PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Brown University junior captain Mark Naclerio provided the only goal, his first of the season, as the Bears posted a 1-0 shutout over the University of Connecticut Saturday afternoon from Meehan Auditorium in Providence, R.I. UConn sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 27 saves in taking the loss for the Huskies.
Brown goaltender Tim Ernst made 25 stops to earn the shutout victory, his first of the season. The loss drops the Huskies to 3-7-4 overall on the year. The win snaps a six-game Brown losing skid and gives the Bears their second win of the season.
Naclerio’s goal came after the two teams battled their way under the 10 minute mark of the third period to a scoreless draw. UConn looked to clear deep in their zone when senior defenseman Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas) lost control of the puck right in front of Nichols. Naclerio picked-up the loose puck and quickly deposited it past Nichols before the Huskies could recover, providing the game-winner, unassisted.
Both teams finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play with the Huskies now without a power play goal in their last 18 chances, dating back to their 4-4 tie at Boston University (Nov. 8th).
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period with Brown controlling the action early, outshooting UConn 9-0 over the first 14 minutes of play. The Huskies registered their first shot on goal just under six minutes to go but finished the period with just three shots on goal to Brown’s 14.
Brown threatened on their third power play of the game, as Naclerio took the puck from behind the goal and got to the front of the net but was stopped point blank by Nichols. Just before the power play ended, Nick Lappin unleashed a wicked slap shot from the point that Nichols turned away to keep the game scoreless.
UConn’s best scoring chance of the night came shorthanded after Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) was called for boarding at 16:49. Brown fired a shot from the blue line on the right wing where junior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) was able to hit the ice and deflect the shot. The loose puck came back to Kirtland as he shook free for a break-away but saw his shot just missed wide left.
The Huskies got a 5-on-3 chance at the end of the second period, extending into the third, but came up empty. UConn got a good luck at the game’s first goal at 13:30 as Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) split a pair of defenders to get to the front of the net but stopped on the door step by Ernst.
After Naclerio’s goal, freshman Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario) nearly tied the game with a deflection off a Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) slap shot, but Ernst made his toughest save of the night, getting his right pad on the puck as he was moving to his left to keep the game at 1-0.
UConn pulled Nichols in the closing minute for the extra skater but struggled to keep the puck in the zone as the Brown defense put the clamps on to seal the win.
The shutout loss was the second for the Huskies this season (2-0 vs. Sacred Heart) and drops UConn to 2-4 in one goal games this season.
The Huskies will get back to Hockey East action on Wednesday night when they head to UMass Lowell. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 pm.
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