PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Union’s young and speedy forward lineup scored two goals in the first and two in the second to cruise to a 4-1 win on the road over Brown.
Sophomore Marc Neron had two even-strength goals and captain Nathan Gillies had a pair of shorthanded goals to give freshman goaltender Tim Roth his first career win.
The Bears are now in a serious early-season tailspin. With just one goal tonight, Brown has now scored a total of two in the past four games, having been shut out twice on the road last weekend. The Bears have gone 0-3-1 during the recent scoring drought after getting off to a 4-1 start.
Union grabbed an early lead and effectively took the small Meehan Auditorium crowd out of the game. The Dutchmen finished in the Brown end to provide the offense and played a disciplined game in their own zone on the way to the win. They blocked shots well and killed penalties, further frustrating Brown’s almost nonexistent offense.
“I consider this one of the toughest road trips in hockey,” said Union head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We had a tough night last night but I was happy with how we responded tonight. It was important for us to set the tempo early in this game, which we did.”
The offensive woes for Brown were no different Saturday. The Bears once again failed to find many rebounds and were unable to finish on several scoring chances, despite leading the game in shots on goal by a 27-21 margin.
Union’s talented forwards took the momentum early on, outplaying the veteran Brown blueliners to take a 1-0 lead just under a minute into the game. The second shift of the game was a good one for the sophomore-sophomore-freshman line of Neron, Joel Beal, and Jonathan Poirier, as senior defenseman Randy Dagenais walked in from the point and fed Neron, who made it 1-0.
The Bears picked up the play midway through the first and looked poised to tie it up on a late power play. But after failing to finish on a scoring chance, a Union clearing attempt found its way right to Gillies in the neutral zone. Gillies fired a slapshot from the blue line that beat Yann Danis (17 saves).
Gillies’ first of two shorthanded goals made it 2-0 going to the second period.
The Dutchmen scored early in the second to make it a three-goal game and put the Brown offense out of scoring range. A Union chance appeared to be covered up by Danis, but after no whistle from the officials, Neron jammed it home for his second of the night to make it 3-0.
Gillies received another nice pass in the neutral zone which led to another goal for the Union penalty-killing unit. But this time, Gillies had found his way behind the Brown defense for a clean breakaway on Danis. He shot for the five-hole and scored to give Union a 4-0 lead with under 5:00 to go in the second.
The Bears responded with a shorthanded goal of their own just minutes later, but the scoring ended there. Junior forward Brent Robinson and Adam Saunders converted on a two-on-one opportunity to make it 4-1. Saunders proved he could finish, lifting a shot over the sprawled out Roth on a pretty goal-mouth pass from Robinson.
In the third, just when the Bears appeared to be getting a bit of offense going, a power-play failure put an end to any hope of a comeback, and a pair of late penalties sealed the Union victory.
“We’re trying to rectify it all in one big play,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo on his team’s slump. “Our guys are playing not to lose, and when you do that you make mental mistakes. There’s nothing positive I can take from this game.”
Brown hits the road for two more ECAC games, at Yale and Princeton, before breaking for the semester. The Dutchmen play just one more conference game, as they face off against Rensselaer next Saturday.