October 30, 2003
Brown Gets Down to Business

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECAC Notebook

This week's schedule
National TV Schedule

Atlantic Hockey/CHA Notebook
CCHA Notebook
Hockey East Notebook
WCHA Notebook

The burden on the Brown Bears for the 2003-04 season is to prove that last season's success wasn't a one-year occurrence, but rather an indication that their progress over the last few years will continue.

The Bears posted six wins in 1999-2000 season, and slipped to an alarming total of just four wins the following year. Fortunes started to turn in the 2001-02 campaign with a 10-10-2 league record and a spot in the ECAC Playoffs. Last year, the Bears finished fifth in the regular season, with a winning record, and advanced to the league championship weekend in Albany. A 2-0 semifinal loss to Cornell and a 4-2 loss to Dartmouth in the consolation game left the Bears with a sour taste in their mouths after a very good regular season campaign.

"Last year was a lot of fun, it was great, but there were disappointments as well. We want to get back up there and finish some unfinished business, so to speak," coach Roger Grillo said.

Brown takes its first business trip this weekend, with a Saturday night opener at Harvard. It's the first game of the season for both schools, though both have been active in preseason tune-ups. The Bears started things with an intrasquad game, then scrimmaged against Bentley, and finished with a 4-0 win over Trois-Rivieres on Sunday.

The best part of the preseason stretch in Grillo's mind was that his team raised its intensity and levels of play each time out. He knows that up-and-down performances are a recipe for disaster once the ECAC schedule begins.

"It's imperative that we come out ready to play every night. There's a fine line between first and seventh in this league so we'll have to stay on top of our game," Grillo said.

Five freshmen have already started to make an impact for Brown, in what many consider to be the program's best recruiting class in years. Four forwards with different characteristics and abilities will see plenty of ice time this year and join defenseman Dylan Row (more on him later). Of the four forwards, Brian Ihnacak from Toronto is probably the most heralded. Fellow rookies Antonin Roux and Steve Sigaty picked up goals in the win over Trois-Rivieres, and Sean Dersch finished with a plus-1 rating.


Last Chance – On Thursday, the NCAA Division III Presidents Council convened in Indianapolis. This get together was the final opportunity to prevent a vote on the proposal that would prohibit Division I athletic teams at primarily Division III institutions from offering athletic scholarships.

The news about this proposal going to a vote in January wasn't much of a surprise. The writing was on the wall. Actually, it was on the official NCAA Division III Presidents Council agendas and supplements found at the NCAA's internet home.

According to the Presidents Council's meeting agenda and supplement No. 14, the Management Council's recommendation underneath an item titled "Division III Membership - Multidivision Classification - Awarding of Athletics Aid" states:

"Review the intent and deny the request for withdrawal of the proposal as requested by affected institutions. The Council reviewed background, including significant feedback, and rationale, noting its commitment and a desire for a membership vote."

Here's a quick translation. The Management Council is saying, "Yes, we've heard the complaints from fans, coaches, and athletic directors. But we still like our proposal and we think it should at least go to the voters."

The Presidents Council agreed.

The Division I men's ice hockey teams at St. Lawrence, Clarkson, and Rensselaer, along with Colorado College of the WCHA, are facing the threat of having their privilege of offering athletic scholarships taken away beginning in 2008. The hockey programs at these schools are unique in the fact that they are Division I programs in an athletic department that competes at Division III in the majority of its other sports.

For a more in-depth look at Thursday's events, check out my colleague Nate Ewell's article.

Westward Ho – This is the last full weekend of non-conference play for the ECAC, and four conference teams are loading up the wagons and heading west. Clarkson (at Bemidji State) and Union (at Bowling Green) already made successful trips. Each earned a win and a tie on the road.

This weekend, St. Lawrence and Vermont will visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula, while Princeton and Yale will go head-to-head with two of the WCHA's best teams.

The Saints travel to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., for a Friday-Saturday set against the Lake Superior State Lakers. Perhaps this CCHA opponent will get St. Lawrence back on track. The Saints' only win of the year came against LSSU's league compatriot Miami. More good news from for St. Lawrence if you like to play the 'We beat the team that beat that team' game. Miami just swept a pair of games from the Lakers last weekend.

Vermont is sick and tired of playing against the best teams in Hockey East. To remedy that problem, the Catamounts are heading out to Houghton, Mich., for a pair of games against Michigan Tech. Both teams have new coaches at the helm and are in the process of trying to return to the top of their respective leagues. New Michigan Tech head man Jamie Russell is familiar with the Catamounts, as he spent the last four seasons as an assistant at Cornell. At Vermont, Kevin Sneddon wasn't happy with his team's work ethic in Sunday's exhibition loss to St. Francis Xavier, and vowed to test his team this week. "I don't like laziness, and there was laziness on our bench tonight, and that doesn't sit too well with me. I'm disappointed in a few guys we needed to perform well for us. Tuesday is going to be a pretty hard practice, and we'll know after Tuesday who wants to make the trip."

Princeton starts its season at St. Cloud State, a team that's been in the NCAA Tournament four straight years. Four in row? Big deal, you say? Only Maine and Michigan can match that streak. This year could be trip number five for the Huskies. St. Cloud is off to a 3-0-1 start and is 17th in the latest INCH Power Rankings. Princeton won its exhibition game against the University of Guelph 6-4. Hyphen-power helped-get the-Tigers the-win. Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer scored three goals and Grant Goeckner-Zoeller added two goals. Princeton trailed 3-0 just six minutes into the contest.

