CRANBERRY TWP., Pa. — The Brown University Bears shook off a sluggish start on Friday night at the UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex and scored four consecutive goals during an inspired second period en route to a 7-4 victory over the Robert Morris Colonials. The win gave the Bears a date in the championship game of the seventh annual Three Rivers Classic. Their opponent: the No. 14 Union Dutchmen who upset No. 1 St. Cloud State 7-2 earlier in the day.
It was scoring by committee for the Bears, amassing a season high seven goals on the night- each one produced by a different player.
The Colonials were the more prepared side in the opening twenty minutes as they tilted the ice and dominated play, building an early 2-0 lead. However, the tables completely turned on them in the middle stanza.
“They outworked us and out competed us, beat us to pucks and had more jam in that first period,” Brown head coach Brendan Whitted said. “I gave our guys credit. It’s really hard to flip the switch on when it’s off and it was off for the first twenty minutes for us. I challenged our guys as we headed into the second and we played more of our game in terms of our compete and our speed and physicality.”
Meanwhile, Brown’s special teams proved to be special indeed, as they managed two power play goals and a shorthanded tally in the win, while they out shot the Colonials 38-26.
“We were really good in the first period,” Colonial head coach Derek Schooley said. “We played with a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of heart. They came out and took it to us. We battled, we competed and we didn’t quit but at the end of the day we just dug ourselves too deep a hole in the second period.
HEBERT MAKES PRESENCE FELT
Freshman Grant Hebert made a statement and then some, anchoring the Colonial attack with a four point night (3G, 1A) including the two tallies in the first period that gave Robert Morris a 2-0 lead. His third goal pulled the Colonials back into the game briefly and later added an assist on defenseman Eric Israel’s late goal. For Hebert, it was a semi-rewarding experience in his first multi-point game of his Colonial career. After finally working through injuries and adjustments in the first half of the season, the feeling was blunted by the loss.
“It was an adjustment period in the first bit of the season,” Hebert said. “And with the points tonight it helps, but the team comes first. It was tough seeing us giving up seven goals and losing tonight. They outworked us and we really had no answer for that and we should have.”
BEARS TURN TIDE
After an opening 20 minutes that saw them get out shot by a 15-4 margin, Brown might have considered themselves sufficiently poked. Even strength markers from Joachim Weberg and Tommy Marchin knotted the score at two goals apiece less than three minutes into the second period. Max Gottlieb put the Bears in the lead with a power-play tally less than five minutes later, and Alec Mehr scored the goal of the night to put the Bears ahead by two. Mehr displayed high level moves and patience on a shorthanded breakaway at 17:45 of the middle frame to beat Marotte. The Colonials had no answer until Hebert’s third goal at 4:38 of the third- one in which the Bears answered quickly.
“We’re still a young team,” Schooley said. “We still have to keep our focus for 60 minutes. Right now we’re a 35-40 minute team. You saw a glimpse of what we could to tonight.”
The Colonials will take part in the consolation game on Saturday night at 5 PM while the Brown battles Union for the Confluence Cup. Faceoff is tentatively set for 8 PM at PPG Paints Arena.