PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The No. 9 Cornell Big Red rebounded from Friday’s loss at Harvard with a strong 4-1 win over Brown. Forward Ryan Vesce got the game winner, breaking a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal in the second.
The pivotal second period was largely controlled by the Big Red, who outshot Brown 15-5 in the period and 35-20 overall. Vesce, at a little past the midway point of the second, was dragged down on a breakaway, drawing the penalty.
The Cornell power play, which went 2-for-6 on the night, responded promptly to put the Big Red on top 2-1. After Sam Paolini found Vesce on the left side of the slot, Vesce fired a quick shot which beat Brown’s Brian Eklund high on the stick side.
The Big Red defense was strong all night, keeping the Bears at a distance from freshman goaltender David LeNevue, who made the second start of his career.
Down 2-1 early in the third, the Bears had hope of evening it up when Cornell’s Doug Murray took a five-minute major penalty, but the five minutes ran out quickly on Brown. Defenseman Paul Esdale hit a post, but for the most part Cornell did not give the Bears time to set up for their long power play.
Stephen Baby added an insurance goal on the power play with under five minutes to go in the game to make it 3-1. Paolini’s empty netter was his third point of the night, and capped the scoring at 4-1.
The Big Red took a one-goal lead into the third last night at Harvard but failed to earn any points. Saturday, with a highly disciplined defense and continued aggression in the Brown end, Cornell salvaged two points for the road trip.
“Last night we handled our lead tentatively,” said Cornell head coach Mike Schafer. “Tonight was the opposite. We came right at them. I think we learned a lesson tonight.”
The Big Red jumped on top late in the first. David Kozier tipped a shot from the point by Eklund to make it 1-0.
Brown captain Josh Barker, the team’s top defenseman out the first few games with an injury, got the Bears on the board with a shot that beat LeNevue glove side to make it 1-1 after one. After that late first-period goal LeNevue shut the door for the win.
“David [LeNevue] has deserved to play,” Schafer said. “He’ll continue to get chances even when Matt [Underhill] is playing well. You can’t let young, talented players sit on the bench.”
Next week Brown travels to Maine on Wednesday and has the Thanksgiving weekend off. Cornell travels to Boston University for a two-game set.
“It’s a tough way to start off at home,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “I thought we played well, though. We bounced back from a frustrating game last night. They’re just a difficult team to get things going against.”