PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For Brown’s Sean Hurley, the first cut was indeed the deepest. The sophomore from Rutland, Vt., scored his first goal of the season in the second period to lift the Bears to a 3-1 win over No. 16 St. Lawrence on Saturday in front of 1,273 fans at the Bears’ Meehan Auditorium.
“It’s huge,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said of his Bears’ improvement to 2-2-0 on the year, with the same record in ECACHL Hockey League play. “We kind of dug ourselves a little hole last weekend – played well, but couldn’t come up with a win – and we came up with two big wins against two good teams. I was really impressed with St. Lawrence. They have some pretty good skill up front.”
“I thought our guys played hard,” St. Lawrence head coach Joe Marsh said, as his Saints fell to 7-3-0 on the season and suffered their first ECACHL loss to drop to 3-1-0 in league play. “They’ve got a good hockey team. They did a good job defensively, I thought, and the goaltender’s part of their club. [Adam D'Alba] did a nice job, and they always seem to come up with a good goaltender. We did have some good chances, and I thought we pressed on the power play a bit later on, but we did get some opportunities. It just didn’t happen.”
Hurley’s goal came at 11:16 of the second period, during a five-on-three power play for the Bears.
“The goal was kind of a broken play,” Hurley said. “They kind of panicked a little bit, and we were able to get the puck down to [Matt] Vokes. He made a great look up to me in the slot, wide open net, it couldn’t have been easier.”
While Hurley’s game-winner for the Bears may have come easily, as did Brown’s first tally, the Bears still had their hands full, as the Saints came into Providence with an offense that seemed hungry to pick up right where it had left off in Friday’s 7-5 win over Yale.
Brown scored first at the 1:43 mark, as a loose rebound from Sean Hurley’s shot was pushed into the St. Lawrence net by a diving Max Taylor, who was attempting to either cover or clear the puck out of the crease. As the last Brown player to touch the puck, Brian Ihnacak was credited with his second goal of the season.
That was the only goal of the period, as Justin Pesony stopped the other six shots the Bears put on net, while sophomore D’Alba made 12 saves for the Bears.
St. Lawrence finally got on the board at 1:47 of the second, as junior Kyle Rank found the puck on his stick in the slot during a Saints power play and pushed it into the net with his backhand. The tie didn’t last long, though, as Hurley scored the decisive goal.
The Bears made it 3-1 at 2:53 in the third, when Seth Seidman skated across the crease, pulled Pesony out of position, and scored from his backhand.
The Bears were hardly out of the woods, though, as Brown took three consecutive penalties, forcing D’Alba and the penalty-killing unit to come up big. D’Alba made 16 saves in the final frame, finishing with 34 on the night, while Pesony stopped 20 shots in a losing effort.
“Adam, I thought, played great,” Grillo said. “I thought he did a good job. The penalty kill stepped up in a big moment and got it done. At a time in game when things can go the other way, you’ve got to step up and do the little things.”
Both teams are back in league action next weekend, as Brown takes to the road to play Harvard and Dartmouth, while the Saints will welcome Quinnipiac and Princeton to Appleton Arena.
Elliot Olshansky is an assistant editor for CSTV.com, and the CSTV.com Rink Rat, traveling to over 65 games this season and providing opinions, photos, and streaming audio interviews at http://slog.cstv.com/rinkrat.