PROVIDENCE, R.I. — In a battle of the cellar teams in the ECAC, three third period goals was the difference today, as Colgate topped Brown 4-1 on the road.
Senior forward Kevin Johns tallied the game-winner 6:44 into the third to lift the Red Raiders to a much needed win.
“We got some big efforts out of our older guys tonight,” Colgate head coach Don Vaughan said. “Kevin played one of the best games of his career. This was a much-needed win.”
Johns’ goal came off a one-timer in the slot, pass courtesy of senior forward Sean Nolan. Johns fired it past Brown’s Brian Eklund to make it 2-1 in favor of the Red Raiders.
“I had just gotten off the bench,” Johns said. “It was a perfect pass from Sean. The puck seemed to be finding the cage in the third. We needed it.”
As opposed to last night, Colgate was able to bury the puck when the chances came along. The Bears were battling back hard late in the third, but a five minute checking from behind penalty put them away for the night. During the five-minute power play Colgate tallied twice, thanks in large part to a very aggressive Brown penalty kill, which was looking for that game-tying goal.
First, it was Mike O’Malley who made it 3-1. O’Malley beat a Brown defender by the boards and went on to find the net, going high glove side. A minute and a half later, Nolan made another pretty pass, this time to sophomore P.J. Yedon. Yedon converted on the goal mouth pass to finish the scoring.
“I thought we were flat tonight,” Brown head coach Roger Grillo said. “We had chances to go up a goal or more, but didn’t get it done. We just lost that jump in our skates we had for a while.”
It was Brown that opened up the scoring on the power play, just 3:40 into the game. Sophomore defenseman Paul Esdale deflected shot a shot from junior Josh Barker at the point, which slipped by Colgate’s netminder, David Cann.
After that, the freshman Cann was not bested again. He made 24 saves on the night, many of them coming in huge spots.
“David came up with a big game for us in net,” Vaughan said. “We haven’t had a whole lot of little breaks lately. We’ve worked hard, and things haven’t gone right. But there’s a lot of hockey left to play.”
Another deflected shot evened it up for Colgate. A fluttery shot, originating from the stick of Bryan Long at the left point, was deflected by freshman Paul Kelley past Eklund.
The second went scoreless, with Brown having the edge in shots at 10 to 9. Eklund stopped a breakaway opportunity for the Red Raiders, while Cann matched him with several fine saves at the other end.
“We’ve been in a lot of close games this year,” Vaughan said. “I think we’ve lost about nine games by just one goal. Tonight we just tried to loosen it up.”
Going into the third knotted at one, it was certainly the Red Raiders who came out with that extra burst in the third frame. They came into the game leading Brown by just a point in the standings, and with the win extended the lead over last-place Brown to three.
“The good stuff came for us tonight,” Johns said. “Our backs were against the wall, and we responded.”
“There was something missing tonight,” Grillo said. “That penalty came at a bad time for us. You have to live with it.”