Bears Set for 2004-2005 Season
Oct. 26, 2004
As Brown enters its 80th season of collegiate ice hockey, the 2004-2005 edition of Brown Men's Ice Hockey is in hunt of its third straight winning campaign, but enters the season looking to rebound from last season's premature exit from the ECAC Tournament. After holding onto first place in the ECAC for most of the season, a late season slide saw the Bears slip from first to third. After a bye-week during the First Round of the Tournament, Brown was eliminated by eventual Tournament Champion Harvard.
Head Coach Roger Grillo, now in his eighth year behind the Brown bench, and his team, are poised to earn an ECAC playoff berth and a return trip to Albany. Brown will be captained by senior Les Haggett, the Bears' third-leading scorer from a year ago.
Brown returns 18 letterwinners from last year's squad, including its second- leading scorer in sophomore Brian Ihnacak, a draft selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Grillo will also welcome nine new faces, including a third-round draft selection of the Los Angeles Kings in Paul Baier. With three veteran blueliners also returning for 2004-2005, the Bears are anticipating an exciting season of hockey in Providence.
Returning: 2; Lost: 1; Newcomers: 1
Replacing the void left by Hobey Baker Finalist and 2004 All-American Yann Danis '04 in net will certainly be a challenge for the Bears in 2005, but senior Scott Rowan has been patiently waiting in the wings for his shot in the Brown's net.
For the past three seasons, Rowan has served as a valuable backup to Danis, constantly challenging him, while making himself and Danis better goaltenders. In three career games, Rowan has posted a .978 save percentage and a 0.45 goals against average. He picked up his first career shutout in 2002-2003, earning a 19-save 4-0 win over Iona. Last season, Rowan posted 27 saves, while allowing one goal in just over one game.
Helping Rowan to fill the void left by Danis will be junior Kevin Kliman and freshman Adam D'Alba. Kliman has spent his first two seasons in a backup role, while learning the collegiate game. D'Alba joins the Bears this year after a very successful career with the Chicago Steel of the USHL.
Returning: 5; Lost: 3; Newcomers: 3
Unlike last year where nearly the entire defensive unit returned to the program, this year's defense will have a slightly different look. The graduation of Scott Ford, the 2004 ECAC Best Defensive Defenseman, has created an expected void for the Bears. In addition, a late-summer injury to senior Paul Crosty has left Brown with another void for not only the blueline, but also the special teams units.
Grillo will look for senior Assistant Captain Gerry Burke to lead the defense this season. A regular on the blueline since his freshman year, Burke has missed just two games since joining the Bears in 2001. An intelligent player with good size, the 6-4, 225 pound defenseman has helped to create one of the strongest defensive units in the ECAC. A member of the second power-play unit last year, Burke will likely anchor the left point of Brown's top power-play unit this season. He also contributes at the other end of the ice, with 12 career points, and a career plus/minus rating of "+14."
Also adding experience on the blueline is junior Adam Tichauer and sophomore Dylan Row. A physical player, Tichauer played in all 31 games last season, after appearing in 18 as a freshman. He uses his 6-1 frame to his advantage, and will help Burke lead a defensive unit that will feature several new faces. Row gained valuable experience as a rookie last year, appearing in 25 games, and will look to contribute more on special teams this year. He worked extremely hard over the summer and is ready to pick up where he left off last year, notching three assists, and leading the team with a "+8" rating. Both Tichauer and Row have the necessary skills to effectively produce on both ends of the ice.
Juniors Dami Amurawaiye and Pete LeCain have both been patiently adjusting to the collegiate game and should compete for more time on the ice this year. A physical player, Amurawaiye appeared in five games last year, while LeCain played in one game, both finishing with a "+1" rating.
Freshmen Paul Baier, a third-round draft selection of the Los Angeles Kings, Sean Hurley, and David Robertson, who has US Developmental Program experience, join the Bears this season and will compete for time on the ice immediately.
