PROVIDENCE, R.I.—Though Harvard managed less than half as many shots as Brown last night in Providence, two early goals were enough.
The Crimson (7-19-1, 5-14-1 ECAC) found the net twice in the first period, and a strong showing in goal from senior Ryan Carroll allowed the team to take down the Bears (8-14-5, 6-12-2). The win gives the team a chance to improve its standing next weekend for the upcoming ECAC playoffs.
The two teams combined for 14 penalties in the game, including eight in the second period. Harvard was able to capitalize on its power play chances in the first period, going two-for-three in the opening frame.
Sophomore forward Conor Morrison netted the game’s first goal, finding a crease to his left behind the goalie after a pass across the net.
The second goal, also on the power play, came with just under three minutes left in the first period. Sophomore defenseman Danny Biega fired a shot from in front of the blue line to push the game to 2-0.
Junior forward Alex Killorn looked to have tipped the puck as it went into the net, and was originally credited with the goal. After video review, it was determined that the puck actually deflected off of a Brown defender and into the net. Biega was credited with the goal during the first intermission, and it is his fourth in his last five games.
“[Biega] is really starting to blossom as a player,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “Since Christmas, he’s really elevated his game, along with others. That’s been a real key component to our better play as of late.”
Despite outshooting the Crimson 41 to 20, Brown had trouble finding the back of the net. The team squandered a number of potential chances for a power play with penalties of their own, and the Bears were zero-for-four with the one-man advantage.
Brown had a number of chances late in the game, particularly in the third period. The Bears outshot Harvard by a margin of 20 to one in the last 20 minutes, but could register just one score, at 8:08 off of a mid-rink steal.
“We were just being real aggressive, blocking shots,” Carroll said. “They didn’t get any opportunities from anywhere in close.”
There were a number of close calls—one shot went off the post, and Brown missed a number of potential scoring chances with passes in front of the net. The Bears pulled their goalie with a little more than a minute left to play, and the team had a number of near-misses in the last 90 seconds.
“[Carroll has] done a great job controlling his rebounds, and he’s very calm in there,” Donato said. “He’s done a great job with making sure that a lot of their opportunities are one shot and out, not getting multiple chances.”
The game is also the Crimson’s third in the last four days. The team played on the road over the weekend against Colgate and Cornell.
Harvard plays more weekday games than other collegiate hockey teams, but the team’s recent schedule is still unusually packed.
“Three games in four nights is tough, but I think even more is the travel. There was a lot of snow Saturday post-game coming out of Colgate,” Donato said. “We didn’t get in until almost 4:30 or 5:00 in the morning. It was a quick turnaround, but I thought our guys really came out strong today.”
The ECAC rivalry was tense at moments, and Donato attributes the aggression to Brown’s “in-your-face style.” Referees had to intervene in a number of different skirmishes, including a brief multi-player confrontation after the final buzzer.
“[Brown’s aggression] doesn’t really affect our game play, but we’re more weary of it,” Carroll said. “They come hard, and we were ready for it.”
Despite the strong offensive showing on the part of the Bears late in the game, Brown could not capitalize on the Crimson’s apparent fatigue, and Harvard’s play around its net allowed the team’s two first-period goals to hold. Carroll controlled most of shots, and the defense cleared its rebounds effectively.
“For the first two periods, we executed pretty well and the power play…was very solid,” Donato said. “We knew this one was going to be a tough game, and it was, but it’s a good sign that we had enough to get the victory.”
—Staff writer E. Benjamin Samuels can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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