PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Three second-period goals opened the door to Brown’s 5-0 shutout versus St. Francis Xavier. Senior forward J-F Labarre scored twice and goaltenders Brian Eklund and Yann Danis combined for 27 saves to lead the Bears to Friday night’s exhibition win.
St. Francis Xavier had several great chances to hang with Brown in the second, including three power-play opportunities. Eklund and the Brown penalty kill team did a great job containing the X-Men offense.
“We had a couple of real dominate power plays in the second,” St. Francis Xavier head coach Danny Flynn said. “They just cleared out all the rebounds, and we didn’t get any good bounces.”
Instead, Brown capitalized on its chances in the second frame, and the score went to 3-0.
Labarre opened up the scoring early in the second, as sophomore Brent Robinson, who would later add a goal, fed him a one-timer in the slot to make it 1-0.
The Bears made it 2-0 later in the second on the power play. Several nice passes eventually led Vince Macri’s shot from the point, which X-Men goaltender David Haun could not glove down.
Robinson’s goal came late in the second, when junior forward Keith Kirley fed him on a rush all alone in front. Robinson found the five hole to make it 3-0.
“We were pretty flat in the first,” Brown Head Coach Roger Grillo said. “In the second we started using our speed, and we got some good chances. Our penalty kill did well, but there’s room for improvement.”
Brown’s speed and execution put the X-Men on their heels all game. There were certain spurts in which the FXU top line of Patrick Grandmaitre, Graham Power, and Dustin Russell controlled the action, but Brown’s big defensive unit kept the scoring chances to a minimum.
Freshman Chris Davidson and Labarre added the third-period goals to finish the scoring at 5-0. Labarre’s two goals were a bright spot for many reasons.
“J-F has battled through some tough times in his career here,” Grillo said. “He stuck with it and has worked really hard and now it’s paying off. He will be an impact player for us this year.”
Labarre was the only senior forward in the lineup for the Bears. Their captain, defenseman Josh Barker, sat out with an injury, but will most likely be in the lineup as the Bears open up the season at Harvard next Saturday.
Other notables for Brown were defensemen Paul Esdale with two assists, and Scott Ford, who did not tally but made an impact on the power play, and could emerge as one of Brown’s premier blueliners.
Eklund made 19 saves through the first two stanzas and Danis completed the shutout with eight saves in the third, including a breakaway. The X-Men outshot Brown 27-26.