NEWARK, N.J. – Sophomore center Mark Naclerio scored twice to give the Brown Bears a season-opening 3-1 victory over the defending national champion Yale Bulldogs, who came in ranked No. 7. The contest was the opening game of the Liberty Hockey Invitational, held at Prudential Center.
Yale looked to have the advantage for most of the first period, but after a scoreless opening 20 minutes, both teams got muddled into penalty trouble in the second. Midway through, the game took an ugly turn. Brown senior captain Dennis Robertson, a Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, was given a game misconduct for a hit from behind on Matthew Beattie, a sophomore from New Jersey and Vancouver Canucks property. Beattie did not return to the game.
Yale responded to the penalty quickly, as sophomore Stu Wilson made an excellent move to the front of the net to score the game’s first goal. From there, however, the Bulldogs started to get into penalty trouble of their own, taking three consecutive minors in the span of 6:12. The Bears finally cashed in on the third, as Mark Naclerio deflected a shot from the top circle by senior Matt Wahl to make it 1-1.
Early in the third, after killing off a penalty, Brown went back to the attack. Sophomore Nick Lappin was wide open in the slot, and his shot was tipped by Naclerio (who scored just six goals all last season) for his second of the game.
Junior Matt Harlow — who stole the puck straight from a Yale defender and wrapped it around and in on senior goaltender Alex Lyon — added an insurance goal not long after. Lappin scored an empty-netter late, with an assist from Naclerio, to give the sophomore from Connecticut a three-point game. A Brown team that often looked overmatched by the Bulldogs in the first period had a convincing 4-1 victory over the reigning champs.
The two-day event, held at the home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, is no longer playing under a tournament format. Brown will take on Dartmouth Saturday afternoon, while Yale plays host Princeton on Saturday night.