March 7, 2009

Courtesy of Brown

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Sophomore Harry Zolnierczyk (Toronto, ONT) picked a great time for his first career goal and freshman Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) made 39 saves to post his first career shutout as the Brown men's ice hockey team (4-21-5), seeded 12th in the ECAC Hockey tournament, earned a 1-0 win over fifth-seeded Harvard (9-14-6) in game one of the best-of-three First Round series. The victory was Brown's first playoff win since the 2007 season when the Bears earned an overtime win over Princeton in game-one of that first round series.

The two teams played a scoreless first period in which Harvard outshot the Bears, 13-7.

The second period was more of the same, with Harvard taking a slim, 11-10, advantage in shots on goal. Despite being outshot, it was Brown that seemed to dictate the pace of play in the 20-minute period, starting with the very first shift of the period.

The Bears nearly went up just 2:30 into the period on a great shift by Brown's third line of frehmen Bobby Farnham (North Andover, MA), Jarred Smith (Pepper Pike, OH), and Jack Maclellan (Calgary, ALB). The Bears fired a shot in from the right point that Ryan Carroll saved. However, the puck popped over his head and landed behind him in the blue paint. Maclellan followed it and tried to poke the puck over the line, but Harvard's Daniel Moriarty got there first and was able to clear it away.

Less than two minutes later, at 4:19, freshman Mike Clemente (Great Falls, VA) stopped Chris Huxley's shot, as the Crimson skated in on a three-on-one break. Clemente made another huge save with just 1.4 seconds left in the period, as Pier-Olivier Michaud attemped a shot directly off a face-off to Clemente's right. But, Clemente made the blocker save, as the two teams headed into the second intermission still knotted at 0-0.

The third period was dominated by the Crimson, who outshot the Bears, 15-5, but Zolnierczyk broke the tie 3:14 into the final period when he knocked the rebound of a shot by sophomore David Brownschidle (Lawrenceville, NJ) past Carroll and into the back of the net. Senior Sean Muncy (Fenton, MO) also assisted on the goal.

The Crimson had two power-plays following Zolnierczyk's goal, but Brown's penalty-killing was up to the task, as the Bears were able to hang on to the 1-0 lead, forcing Harvard to use its timeout with 1:09 remaining in the game.

Harvard had a few late chances, and pulled Carroll with 46 seconds left in the game. The Crimson continued to press for the equalizer, but Clemente made the late saves to keep Harvard off the board.

The loss is just the sixth ever playoff loss for the Crimson at the Bright Hockey Center, as Harvard was 35-5-3 prior to tonight's loss.

Clemente finished with 39 saves for the shutou, while Carroll made 22 for the Crimson. Action continues tomorrow when the Bears and the Crimson meet in game two, which begins at 8:00 p.m.

BROWN 0 0 1 x - 1
HARVARD 0 0 0 x - 0

FIRST PERIOD - No scoring. Penalties - B, 0-0; H, 0-0.
SECOND PERIOD - No Scoring. Penalties - B, 0-0; H, 1-2.
THIRD PERIOD - B, Zolnierczyk (Brownschidle, Muncy), 3:14. Penalties - B, 2-4; H, 0-0.

B, Clemente (60:00), 13-11-15-x - 39; H, Carroll (60:00), 7-10-5-x - 22.