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College Hockey:
Ihnacak, Brown Finishes Home Sweep

— Brent Robinson and Brian Ihnacak each scored two goals to help Brown breeze to its third straight win, 5-1 over Princeton. Brown’s offense looked great for the second night in a row and made star goaltender Yann Danis’ job a little easier for a change.

Danis had to make just 20 saves because the Brown forwards kept the pressure on Princeton’s defense most of the night. The offense exploded in its first home weekend, scoring 11 goals, five of them of the power play. The Bears have been a dominant home team of late, losing just two of their last 29 games there.

It was 1-0 early in the second when the Brown offense let loose. Ihnacak, a freshman, got the team going by converting a two-on-one chance with linemate Cory Caouette that came off a neutral zone turnover. Ihnacak burst in the zone on the right side and opted to take a shot that slipped under Princeton’s Eric Leroux in net at 6:59.

Just minutes later, the Brown power play struck twice in a row. Ihnacak is also on the first power-play unit and is joined by assistant captains Robinson and Les Haggett. Their good passing and persistence resulted in two almost identical goals.

Haggett, skating out of the right corner off passes from Ihnacak, made two centering passes to Robinson cutting through the slot that he converted for top-shelf goals to make it 3-0, then 4-0 just a few minutes after that. The only difference between the goals was the first centering pass came from far behind the net while the second one originated from around the goal line.

Ihnacak added the fifth goal of the game on the power play to complete Brown’s scoring. He finished with two goals and two assists on the night and a total of six points on the weekend. The Toronto native, who has all sorts of stick skills and an accurate and hard shot, now leads his team in points and no one is surprised. His talent was evident from the first practice and the team expects him to lead his freshman class, all five of which have dressed and had an impact, as one of the best recruiting classes in the ECAC.

“I think we are all pretty skilled players who can put the puck in the net,” said Dylan Row, a defenseman on the second power-play unit with two assists in his first five games, about his freshman class. “We knew coming in here that there were going to be some high expectations for us. We’re just trying to what we can for the team and it’s working out for us now.”

Another freshman, Sean Dersch, scored Brown’s first goal thanks to a great offensive play and pass from junior defenseman Paul Crosty, who is more often noted for his bruising hits and stay-at-home tendencies. Dersch, a shifty forward, took a centering pass from the left corner and beat Leroux to the glove side to make it 1-0. Freshman linemate Antonin Roux was credited with an assist on the play for his second career point.

Haggett was another big reason for Brown’s impressive weekend. Haggett missed the first three games of the season due to injury but returned to his normal role of playmaker in stride, netting a goal and adding four assists on the weekend.

Princeton scored its only goal of the game with 7:00 left in the game to make it 4-1. Danis was finally bested this weekend but made a number of good saves, using his lateral quickness to turn aside chances. He has a 0.80 goals against average and a .970 save percentage so far this. Grant Goeckner-Zoeller scored the Tigers’ goal, a night after they scored four unanswered goals in 4-2 upset at Harvard.

Princeton will look to show the win over Harvard was not a fluke next weekend as its hosts Vermont and Dartmouth. The Bears have next weekend off but play at Providence a week from Tuesday in the Mayor’s Cup battle of cross-town rivals.

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