Returning: 12; Lost: 4; Newcomers: 5
Headlining the 12 returning forwards is senior Captain Les Haggett and sophomore Brian Ihnacak, a ninth-round NHL draft selection of the Pittsburgh Penguins and a WHA draft selection of the Toronto Toros. Ihnacak and Haggett finished second and third, respectively in scoring with 30 (10g, 20a) and 29 (5g, 24a) points last year. Both Haggett and Ihnacak, along with seniors Mike Meech and Chris Swon will look to be Brown's offensive leaders this year.
A Second Team All-Ivy selection last year, Haggett has been among the Bears' top scorers since his freshman year, and was third in the country with .86 assists per game last season. Haggett will look to continue his success on the power-play, where he notched 21 of his 29 points a year ago, second in the ECAC. A two-time selection to the ECAC Honor Roll last year, Haggett had eight multiple-point games last season, all Brown victories. With 75 career points (24g, 51a), Haggett will look to become Brown's first 100-point career scorer since Ryan Mulhern '96.
A linemate of Haggett's for the majority of last season and a member of the top power-play unit, Ihnacak will look to escalate his game to a higher level. The ECAC and Ivy League Rookie of the Year, Ihnacak finished the season as Brown's first rookie to notch at least 30 points as a freshman since Dave Roberts '79 tallied 34 points in 1976. With a knack for finishing, Ihnacak was named the ECAC Rookie of the Week three times. He led the ECAC in power-play points, as 23 of his 30 points came on the man-advantage, and ranked first in the ECAC in scoring among all rookies. His .97 points-per-game ranked third in the country among all rookies.
Swon and Meech both had successful seasons for the Bears last year, finishing with 9-3-12 and 7-3-10 totals, respectively. Swon led Brown in even-strength goals last season, scoring eight of his nine goals fiv-on-five, and adding one short-handed goal. In addition, he scored two game-winning goals for the Bears, and finished with a "+5" rating. Swon plays with an aggressive mentality, and could see time on Brown's top line this season, as well as both the top power-play and penalty-kill units. After a sophomore season in which he scored seven less points than his freshman campaign, Meech recreated his scoring output from 2002 last season. A right-wing on Brown's top line for part of the season, he tallied all seven of his goals five-on-five and scored two game-winners.
Juniors Cory Caouette and Joe Bauer also return after successful sophomore seasons. The Bears' Rookie of the Year in 2003, Caouette finished last year tied for sixth on the team with 12 points (9g, 3a), tripling his total from his freshman campaign. Caouette can play both center and left wing, and spent time on the Bears' top line for some of last season. He will also look to contribute on the powerplay this year. Perhaps the best penalty-killer on the team, Bauer played in all 31 games last season, after appearing in just three the year before. An intelligent skater, Bauer is quick and aggressive to the puck, especially when the Bears are a man down. He chipped in seven points (1g, 6a) and will be counted on for more offense in 2005.
Sophomores Sean Dersch and Antonin Roux both return after gaining valuable experience last season as freshmen. Dersch played in all 31 games and saw time in special team situations. He tallied seven points (3g, 4a), second among Brown's freshmen, including two goals in Brown's 8-0 win over St. Lawrence. Roux finished last year with five points (2g, 3a), including one power-play goal and one game-winning goal.
Rounding out the returning forwards are senior Rob Kapuscinski, juniors Jarrett Robertson and Rugo Santini, and sophomore Steve Sigaty. Kapuscinski played in two games for the Bears last season and will look to contribute more this year, while Robertson returns to Brown after a year away from school. As a sophomore in 2003, Robertson appeared in 17 games and notched three points (1g, 2a), after a two-point (2a) freshman season in 2002. Santini (0-1-1) and Sigaty both saw action in six games last season, and will challenge for more playing time this year.
Five forwards make up the Class of 2008: Todd Johnson, Brian McNary, Chris Poli, Jeff Prough, and Seth Seidman. All five add size, talent and strength to the roster and have the potential to make an immediate impact.