PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Saturday, it was clear early that Brown was on its way to another easy win at home.
Junior Brent Robinson and freshmen Sean Dersch and Brian Ihnacak each scored a pair of goals in front of Yann Danis’ 11th career shutout to pave the way to an 8-0 lambasting of St. Lawrence.
“I thought we played pretty hard and generated a lot of chances,” said St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh. “But, I mean, to get it past this guy [Danis] is tough. He’s the best I’ve seen so far. He makes tough saves look easy and never really seems to be challenged. They have a really good team all around but Danis is a legit Hobey Baker candidate, no doubt.”
Despite facing 38 shots, Danis hardly had to break a sweat. His lateral quickness silenced a number of good chances and he never gave up a good rebound chance to the Saints.
The Saints kept the puck in Danis’ end for much of the night with aggressive defensemen pinching in. But the Bears kept the attackers at arm’s length from Danis, who has given up four goals in his last six games. Brown is 5-0-1 over that stretch and 6-1-1 overall.
Antonin Roux made it 1-0 off a pass from Ihnacak, who had four points on the night. Roux fired a slapshot that deflected high in the air. On its way back down the speedy freshman slapped it out of the air and past St. Lawrence’s Kevin Ackley, who was pulled after making just two saves in the first period.
Brown’s power play struck to make it 2-0. Les Haggett kept up his recent torrid play coming off an early season injury. He finished off a nice cross-ice passing play from Robinson and Ihnacak.
Later in the first Dersch scored his first of two off a nice rush with his linemates. Defenseman Vince Macri had one of his two assists of the night on the play. Dersch, who now has four points, converted a saucer pass from senior Pascal Denis to make it 3-0.
“This line is working well right now,” Dersch, a pesky forward who also plays with Chris Swon, said. “We’re all hard workers down low in the zone and we had a bunch of good shifts tonight. We complement each other well.”
Robinson scored his first goal early in the second to make it 4-0. A tic-tac-toe play around the St. Lawrence net ended with Robinson burying it on a quick shot.
Ihnacak was then responsible for two goals that put the game well out of reach. The freshman has consistently provided a spark to a Brown offense that usually just does enough to get by in front of Danis. His first goal came at even strength just as the second period expired on a low shot through replacement netminder Mike McKenna’s pads. Roux assisted.
“Any freshman putting up numbers like this is unexpected,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “But we knew [Ihnacak] was good coming in. This is what he’s here for. He’s been a great addition for us — he’s just a finisher.”
Midway through the third the offensive threat found himself in the right spot again to make it 6-0. This time Ihnacak scored just six seconds into a power play by firing in a puck that bounced to him on the left side.
The freshman has 12 points in eight games so far this season, and Saturday was the second four-point performance in his young Brown career.
“To tell you the truth, I really did not expect to be scoring like this so early in the season,” said Ihnacak, who is drawing the attention of NHL scouts. “I just am trying to do the little things like Coach says. But it just feels right now that, as a team, scoring isn’t too difficult. We are trying to turn this ship around by scoring and not just playing tight defense in front of Yann.”
In garbage time Robinson and Dersch added goals to make it 8-0. Robinson’s was pretty, as he broke behind the defense in the neutral zone and finished off a breakaway as he always does. Dersch scored another hard-earned goal, and Swon was credited with an assist.
The Bears scored eight times on just 18 shots. Although St. Lawrence dominated at times, the Saints took most of their shots from the perimeter and at the same time gave up a number of odd-man chances.
Regardless, the game was in Brown’s hands all night.
“Outscoring your opponents 12-1 on a weekend does not happen too often,” Grillo said. “Obviously we capitalized on the chances we had. It definitely feels pretty good and I can’t ask for much more.”
Brown will look to reverse its recent fortune on its trip to Cornell and Colgate next weekend. Last year the Bears were shut out in both games; they have lost all the games on that trip since this year’s seniors were freshmen.
St. Lawrence is finished with its conference schedule for the semester, and will host three nonconference opponents before exams.