The upcoming break is a much-needed one for the men’s hockey team.
On Saturday afternoon, the Elis (6-5-1, 3-4-1 ECACHL) suffered an agonizing 3-2 overtime defeat at the hands of a Brown squad (6-4-2, 3-3-1) that has now won six of its last eight games. Despite a strong offensive effort led by forward Mark Arcobello ’10, who notched both of the squad’s goals, the Bulldogs were unable to get the puck past Brown goalie Dan Rosen to claim the win in the extra period.
“We were good enough to win that game, and we just didn’t come prepared to play,” captain Matt Cohen ’07 said. “We’ve been creating bad habits recently, and we’ve been losing.”
Even though they got off to a sluggish start, the Bulldogs pulled ahead first, tallying a power play goal in the sixth minute of the game. Forward Jean-Francois Boucher ’08 sent the puck to defenseman Rob Page ’08, who fired a shot that Arcobello deflected into the goal. Just two minutes later the Bears converted their own man advantage to even the score at 1-1. Although both teams had several opportunities later in the period, neither was able to get on the board again, even when Brown captain Sean Dersch was tossed from the game for hitting from behind at the end of the frame.
The Bears grabbed the lead in the second when defenseman Sean Hurley’s shot landed in the goal off of the right shin pad of goalie Alec Richards ’09. But the Bulldogs took control in the third, out-shooting Brown 13-6 on the way to a 2-2 tie at the end of regulation. At 8:42, just seconds after a Yale power play ended, defenseman Bill LeClerc ’07 took a shot that Arcobello tipped into the net, sending the game into extra minutes.
“We didn’t show up to play in the first half of the game, but when we were down, we battled back,” Cohen said. “We put in a better effort in the second half.”
Although the Elis lasted longer than the nine seconds they did in their most recent overtime period against Boston University, they still could not stop the Bears’ offensive charge. Sophomore forward Eric Slais buried a slapshot in the back of the net at 2:14, notching his first goal this season and Brown’s first overtime win in the squad’s last 15 attempts.
“We finally picked it up in the third period, but ultimately it was too late,” forward Blair Yaworski ’08 said. “Everyone made mistakes. One thing led to the next, and they were able to get an open shot.”
Overall, players said that they were not particularly pleased with the way that they played as a team. The Bulldogs have struggled all season to play 60 consistent minutes of hockey. Several of the squad’s toughest losses have come as a result of a few minor errors that the other team has capitalized on, just as Brown did on Saturday.
“We are getting better practice habits, but our game habits can still be improved,” head coach Keith Allain ’80 said. “The small details cost us the hockey game.”
Yet one bright spot was the return of forward Brad Mills ’07, who made his first start of the year after being sidelined with an injury for most of this fall. Although Mills is still working on his conditioning since he missed many of the early season workouts, he should be a key contributor from now on if he stays healthy, Allain said.
“He played well,” he said. “We are definitely a better team with him in our lineup.”
The Bulldogs return to Ingalls on Dec. 29 and Dec. 30 to play two Maverick teams — Minnesota State-Mankato (3-11-3) and Nebraska-Omaha (8-7-4). Last year, Nebraska-Omaha made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, although the squad received a 9-2 trouncing from Boston University. Although neither game will be easy, the break beforehand should afford the Elis an opportunity to rest and return to the winning mentality that carried them to a 6-1 start earlier in the season.
“These are two important games, not for the ECACHL but within our team,” Yaworski said. “The end of the semester has had an impact on our team physically and mentally, so sometimes we have not been adequately prepared for the game. The break will allow some of us to catch up on our much-needed rest and snap that losing streak when we get back.”