POTSDAM, N.Y. — Brown goaltender Yann Danis put on a stellar performance for the second evening in a row, stopping all 25 shots he faced as the Bears gained a weekend shutout sweep by defeating Clarkson, 2-0, Saturday at Cheel Arena.
“I didn’t think we’d come into this weekend and put up two shutouts, but I’d be lying if I said I was surprised,” commented Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “Yann played really great. The team is in a real good frame of mind right now, we’re playing some good hockey.”
The win was the first for Brown in Cheel since 1992, the first season that the building was open. Just as impressive, it snapped a 26-game stranglehold the Golden Knights had on the Bears (21-0-5), and probably most importantly, it was the first time that Grillo beat Clarkson.
“For me personally, I told the guys that this was a monkey off my back,” said Grillo. “This isn’t an easy trip for anybody in college hockey, I’m certainly proud of what the guys did, and I’m excited about it.”
“League games are much bigger than non-league games. To beat St. Cloud and Wisconsin was nice, but these games are much more important. I think what those non-league games did was give us some confidence, and let us know that as a team we can beat anybody if we put our heads together, play as a unit, and battle.”
For two periods both teams looked for a chance to break the scoreless tie. However, close calls and power-play opportunities were squashed by solid goaltending from both Danis and Clarkson netminder Mike Walsh. It wasn’t until the third period that the game’s first goal came.
A whistle to Gerry Burke put the Bears on the penalty kill for the fifth time on the evening. Less than a minute into the penalty, though, a loose puck slid up open ice for Pascal Denis. With a defender on his back and losing control of the puck, Denis one-armed a backhand shot to the left side of Walsh, and the puck bounced over the goaltender’s leg pads and up into the net, giving Brown a shorthanded tally and the 1-0 lead at 3:12.
Within five minutes of the first goal, Keith Kirley scored the evening’s only other goal. Kirley brought the puck into the Clarkson zone along the right side of the ice, and he rifled a shot at net from the faceoff circle that beat Walsh and put the Bears up 2-0.
Clarkson pulled Walsh with less than three minutes remaining in the contest, but the Golden Knights could not find a hole in Danis’ defense. The sophomore netminder had, only a few moments earlier, made a spectacular save as he batted a goal-bound puck out of the air with his stick while he was on his back.
“We spent a lot of time in [Brown's] end, especially throughout most of the second period,” said Clarkson head coach Mark Morris. “Danis played extremely well. He made a spectacular save late that kept us off the score sheet.
“I think that territorially we had the advantage, but a real costly turnover at the blueline on a power play and a real innocent scrum on the wall where we got out of position, created two scoring chances, and they scored both times.”
The weekend effort for Brown was the first time since the 1929-30 season that the Bears have posted back-to-back shutouts. Danis has stopped 110 of the last 112 shots he has seen, going back to the Dartmouth game last Friday.
Neither team could score on the power play; Brown went 0-for-4, while Clarkson was 0-for-5.
Next weekend, Brown will host ECAC foes Union and Rensselaer, while Clarkson will travel to Central New York to square off against Colgate and league-leading Cornell.