Finally, the Yale era sans Chris Higgins begins at college hockey's palace in Grand Forks, N.D. The Bulldogs visit North Dakota, this week's No. 1 team in the INCH Power Rankings. Yale also lost Evan Wax and Nick Deschenes to graduation. Veteran coach Tim Taylor has stated from the outset that no single person can replace a player like Higgins. So, the onus is on a whole group of players to raise their level of play just a little bit. That philosophy seemed to work in Yale's exhibition game against the University of Guelph on Sunday afternoon. Six different Yale players lit the lamp in an 8-3 win. Senior Ryan Steeves, the team's leading returning scorer, and sophomore Jeff Hristovski had two goals each.

Great Weekend Getaway
120x60 - Brand Red

Brown at Harvard (Sat.)
The lid-lifter on the conference schedule is a treat. The trick will be getting a good seat at the Bright Center for Brown's visit to Harvard. Saturday night's contest is the official season-opener for both Ivy League schools, and it's the fifth straight season that these travel partners have squared off against one another to start the campaign. Brown won last year's game 4-0 to kick-start a three-game winning streak.

While you're there: Saturday's weather forecast in Cambridge calls for sunny skies and a high of 72 degrees. Take advantage by checking out the Crimson's football team, ranked 16th in Division I-AA, against Dartmouth. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. This is the 100th Anniversary of the venerable Harvard Stadium, and a halftime ceremony will recognize the stadium as a National Historic Landmark.

Stick Salute

Of course, it was against Army, but a win is a win, especially when you're in search of your first victory of the season. Rensselaer freshman Tommy Green had two goals in the Engineers' 6-0 win on Saturday. The 5-foot-11 rookie from Martensville, Saskatchewan couldn't have picked a better time to get his first two collegiate goals.

Bench Minors

Here's how not to make a case for the starting goaltending spot. Princeton junior goalie Trevor Clay got the nod from coach Len Quesnelle to start the team's exhibition game against Guelph. After 6:31 had been played, the Gryphons had five shots on goal. Two were stopped. Three were not. Clay was yanked in favor of sophomore Eric Leroux, who made 14 saves as Princeton rallied to win. Exhibition stats don't count. If they did, Clay would be sporting a save percentage of 40, with a 27.62 goals-against average.

What's the big deal X-Men? St. Francis Xavier must not have read the memo from NCAA schools that these early-season exhibition games are feel-good affairs for the fans and a momentum-builder for the regular season. The X-Men have come to the States and beaten UMass, Dartmouth, and Vermont.

Dylan v. Dylan – Saturday's big game between Harvard and Brown features two of the ECAC's best freshmen defensemen, and both are named Dylan.

Dylan Row joins the Brown Bears after prepping at Shattuck-St. Mary's. The 5-foot-11 blueliner made an impact for Roger Grillo's squad with assists on the first two goals in the exhibition win over Trois-Rivieres. "Dylan's a solid defenseman who has some offensive skill and skates well," Grillo said. "I've been very impressed so far with how quickly he's making the adjustment to the college game."

On the other side, Harvard defenseman Ryan Lannon will be forced to sit this one out. He's serving a one-game suspension resulting from his disqualification penalty in last season's NCAA Tournament loss to Boston University. Lannon's departure means that heralded blueline recruit Dylan Reese will get a regular shift, potentially on a dynamic pairing with junior All-American Noah Welch. Those two were partnered at times during the game against Guelph.


• Those who say that Union's 4-0-1 start reflects more on its schedule than its ability will get a chance to see exactly what the Dutchmen are capable of, as Union visits New Hampshire for a Friday night game at the Whittemore Center. Union and UNH share one common opponent to date this season – Niagara – one of those 'weak' opponents that Union has fattened its record against. Those are the same Purple Eagles that beat UNH last weekend.

• The Cornell Big Red showed off some big offense in their exhibition against the US Under-18 National Team. Cornell entertained the Lynah Faithful with a seven-goal barrage in a 7-2 win. Last year, the Big Red scored seven or more just three times. They hung a pair of snowmen on Vermont, and won the exhibition game against York 9-1. Burly winger Matt Moulson (or is that barley winger?) scored two goals and added an assist.

Harvard's statistical domination against Guelph was impressive. The Crimson outshot their Canadian opponents 58-7, and eight different Harvard players had the goals in an 8-0 win. Especially impressive was that this was done without regular forwards Rob Fried and Tim Pettit, who missed the game with minor injuries. Pettit will return to the lineup for Saturday's game against Brown, while Fried has returned to practice but is still working his way back to full health. He will not play against Brown.

St. Lawrence and Lake Superior State played in the 1988 NCAA Championship game. My, my, how things change in 15 years.

• Chris Blight, a junior right wing at Clarkson, earned ECAC Player of the Week honors after posting two goals and two assists as the Golden Knights held strong against Colorado College, losing 3-2 on Friday before earning a 4-4 tie on Saturday. Things should get easier this weekend when Clarkson entertains Findlay and Sacred Heart.

Colgate recharged its batteries during an off-week, and will get back into the competitive mode on Saturday night by welcoming Findlay to Starr Rink.

Dartmouth didn't have much fun last weekend, starting with a 6-3 exhibition game loss to St. Frances Xavier. On Sunday, the Big Green welcomed league rival Harvard to Thompson Arena for a scrimmage, which the Crimson won 4-1. Dartmouth starts its season Saturday night against Holy Cross.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

Send this to a friend

About Us | Advertiser Info | Site Map | Privacy Policy
© 2003 Inside College Hockey, Inc., All Rights Reserved