Even though Union won a second straight ECAC Hockey regular-season title last year, there was one thing missing — earning points against Brown.
The Bears were the only team that won two league games from the Dutchmen last season. And earlier this year, the Bears rallied from a 3-1 deficit to earn a 3-3 tie against the Dutchmen. Goalie Anthony Borelli replaced starter Marco DeFilippo in that game and stopped all 16 shots he faced.
Union didn’t want that to happen again.
Thanks to goals from Max Novak and Kyle Bodie and 24 saves by goalie Troy Grosenick, the Dutchmen downed the Bears, 2-0, Saturday before a sellout crowd of 2,082 at Messa Rink.
It was the first win for Union (8-6-4 ECACH, 15-10-5 overall) against Brown (5-8-5, 9-11-5) since a 4-2 victory Jan. 29, 2011. Combined with its 4-2 win over Yale on Friday, it was Union’s first weekend sweep since taking two from Penn State Nov. 24-25, and the first league weekend sweep since opening the season with a pair of wins over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Nov. 2-3.
“It feels good to finally get a win on them,” said Novak, who scored a goal for the second straight night. “The two losses and this year with tie [and] them coming back late, it feels good to get two points against them.”
The Dutchmen moved into the top four of the ECACH standings. They are tied for third with St. Lawrence, a point behind second-place RPI. There are four games left in the regular season.
It was a big bounce-back weekend for the Dutchmen after getting swept last week at Clarkson and St. Lawrence.
“Troy Grosenick set the tone with his work ethic and his refusal to just accept what had happened to him and the team,” Union coach Rick Bennett said. “We fed off that. His work with [assistant coach]
Jason Tapp was exceptional. It’s just a by-product of how you practice is how you’re going to play.”
Grosenick, who was pulled from both starts last weekend, followed up his 37-save performance against Yale by stopping 24 Brown shots. He was at his best late in the second period, when, in a 16-second stretch, he made two pads saves on Nick Lappin down low, and then made a rapier-like glove save on a Matt Lorito drive from the left circle.
“The guys did a real good job on letting me see the puck,” said Grosenick, who earned his first shutout of the season. “It’s a game of ebb and flow. Obviously, they’re going to have a couple of really good chances throughout the game. They seemed to get it going at the last five minutes of that second period. But the ‘D’ did a great job of making sure that there weren’t any rebound opportunities, and clearing out guys and letting me see the puck.”
Asked if this was a big weekend for him after what happened last weekend, Grosenick said, “I don’t know if it’s redemption. It’s all part of being a goalie. Sometimes, you’re not going to have it, for whatever reason. That kind of happened last weekend. You just move on from it.”
As they did against Yale, the Dutchmen continued to stick to the process of firing pucks on net. They had a season-high 48 shots on goal against the Bears, and finished with 90 for the weekend.
However, Borelli continued to shut out the Dutchmen for nearly 11⁄2 periods.
“He’s been fabulous,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “[If] it wasn’t for him, that would have been not a good result.”
The Dutchmen finally solved Borelli with 10:30 left in the second period on a classic give-and-go.
Novak came down the left wing and sent a pass to Kevin Sullivan behind the goal line. As Novak was going to the net, Sullivan sent the puck back to Novak, who fired it over Borelli’s glove.
“It all started with the good forecheck by [Matt] Hatch,” Novak said. “He forced the guy to wrap it around. I was able to pick it up and give it to ‘Sully,’ and he gave me a good pass and I got a pretty good piece of it.”
“It was a pretty great shot by Max,” Sullivan said. “We started sweeping on our forecheck. ‘Novs’ passed it right down to me, and made a very simple play. I made an easy pass to him, and he had a great shot.”
Bodie sealed the win on an empty-net goal with 18.1 seconds left.
“We stuck with it, and the guys were rewarded for sticking with it,” Bennett said. “We’ve been in this situation before. It’s [not] like we haven’t been 0-0 with teams going into the second period. It was kind of old hat, so we’re used to it. If you’re used to something, you’re pretty comfortable with it. Last night, with what they saw, really helped tonight by sticking to the process.”
This was the first time in the 44-game series that Union has shut out Brown. The Bears have posted three shutouts against the Dutchmen. . . .
After taking eight penalties against Yale on Friday, the Dutchmen had just one against Brown. . . .
Union plays its final road games of the regular season next weekend at Colgate and Cornell.
Brown 0 0 0 — 0
Union 0 1 1 — 2
First Period — None. Penalties — None.
Second Period — 1, Union, Novak 6 (Sullivan), 9:30. Penalties — Crowley, Bro (holding), 1:07; Roy, Uni (holding stick), 2:56; Brown bench, served by Lappin (too many men), 4:21.
Third Period — 2, Union, K. Bodie 7 (Ciampini), 19:41 (en). Penalty — Ryan, Bro (goalie interference), 4:47.
Shots on Goal — Brown 5-8-11 — 24. Union 13-18-17 — 48.
Power-play opportunities — Brown 0 of 1; Union 0 of 3.
Goalies — Brown, Borelli 7-6-4 (47 shots-46 saves). Union, Grosenick 11-7-5 (24-24).
A — 2,082. T — 2:10.
Referees — Chris Cozzan, Tom Steinel Jr. Linesmen — Leo Boylan, Dan Taggart.