CANTON – Next to the visitor's door leading onto the Appleton Arena ice Brown hung a small school banner.
Hand-written in white were the six schools the Bears already dismantled: Princeton, Cornell, Union, Yale, New Hampshire and Providence.
They're impressive wins, considering Brown had seven losses before coming to Canton. The Bears can now add St. Lawrence to its list of victims after taking advantage of a lackluster SLU effort for a 4-1 ECAC Hockey win on Sunday.
“Brown is a hard-working team,” SLU associate head coach Mike Hurlbut said. “They came into our building and outworked us. It was pretty simple tonight.”
Perhaps giving up a two-goal lead in the third period to Yale and settling for a 3-3 tie the night before took the life out of the Saints. Perhaps the postponement of Friday's game, which was to be played against Brown, coupled with moving from the Best Western University Inn, the St. Lawrence winter-break home, back to their dormitories sapped their energy.
Whatever it was, the Saints did not say. They simply lost for the 12th time this season. The Saints (8-12-3 overall, 4-6-1 ECAC) dropped into a tie for 10th in the conference standings, seven points behind first-place Cornell, which Brown beat, 5-4.
“We can't wait until the third period to get going,” SLU captain Kyle Flanagan said. “Our record is not what we think it could be. We can't take a day off or a game or a period.”
St. Lawrence squandered an early 5-on-3 opportunity with the game still scoreless. That proved a motivator for Brown (7-7-3, 4-4-2), which killed four of the five penalties incurred.
“We came out and I thought we competed much harder for pucks,” Brown coach Brendan Whittet said. “The guys were swarming the net and possessing pucks. If they score on the 5-on-3 the game could be different, but to come out of the first period even at 0-0 and come in here and tell the guys they had to play a little harder was an important part of the game.”
Brown dominated the second period. The Bears outshot the Saints 18-6 six, scored twice and essentially put the game away.
Ryan Jacobson started it with an even-strength goal at 3 minutes, 29 seconds of the second. Then, Chris Zaires netted the game-winner on a power play at 17:16.
Zaires added another score just as one of St. Lawrence six penalties expired at 1:02 of the third to put Brown ahead by three.
“If we're not working hard, we're not going to win,” Zaires said. “We just keep battling, and it was a huge win today.”
St. Lawrence lone goal came via Pat Raley from the blue line on a power play. It was just the second goal of his career.
St. Lawrence has the whole week to prepare for its second conference game against Clarkson on Saturday. The Saints lost to Clarkson, 5-3, in a conference game on Dec. 6 at Appleton Arena. However, St. Lawrence defeated Clarkson, 4-1, in a nonconference game at Lake Placid.
The question remains: Can St. Lawrence find some consistency this season? Hurlbut knows that's what it will take if the Saints are to achieve their preseason goals.
“The teams that win championships every year, nothing gets them down,” Hurlbut said. “They don't get too high or too low; they're machine-like. We're not at that level yet.”