PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The Brown Bears overcame a 2-0 deficit midway through the second period and scored the game’s final five goals to defeat Providence 5-2 and capture the 26th annual Mayor’s Cup trophy, awarded each year to the winner of the battle between Providence’s two Division I men’s hockey teams.
It is the first time Brown has captured the Mayor’s Cup since the 2006-07 season and its ninth victory since the Cup was first awarded in 1985.
“We talked about it,” said Brown coach Brendan Whittet about the Mayor’s Cup and its importance. “People can downplay what the significance is and the rivalry, but we wanted to come out on top.
“It’s nice to have a trophy to put in the trophy case that isn’t a second- or third-place type of trophy.”
Everyone on Brown’s first line netted goals, paced by Ryan Jacobsen’s two goals and an assist. Matt Lorito added a goal and two assists, while Jack Maclellan had a two-point game with a goal of his own and a helper.
Special teams also played a major role for the Bears. The Brown power play scored twice and their penalty kill stopped all five Friars opportunities while adding a shorthanded goal.
“I thought overall our penalty kill was very good tonight,” said Whittet. “We’re making strides. [Special teams] is a very important part of games where we need to try to continue to improve.”
It was Providence that actually jumped out to the early lead. Rookie Ross Mauermann started things in picking up his sixth goal of the season shorthanded at 4:49 of the first. Skating one-on-one, Mauermann drove the net and fired a backhand shot far post that eluded Brown netminder Michael Clemente (30 saves).
The Bears had a great chance to even the score in the closing seconds. Lorito turned on the jets as he wheeled around the net. Attempting to stuff the puck on a wraparound, Friars netminder Alex Beaudry (25 saves) moved quickly to his right and flashed the right pad save to maintain the one-goal lead through 20 minutes.
The Friars extended their lead at 7:39 of the second when Matt Bergland picked up a bobbled puck at his defensive blueline and skated alone roofing a shot glove-side on Clemente.
“I thought we were playing really poorly early and we had a 2-0 lead,” said Providence coach Nate Leaman.
Whittet, at the same time, thought his team was down early despite playing good hockey.
“We were down 2-0 and I didn’t think we were playing horrible hockey,” said Whittet. “We continued to work hard and created our breaks.”
Those breaks turned the game around.
Brown knotted the game scoring twice on redirections in the slot, with the first by Chris Zaires at 12:47 and then a second by Lorito at 17:15.
After Providence went on the power play looking to retake the lead with 1:37 remaining in the second, Brown struck again.
Maclellan, Brown’s leading scorer, fired a low shot that Beaudry stopped, but couldn’t control the rebound. The senior captain took another swipe at the puck seemingly harmlessly, but the puck hit Providence defenseman Kevin Hart’s skate and bounced right into the net, giving the Bears a 3-2 lead heading to the third.
Brown tacked on two power-play goals in the third, both by Jacobsen, the first coming at 10:44 and the second into an empty net with 1:13 left to round out the scoring.
While disappointed in the loss, Leaman was understanding of the fact his team was playing its first game back after a 25-day holiday break.
“That’s a long layoff,” said Leaman. “It was pretty clear with us. You could tell [Brown] was a lot more game sharp that we were.”
For the Bears, the comeback victory extends their winning streak to three games and earns them a weekend sweep of Hockey East opponents after knocking off New Hampshire 5-2 on Friday.
Both teams now return to league action with Providence (8-8-1, 6-4-0 Hockey East) hosting Massachusetts on Friday and Brown (5-6-1, 3-3-0 ECAC) playing host to Princeton that same night.