Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Know Your Enemy: Brown

New coaches frequently bring with them new expectations, though you could be forgiven for thinking that a new coach at Brown wasn't going to be bringing anything new to Meehan Auditorium. Brendan Whittet is, however, starting to make a name for himself in the ECAC even if the results on the ice have been a little less than what he'd like to see up to this point.

Nickname: Bears
Location: Providence, RI
Founded: 1764
Conference: ECAC (Ivy League)
National Championships: 0
Last NCAA Appearance: 1993
Last Frozen Four: 1976
Coach: Brendan Whittet (3rd season)
2010-11 Record: 10-16-5 (8-12-2 ECAC, 9th place)
Series: RPI leads, 53-22-6
First Game: December 28, 1951 (Troy, NY)
Last RPI win: January 28, 2011 (Troy, NY)
Last Brown win: March 7, 2010 (Troy, NY)

2011-12 games: November 12, 2011 (Troy, NY); January 20, 2012 (Providence, RI)

Key players: D Jeff Buvinow, sr.; G Mike Clemente, sr.; F Bobby Farnham, sr.; F Jack Maclellan, sr.; F Chris Zaires, jr.; F Garnet Hathaway, so.; F Mark Hourihan, so.; D Dennis Robertson, so.; D Matt Wahl, so.; D Joey DeConcilys, fr.; F Matt Harlow, fr.; F Massimo Lamacchia, fr.; F Matt Lorito, fr.; D Taki Pantziris, fr.

Key losses: F Harry Zolnierczyk, F Jesse Fratkin, F David Brownschidle, D Jeremy Russell

Previous KYE installment:
For Brown, a lot of what was successful in 2009-10 was also fairly successful in 2010-11. The Bears had a tough schedule to fight through, and they did a fairly decent job of it early on before they faltered late. Much as they did in the season in which they upset RPI and Yale on their way to a third-place finish in the ECAC tournament, the Bears relied on scoring early and holding leads in order to be successful, but their offense and defense, overall, wasn't overly superb.

Payback was a... well, it wasn't sweet for Brown last year, that's for sure, as the Engineers swept the season series with a combined goal tally of 9-2. RPI knew better than to let the Bears hang around and they jumped on them early in both games.

Zolnierczyk, in addition to being the team's agitator-in-chief (128 PIM in 30 games), was also the team's leading scorer. Fratkin and Brownschidle were important role players, but both should have others that can step in and take their place (like Zaires and Farnham). Maclellan will certainly be the focal point for opposing defenses this season, as he is the only solidly proven goalscorer the Bears have left. Zolnierczyk and Maclellan combined for 30 of Brown's 84 goals all by themselves, and were the only two reach double digits.

Clemente's numbers last year were, as in his first two years, fairly pedestrian. Brown does boast one of the best defensemen in the league in Jeff Buvinow, but he's only one man.

However, things are looking up. Robertson, Hathaway, and Wahl all had very solid freshman campaigns individually, and Whittet brings in this year one of the better overall classes in the ECAC. The incoming class includes a number of players who could well be able to make a difference not only this year, but in years to come, bringing up the profile of Brown hockey.

The Bears still aren't quite reaching up into the upper echelons of the ECAC - they're likely to be in the bottom half of the league again - but much as with RPI a few seasons back, the groundwork is pretty clearly being laid for what could be a talented team in the coming years.

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