March 7, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, MA - Freshman Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) stopped a career-high 47 shots to earn his second straight shutout, as the Brown men's ice hockey team (5-21-5), seeded 12th in the ECAC Hockey tournament, posted a two-games-to-none series sweep over fifth-seeded Harvard (9-15-6) with a 2-0 win in game-two, a night after earning a 1-0 victory in the opening game. The series win marks the first time in ECAC history that a 12-seed has ever defeated a five-seed since the 12-team format began in 2002-2003. The last time the bottom team advanced out of the first round was in 2000-2001 when 10th-seeded Vermont defeated first-seeded Clarkson in three games.
The back-to-back shutouts are the first consecutive shutouts on the road since the 2001-2002 season when Brown posted a pair of 2-0 wins at Clarkson and St. Lawrence. It also marks the first time ever in Harvard's history, dating back to 1897-98, that the Crimson have been shutout at their home rink on consecutive nights.
The Bears came out flying and dominated the opening five minutes of the game, taking a 1-0 lead when senior Eric Slais (Fenton, MO) beat Ryan Carroll on a one-v-one attempt, skating across the crease from the left side and sliding the puck behind Carroll just 2:56 into the game. Junior Aaron Volpatti (Revelstoke, BC) started the play, digging the puck out of the corner in Brown's defensive end and passing it up to senior Matt Vokes (Auburn, MA), who chipped it off the boards and up to Slais along the left wing. Slais worked around his defenseman and then had just Carroll to beat for his fifth goal of the year.
The Crimson went up on the power-play at exactly five minutes, and though they didn't score, momentum seemed to swing towards their favor, as they had several near-misses and hit two posts.
With under three minutes remaining, Brown had a great chance to go up, 2-0, when senior Ryan Garbutt (Winnipeg, MAN) and junior Jordan Pietrus (Vermilion, ALB) raced in on a two-on-none. Garbutt passed over to Pietrus on his right, but the junior center lost his edge and couldn't get a shot off.
Harvard raced the other way and Michael Del Mauro almost tied it on a wrap around bid from the left side of the net. Clemente was still on the right side of the net and Del Mauro had a wide open net to shoot at, but freshman Jeff Buvinow (Turnersville, NJ) saved the puck in the crease to keep the Crimson off the board. Harvard opened the second period with a full two minutes on a power-play, as Brown was whistled for a protocol violation at the 20 minute mark of the first. However, the Crimson could do nothing with the power-play and the second period came and went with the scoreboard still reading 1-0, in favor of Brown.
Volpatti gave Brown a 2-0 lead 3:27 into the final period, scoring Brown's first power-play goal in its last nine attempts. Buvinow sent the puck from the left point down to Vokes in the corner. Vokes passed the puck down to Garbutt, who headed towards the net, before taking a quick shot that Volpatti knocked into the back of the net for the two-goal lead.
After going down two goals, the Crimson increased the pressure, pouring shot after shot on Clemente. At 14:57, sophomore Sean Connauton (Edmonton, ALB) was whistled for delay-of-game after inadvertently dislodging his team's goal. The penalty killers for Brown were up to the task, however, as they prevented Harvard from taking a shot-on-goal until after the penalty expired.
Carroll headed to the Harvard bench, with 2:32 left on the clock, in favor of the extra attacker. The Bears had trouble clearing the zone but were able to prevent any quality scoring chances, keeping Clemente's bid for a second straight shutout intact. At 18:23, the Bears were called for a penalty in the neutral zone setting up what would prove to be an exciting finish. Harvard left Carroll on the bench for the last 97 seconds for a two-player advantage, but Pietrus, freshman Mike Wolff (Walpole, MA), sophomore Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT), and junior Jeremy Russell (St. Albert, ALB) did an excellent job blocking shots and disrupting Harvard's passes to keep the shutout bid alive.
Clemente made a pair of spectacular saves in the waning moments and when the final whistle sounded, the Brown players rushed the ice, surrounding Clemente in the corner.
The Bears now advance to the ECAC Quarterfinals for the first time since 2005 when Brown traveled to Colgate after beating RPI in the First Round series. Brown will face top-seeded Yale in a best-of-three series, set to begin on Friday night, March 13th, at 7:00 p.m. Action continues Saturday, March 14th, at 7:00 p.m., and will resume Sunday, March 15th, if necessary.
BROWN 1 0 1 x - 2
HARVARD 0 0 0 x - 0
FIRST PERIOD - B, Slais (Vokes, Volpatti), 2:56. Penalties - B, 2-4; H, 2-4.
SECOND PERIOD - No Scoring. Penalties - B, 0-0; H, 1-2.
THIRD PERIOD - B, Volpatti (Garbutt, Vokes), 3:27. Penalties - B, 2-4; H, 2-4.
B, Clemente (59:55), 15-14-18-x - 47; H, Carroll (57:46), 7-9-8-x - 24.