Entering the weekend, the men’s ice hockey team had focused on tightening up in its own zone, but defensive lapses allowed Brown and Harvard to combine for 10 goals in two games.
In its first conference away games, the Elis (1-5-0, 1-3-0 ECAC) could not capitalize on their offensive opportunities. Bears goaltender Yann Danis set a new Brown (4-1-0, 4-1-0) record with his 10th career shutout Friday night in a 6-0 win. On Saturday night, the nationally ranked No. 12 Crimson (2-2-1, 2-2-1) jumped out to a 4-0 lead that Yale could not recover from, and the Bulldogs eventually lost 4-1.
“It was another tough weekend for us,” defenseman Joe Callahan ’05 said. “Our team’s in a tough spot. Every time we make a little mistake, we let the other team capitalize.”
At Meehan Auditorium in Providence, R.I., the Yale defense gave up 39 shots to the Bears, including 25 in the first period, with goalie Matt Modelski ’07 stopping 33 of them.
Bears forward Nick Ringstand got Brown on the board early, knocking in a rebound off of a Gerry Burke shot from the left point, just 2:08 into the game.
“[We need to] keep on working on blocking shots [and] keep on working on blocking out guys in front of our net,” forward Christian Jensen ’06 said.
The Elis dug themselves into a deep hole in the middle of the period when they were called for two penalties on one play, resulting in a two-minute five-on-three advantage for the ECAC-leading Bears.
After Modelski faced a barrage of shots, Brian Ihnacak was able to put home a rebound to give the Bears a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
“We definitely have to focus on special teams,” captain Vin Hellemeyer ’04 said. “It’s so key in our league.”
The Elis slowed Brown down for most of the second period, playing tighter defense and keeping the Bear snipers at bay, but with just over five minutes left in the frame, forward Chris Swon beat Modelski with a snap shot from between the face-off circles.
Brown built momentum on Swon’s goal in third period, scoring three times in the game’s final 20 minutes.
The six goals equaled Brown’s offensive output in its first four games of the season.
In net, Danis handled everything the Bulldogs fired at him, earning the Brown record and his second consecutive shutout over Yale, dating back to last March’s Game Three playoff victory.
On Saturday night at the Bright Center in Cambridge, Mass., the Bulldogs hung in with the Crimson for most of the game, outplaying them in the third frame, but three Cantab goals in the span of three and a half minutes during the second period put the Elis away for good.
“It’s just mental lapses, lapses in concentration, lapses in effort,” Jensen said. “That’s our problem, lapses in consistency.”
Members of Harvard’s top line — Tim Petit, Dennis Packard, and Tom Cavanagh — each notched a goal and an assist to lead the Crimson.
The Cantabs first got on the board at 2:55 of the first period on a shorthanded goal.
After Harvard cleared the puck into Yale’s zone, goalie Josh Gartner ’06 came out to play the puck, but Packard blocked his clearing attempt. Packard got control of the puck and caught Gartner out of position, putting the puck into the net.
In the third period, Yale played its best hockey of the season.
“Coming into the locker room after the second period, a lot of guys were frustrated,” Hellemeyer said. “Each game is so important to make the playoffs and do well in the playoffs.”
Physical play picked up as well, with the teams combining for seven penalties in the final 20 minutes, four of which were roughing penalties.
“There are times in the game when it’s not always a bad things to show the other team that we’re not going to put up with getting pushed around,” said Callahan, who took a roughing penalty at 15:03.
Physicality helped the Elis raise their offensive game, as they out-shot the Crimson 9-7 in the period.
Hellemeyer got the Bulldogs their only goal of the weekend, at 1:46 on a wrist shot that beat Harvard goalie Dov Grumet-Morris.
Zach Mayer ’06 cut across the middle of the ice, over the Crimson blue line, fed Hellemeyer, and then drove to the net, taking the defenseman with him. That left Hellemeyer with time in the slot.
Morris finished the game with 25 saves and Gartner finished with 23.
“Overall it was our best game of the season,” Hellemeyer said.
The Elis will return to the friendly confines of Ingalls Rink Nov. 21-22 for games against Dartmouth (2-0-3, 1-0-3) and Vermont (0-7-2, 0-4-0).
“Coach [Taylor] likes to start off with a tough beginning of the year,” Callahan said. “All these games have given us more confidence. We see where we need to be.”
[ydn-legacy-photo-inline id=”18820″ ]