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Men...s Hockey Loses To Bryant, Unbeaten Streak Ends at Nine

By Caitlin Murray
STAFF WRITER

Going into their last home game of the regular season, MIT had been defeated by just two teams in their conference, the Endicott College Gulls and the Bryant University Bulldogs, who beat the Engineers earlier this season.

After trouncing Endicott the week before, the Engineers were ready to take on Bryant and exorcise the ghost of their earlier loss. But in a heartbreaking defeat, the Engineers were shut out 3-0 by the stronger, faster Bulldogs, breaking MIT’s nine game unbeaten streak.

Having scored more than three goals in 15 out of their last 16 games, the Engineers were blanked for the first time this season.

After a late start, the Engineers and the Bulldogs took the ice, accompanied by catcalls from an audience unusually large for a Wednesday night game. Bryant drew an early penalty, giving MIT its first opportunity on a two-minute power play. But in a preview of the rest of their performance to come, the Engineers were unable to capitalize.

The Bulldogs gave them countless chances, drawing five penalties in the first period, including one that resulted in a five-on-three power play. But each one was wasted, as the Bulldogs outstanding line killed penalty after penalty, and the Bulldogs goaltender, CT McClean, stopped every shot.

Three minutes into the period, the Engineers appeared to have scored. The crowd lit up, and the players began to celebrate, but the officials ruled that the puck had been blown dead seconds before it entered the net. That was the closest MIT came to scoring all night.

Five minutes later, Bryant drove into the zone, and after a frenetic scuffle in front of the net, slipped one past MIT’s Thomas A. Hopkins ‘07 in goal.

Bryant’s second goal was one of those picture perfect plays you only see in hockey How To books. Fifteen seconds after the end of MIT’s fifth power play, a Bulldog forward charged into the zone. Flying towards the net, he passed across Hopkins to Jim Ross, who was perfectly positioned to tap the puck into the net, putting the Bulldogs up 2-0.

The second and third periods came and went much like the first. The Bulldogs played more defensively, and the Engineers played more energetically, but it all came to nothing. Bryant managed to kill penalty after penalty, clearing the puck and running out the clock on more than 10 MIT power plays. In the final minutes of the third period, the Bulldogs silenced the crowd and closed the door on an Engineer comeback as Bryant’s Erik Brouillard slipped another shot past Hopkins.

Defenders Nicholas J. Maietta ’07 and Jeremy D. Myers ’08 played aggressively, and fought for every possession, but the MIT offense was lifeless and unimaginative. Despite outshooting the Bulldogs 45 to 33, MIT placed every shot straight on; no fakes, no dekes, and no surprises. Freshmen Nick R. LaBounty and Ryan W. Ballentine, who have been miracle workers for the Engineers this season, were silenced by Bryant’s defense. The Bulldogs out-hustled, outplayed, and outscored the Engineers.

This loss leaves MIT with a record of 9-3-5. Next for MIT are the NorthEast Collegiate Hockey Association Eastern Conference playoffs. The first round will be held tomorrow at the University of Connecticut.