PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown continued on its early season roll, as the Bears breezed past the visiting Vermont Catamounts, 5-0, on Friday night. Junior Yann Danis, with 29 saves, picked up his second straight shutout in net for the Bears, after blanking Harvard in the season opener last weekend.
The Bears scored three times in the first and twice in the third on their way to the win. Despite getting outshot, the Brown offense capitalized on their chances and played another sound defensive game in front of Danis on their way to the win. Senior Jason Wilson had two goals and sophomore Les Haggett chipped in with three assists to lead the offensive attack.
Special teams played a big part of the game. The Bears got on the board early with a power play goal. Despite not scoring in their next three chances, Brown’s penalty kill was well up to the task, as they shut down all seven of Vermont’s opportunities.
“The key to our special teams is our depth,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “The power play has gotten us on the board early in our last two games now and that has been so important for us.”
Especially notable was a late five-on-three chance for the Cats. Danis made perhaps his best save of the game in that one-minute stretch. The defense did its part, limiting the amount of rebound and quality scoring chances.
Danis, coming off an All-American sophomore season, has now allowed no goals in his last four appearances in net. He allowed no goals in two preseason tune-ups, which were against Harvard and Western Ontario, and has now shutout both of Brown’s early season ECAC opponents.
Danis has certainly arrived as one of the nation’s top goaltenders. He can rely on lightning-quick reflexes when needed, but his true mark is that he never seems to be caught out of position.
“In practice I always work on that,” Danis said. “I always try to follow the puck and keep myself squared to it. I feel like all that practice is paying off now.”
Vermont’s Ryan Miller picked up an early roughing penalty for a collision with Danis. Brown took advantage and never looked back. Vince Macri fired a shot from the point that rang off the post and dropped into the net to make it 1-0.
Jason Wilson scored his first of two just past midway point of the first period. He fired a quick shot from the slot past Vermont’s Shawn Conschafter, who had a very shaky night, despite being tested only a handful of times before being pulled in the third period.
Junior Shane Mudryk added another for Brown to make it 3-0 at the end of the first. Vermont had chances to get on the board off face-offs all night. But since the Meehan Auditorium ice was very soft, play remained sloppy in the Brown. Danis was up to the task to ensure another Brown win.
“I thought we had a very good second period and came up with very little,” said Vermont head coach Mike Gilligan. “The game was hanging in the balance for a while, but they adjusted to our forecheck and killed penalties well.”
Paul Esdale and Wilson added third period goals to finish off Vermont. On a 2-on-1 chance, Esdale converted with a top-shelf goal when Conschafter played the pass. Sophomore Gerry Burke made a great end to end rush that led to Wilson’s second goal, which came on a rebound.
Tomorrow night, Brown hosts Dartmouth, while Vermont travels up I-95 to face Harvard. All eyes will be on Danis, as he will hope to help continue Brown’s winning ways.
“He’s in a grove right now,” Grillo said. “He makes it look simple. The guys in front of him are also doing a great job limiting second-chance opportunities.”