PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Things didn’t look so great for Brown sophomore goalie Yann Danis just 14 seconds into the first period. A Dartmouth dump-in attempt took a funny bounce, giving Kent Gillings and Mike Murray an early break at the net, which Murray slipped under a surprised Danis’ pads to make it 1-0 for the Big Green.
But Brown and Danis didn’t panic. The Bears offense responded with three first-period goals, two of which were on the power play, and Danis slammed the door shut for the next 59:46, making 31 saves for the game and a big 3-1 home win over Dartmouth.
“You always get a little shaky when they score that early on you,” Danis said. “But we settled down and got some offense.”
The Bears reacted exactly the way a coach would want his guys to after taking an early hit. Just about three minutes later, they tied it on the power play. Seven minutes after that, Brown took the lead and never looked back.
“I felt really good about the way we responded to that goal,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “This is a big win for us. The only disappointment was when we got up 3-1. After they called the timeout we just sat back for the rest of the period.”
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet got what he wanted out of calling his timeout with around five minutes left in the first. The Big Green played a much more solid game from then on, but couldn’t ever get that second goal past Danis.
“When you score a goal that early it’s inconsequential,” said Gaudet, the former head coach at Brown. “They’re a good team and deserved to win tonight. We worked our butts off but just didn’t get the goals. Our guys couldn’t penetrate their [defense] much and their goalie made some good saves.”
Brown’s quick forwards played a tough game, especially down low in the Dartmouth zone, giving their defense trouble all game. But Dartmouth’s Nick Boucher made 27 saves in net, including many in the third, keeping his team within reach.
Yet Boucher was no match for Danis, who made several dazzling saves in the third, especially late with the Big Green cage empty for an extra skater. Dartmouth forward Mike Maturo, who has 15 career points against Brown, was stymied time and time again by Danis.
It was junior forward Keith Kirley who got the Bears even at 1-1 on the power play early in the first. After the Big Green took one of its many first period penalties, mostly for chippy play or obstruction, Brown’s second power play unit found the cage.
Sophomore defenseman Vince Macri, who had two assists on the night, fired a shot from the right point, which Boucher stopped. The rebound — unfortunately for him — went in the direction of Kirley, a force for the Bears all night, who fired it into the open net.
Brown sophomore forward Brent Robinson got the game winner on the power play later on. Again, with the second power-play unit out there, Robinson walked in from the right side and snapped a fluttering shot over Boucher’s blocker for the eventual game winner, which made the score 2-1.
Three minutes later, Brown’s speedy forward Chris Legg got himself in all alone for the third goal. Legg buried it for the 3-1 lead, which was followed by Dartmouth’s timeout. Robinson also earned an assist on the play.
Thereafter, the Brown offense, which was creating chances all throughout the first, cooled down a bit. But their three first period goals were plenty for Danis, who stopped 58 of 62 shots last weekend in two losses. Brown scored just once last Friday and Saturday.
“The guys in front of me played really well tonight,” said Danis, who is having a breakout season. “I was seeing the puck well all night. My guys did a good job, especially on the penalty kill, to let me see their shots.”
Brown looks to regain its offense tomorrow night when it hosts Vermont. Last time the Bears faced the Catamounts, they scored a season-high goal total in a 5-1 win. Dartmouth heads home now, with the rest of the weekend off and six league games left in the season.