Putting aside the memories of last weekend’s disappointing losses, the men’s hockey team will face off against Brown (5-4-2, 2-3-1 ECACHL) Saturday night, looking for a W to end their three-game losing streak.
“It’s a new game,” forward Matt Nelson ’09 said. “We can’t wait to get out there and play our style of hockey again and get a great win to get back on the right track.”
The Bulldogs (6-4-1, 3-3) will head up to Bear country looking for their first victory since they bested Harvard 5-2 on Nov. 18. Last season, the Elis went 1-0-1 against Brown, delivering a dominant 5-2 performance at Providence and then settling for a 3-3 overtime tie at Ingalls. Forward Jean-Francois Boucher ’08 and defenseman Bill LeClerc ’07 netted two goals apiece in the series, and forward Mike Karwoski ’09 and Nelson each added one.
Yet the Elis will face a very different team than the 2005-06 Bears, who finished dead last in the ECACHL with a record of 5-20-7. After going 0-2-2 to open this season, the Bears recently rattled off a series of impressive games, taking home wins in five of their last seven.
Although the Golden Knights of Clarkson put away both Brown and Yale last weekend, the Bears fared a bit better than a Bulldog squad that suffered a sweep. On Friday, Brown did what no other ECACHL team has managed yet — they beat St. Lawrence, previously the only undefeated team in the league. And the squad did it in impressive fashion, building up a three-goal lead before the Saints even got on the board on its way to a 4-1 victory. The following day, the St. Lawrence squad rebounded, heading to New Haven and making quick work of the Elis in a 5-2 final.
“[The Bears] have beaten some good teams,” captain Matt Cohen ’07 said. “In the past they have always been a hard-working team, so I’d imagine it’s going to be a battle, a game of who is going to work harder.”
Freshman goalie Dan Rosen has played a key role in this season’s turnaround. Rosen boasts a .958 save percentage, the highest in Division I hockey, and has been in goal for four of the Bears’ five wins. Sophomore netminder Mark Sibbald has also done a solid job, so the Elis — who have only netted four goals in their last three games — will have to work hard to get the puck past either goalie.
Getting back on track will be crucial for the Bulldogs, who suffered two six-game losing streaks last season. Although there can be no guaranteed wins in a sport as unpredictable as hockey, the Elis should have a good shot to come out on top if they can play 60 consistent minutes and stay out of the penalty-box, a problem that has plagued them all season.
“Brown will be a strong team so it’s going to be a good game,” Karwoski said. “We expect to play our best and expect the other team to play their best. We just need to come out, forecheck hard, play hard and put the puck in the back of the net.”