PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Call it the Curse of the Mayor’s Cup.
For the fifth time in their last six annual matches, a determined Brown Bears team defied the odds and coasted to a relatively easy 5-1 victory over the Providence College Friars at Meehan Auditorium.
On this night, it meant that Brown — picked to finish last in the ECAC and coming off a 3-0 loss to Harvard on Friday night — was able to score five goals on a previously unbeaten Friar squad that had scored at least four goals in each of its games this season.
The Mayor’s Cup contests somehow bring out the best in the underdog, and once again Brown took full advantage of a sluggish PC team coming off an apparent letdown following a 5-3 win over Maine Friday night.
The Bears looked crisp and determined right from the opening faceoff. Doug Janjevich scored a nice goal off assists from teammates Pascal Dennis and Tye Korbl at 8:06 from out front, beating PC goaltender Boyd Ballard for a 1-0 lead.
The Friars tied the contest when J.J. Picinic took a feed from Matt Libby and shot one from the blue line that eluded Brown goaltender Brian Eklund. The score at 13:15 knotted the contest 1-1 after the first period, but the goal would prove to be the only one that Eklund, a junior, would allow on 32 PC shots for the game.
Despite the tie score, PC appeared to be moving at a fraction of its usual speed, and was missing the intense forechecking and physical defensive style that had marked Providence through the first five contests of the season.
The Bears were quick to take advantage of the lackluster Friar play, and stormed out in the second period for three consecutive goals.
First, defenseman Josh Barker challenged goaltender Ballard at 4:21 while on the Brown power play and put the game-winning goal home for a 2-1 Brown lead. All alone in the slot in front of Ballard, Barker sent a relatively ordinary shot home that Ballard missed with his pad, putting Brown ahead for good.
Jon Petricig made it 3-1 Bears at 11:28 when he tucked home a rebound past Ballard, who clearly didn’t have one of his stronger games in net for the Friars.
Brown kept up the solid second period play and made it 4-1 when defenseman Christian Warrington toasted Ballard on a 30-foot slapshot less than a minute later. The goal at 12:12 summed up the entire night for Brown, which had a leg up on the Friars in both determination and intensity.
PC tried to rally in the late stages of the period, and appeared to get on the board late when a Marc Suderman shot was sent over Eklund. However, the referees ruled that the shot had only hit the crossbar (one of several for PC on the night), and an ensuing PC power play was unable to draw the Friars closer.
The Friars came out strong in the third period, but were unable to get anything going. The Friars tried to make plays but seemed to be a half-step off all night, and when they had chances, Eklund was there to make the saves.
A goal by the Bears’ Zielinski at 6:26 put the cap on a 5-1 Brown victory.
Brown’s win is its second straight over PC and fifth in the last six meetings between the two squads. Brown now leads the all-time series between the two teams 41-38-1, with PC holding a 8-6-1 mark over Brown in Mayor’s Cup meetings, even though Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci again failed to show to present the trophy to the victors.
PC (4-1-1 overall) will hope to get back on track when it returns to Hockey East play against UNH at Schneider Arena on Friday. Brown (1-1) plays host to Dartmouth and UVM this weekend at Meehan Auditorium.