October 20, 2005

Bears Set to Open 2005-2006 Season

Oct. 20, 2005

Entering its 81st season of collegiate ice hockey, the 2005-2006 edition of Brown Men's Ice Hockey will be looking for its fourth straight winning campaign, a feat that has only been accomplished four other times in the history of the program, and not since 1978. With the return of 20 letterwinners, including eight of the top 10 scorers from last year, and nearly the entire defensive unit, including sophomore goalie Adam D'Alba (Glencoe, IL), who enjoyed a stellar rookie season between the pipes, ninth-year head coach Roger Grillo and the Bears are within reach of the Bears' first-ever ECACHL Championship Title.

GOAL
Returning: 2; Lost: 1; Newcomers: 1
The Bears enter this season with two experienced goaltenders and a talented newcomer to lead the defensive-oriented team from between the pipes.

Sophomore Adam D'Alba (Glencoe, IL) returns after a sensational rookie campaign during which he shattered all of Brown's freshman goaltending records. He posted a 2.26 GAA with a .932 save percentage, seventh in the country, and three shutouts in 27 games, while earning a 14-10-2 record. His GAA is third all-time at Brown, while his save percentage is fourth all-time at Brown, ranking behind Yann Danis '04 in both categories. D'Alba made an immediate impact in his first start, posting 44 saves in a 2-1 victory at #7 Minnesota-Duluth, and never looked back, earning a 5-0-1 record over the next six games, and allowing just 10 goals in the seven-game span.

Senior Kevin Kliman (Toronto, ONT) will compete for more time this season, after earning a 3.66 GAA and a .870 save percentage, with a 1-1-0 record, in three games. Both D'Alba and Kliman will be challenged by freshman Mark Sibbald (Ridgeway, ONT), a product of the Vernon Vipers of the BCHL.

DEFENSE
Returning: 7; Lost: 2; Newcomers: 2
Grillo and his staff anxiously await the return of senior co-captain Paul Crosty (Edmonton, ALB) to the blueline this year, after an injury last August forced him to miss the entire 2004-2005 season. Crosty will join a group of young but experienced blueliners, to create what could be one of the top defensive units in the country. With just two of the Bears' 10 defensemen under 6-0 (both 5-11), the Bears enter the 2005-2006 season with size, strength, and experience.

After playing in just 11 games as a freshman in 2001-2002, Crosty became a regular force on the blueline during his sophomore season. As a junior Crosty played in all 31 games for Brown, and notched seven points (2g, 5a), while earning special teams ice time and capturing the attention of several professional scouts. He has worked hard during the past year and has returned to form for what should be a successful season.

Crosty will join with classmate Adam Tichauer (Toronto, ONT), who has been a regular on the blueline during the past two seasons, in leading the Bears this year. Another physical player, Tichauer has missed just one game during the past two years. He uses his 6-1 frame to his advantage and will look to contribute more offensively this season.

Joining Crosty and Tichauer on the blueline are three sophomores, who each made immediate impacts last year as freshmen. Sean Hurley (Rutland, VT) headlines the trio, earning ECACHL All-Rookie team and Honorable Mention All-Ivy honors last year. A natural athlete with great instincts, Hurley played in all 33 games, and was on Brown's top power-play unit. He earned 21 points (3g, 18a), the most points ever by a Brown freshman defenseman, which led all freshmen and defensemen, and ranked fourth overall on the team. He also led the Bears with a "+11" rating.

Sophomores Paul Baier (North Kingstown, RI) and David Robertson (Saunderstown, RI) also made major contributions, while gaining valuable experience. Both Baier and Robertson played in 32 of the Bears' 33 games and saw time in special team situations. Baier, who at 6-4 is the biggest of the returning defensemen, posted 10 points (2g, 8a), including two power-play goals. An intelligent player, Robertson added eight points (4g, 4a), including two power-play goals, while leading the Bears' defensemen with four goals. Both Baier and Robertson have the necessary skills to effectively produce on both ends of the ice.

