goals of the season, en route to a 7-4 victory over Rensselaer (14-21-2, 6-15-1), in game #1 of the best-of-three ECACHL First Round series on Friday evening at Meehan Auditorium. The seven goals were the most by a Brown team since January 18, 1997, when the Bears tied Air Force, 7-7.
The two teams both came out flying and gave fans an exciting game that wasn't settled until the final 8:00 when the Bears scored the last three goals of the contest. It was a see-saw battle all night, with each team having an answer for the other team's red light that went on a total of 11 times.
Brown took a 1-0 lead just 3:52 into the contest when freshman Chris Poli (Medfield, MA) collected the puck from classmate Paul Baier (North Kingstown, RI) and buried a back-hander past RPI's Andrew Martin on a three-on-two rush.
After the Engineers knotted the contest at 1-1 with a power-play tally at 5:59, the Bears regained the one-goal lead, when sophomore Brian Ihnacak (Toronto, ONT) went top-shelf, with Brown on a two-man advantage. Freshman Sean Hurley (Rutland, VT) and senior Les Haggett (Norwood, NY) each assisted on the goal.
RPI would not quit, tying the game at 2-2, 7:26 into the second period with another power-play tally. But Brown had an answer for the relentless Engineers, and Hurley netted his third goal of the year with a rocket from the left point that squirted through Martin's legs.
The two teams traded goals once more, as RPI knotted the game at 3-3 with its third power-play goal of the night at 14:51 of the second. However, less than one minute later, at 15:36, Poli netted his second goal of the evening, off a pass from junior Rugo Santini (Winchester, MA).
Both teams traded shots off the post to open the third period and at 11:17 the Engineers scored their first even-strength goal of the night. Again, Brown answered, this time with a goal from freshman Brian McNary (Edmonton, ALB). McNary received a long pass from Ihnacak, beat one defender, and skate in alone on Martin, before giving Brown the lead for good at 12:25 of the third.
Senior Mike Meech (Coquitlam, BC) netted his 12th of the year at 13:38 and senior Chris Swon (Mendham, NJ) added an empty-net goal with 1:11 left to play. With a goal and two assists on the night, Hurley became the first Brown freshman defenseman to earn at least 20 points since Paul Slonim '81 posted a 20-point season in 1977-78.
In net for Brown, freshman Adam D'Alba (Glencoe, IL) recorded 26 saves, while Martin stopped 18 shots for RPI. The Bears and the Engineers will face off in game #2 tomorrow evening at Meehan Auditorium. The puck drops at 7:00 p.m.
RENSSELAER 1 2 1 x 4
BROWN 2 2 3 x 7
First Period - B, Chris Poli (Paul Baier, Rugo Santini), 3:52;
R (PPG), Kevin Broad (Alexander Valentin, Jonathan Ornelas), 5:59;
B (PPG), Brian Ihnacak (Sean Hurley, Les Haggett), 7:26.
Penalties - R, 3-6; B, 4-8.
Second Period - R (PPG), Alexander Valentin (Oren Eizenman, Kevin Croxton), 7:12;
B, Sean Hurley (Jarrett Robertson), 10:25;
R (PPG), Jake Luthi (Kevin Croxton, Kirk MacDonald), 14:51;
B, Chris Poli (Rugo Santini, Mike Meech), 15:36.
Penalties - R, 2-4; B, 3-6.
Third Period - R, Kevin Croxton (Oren Eizenman), 11:17;
B, Brian McNary (Brian Ihnacak, Sean Hurley), 12:25;
B, Mike Meech (Paul Baier, Jeff Prough), 13:38;
B (ENG), Chris Swon (Mike Meech), 18:49.
Penalties - R, 2-4; B, 2-12.
R, Martin (58:35) - 8-7-3 - 18;
B, D'Alba (60:00) - 9-8-9 - 26