Also adding experience on the blueline are senior Pete LeCain (Bridgewater, NS) and junior Dylan Row (Winnipeg, MAN). After playing minimally in each of his first two seasons, LeCain had a breakthrough year last season, appearing in all 33 games as one of the Bears' most consistent defensemen. He also chipped in three points (1g, 2a) and a "+3" rating. Row has seen limited action, but has exhibited promise and has the potential to contribute.

Freshmen Matt Palmer (Anchorage, AK) and Mike Stuart (Rome, NY), who brings a 6-6 frame to the team, join the Bears this season and will compete for time on the ice immediately.

FORWARD
Returning: 13; Lost: 4; Newcomers: 4
Headlining the 12 returning forwards are juniors Brian Ihnacak (Toronto, ONT), Sean Dersch (Edmonton, ALB), and Antonin Roux (Danville, QUE), and sophomores Jeff Prough (Farmington Hills, MI) and Brian McNary (Edmonton, ALB), who all finished last season among the top eight scorers and will all look to lead the Bears both even strength and in special team situations. With five legitimate scoring threats returning, several returning forwards with untapped potential, and five talented newcomers, Grillo could have the opportunity to put together three high-scoring lines, creating a challenge for the opposition.

Ihnacak has finished among the top three in scoring in each of the past two seasons, notching 53 points (22g, 31a) in 61 games. He posted 23 points (12g, 11a), last year with 15 points in ECACHL contests. He notched four power-play goals and two game-winning goals, posting a "+2" rating. He also had six multiple-point games last year and will look to provide more consistency in 2005-2006.

Dersch and Roux both had successful seasons for the Bears last year, finishing with 6-11-17 and 6-7-13 totals, respectively. Dersch, who finished seventh on the team in scoring, played in all 33 games, earning one power-play goal and one game-winning goal to go along with a "+8" rating. He is one of the top penalty-killers on the team and provides leadership both on and off the ice. Roux finished the season ranked eighth on the team in scoring, notching two power-play goals and one game-winning goal to go along with a "+3" rating.

Prough notched an assist in his first collegiate game and never looked back, picking up 20 points (9g, 11a) on the season, including 6-6-12 numbers in ECACHL contests. He notched three power-play goals, led the team with three game-winning goals, and scored the Bears' only short-handed goal last year. A speedy wing, Prough will contribute both even strength and in special team situations. McNary finished right behind Prough in scoring with 18 points (8g, 10a), including 4-8-12 numbers in ECACHL games. He will also contribute in all situations, scoring four power-play goals last year and adding two game-winning goals. He also had a "+5" rating.

Senior co-captain Joe Bauer (Apple Valley, MN) and classmates Cory Caouette (Devon, ALB) and Rugo Santini (Winchester, MA) each bring four years of experience and leadership to the Bears' lineup. Bauer has been a regular in the lineup during each of the past two seasons and is one of the top penalty killers on the team. An intelligent skater, Bauer, who chipped in five points (3g, 2a) last year, is quick and aggressive to the puck, especially when the Bears are a man down. Caouette played in 29 games last year and notched four points (2g, 2a). He can play both center and wing and also contributes on the power-play. Santini had perhaps his best season with the Bears last year, playing in 28 games. He tallied eight points (1g, 7a), and scored the game-winning goal against Merrimack.

Rounding out the returning forwards are senior Jarrett Robertson (Kingston, ONT), junior Steve Sigaty (Edmonton, ALB), and sophomores Todd Johnson (Riverside, CT), Chris Poli (Medfield, MA), and Seth Seidman (Milton, MA). Robertson played in 10 games for the Bears last season, and posted one assist, while Sigaty returns to the team after a year spent recovering from an injury. Of the three sophomores, Poli appeared in the most games, playing in 29 contests. He improved steadily with each game and picked up 3-3-6 numbers on the year, including 3-1-4 numbers in the Bears' playoff series with RPI. Seidman played in 13 games and tallied two assists, while Johnson should compete for playing time after missing the entire 2004-2005 season with an injury.

Four forwards make up the Class of 2009, including Ryan Garbutt, Sean Muncy, Eric Slais, and Matt Vokes. All four add size, talent and strength to the roster and have the potential to make an immediate impact.