NEW HAVEN, Conn. — In a game that was much closer than the final 4-0 score indicated — thanks to two empty-net goals at the end — Yann Danis’ stellar goaltending (35 saves) led Brown to victory in the decisive game of the ECAC Quarterfinals at Ingalls Rink. The Bears won the first and final games of the three-game set to advance to Albany for the ECAC Final Four.
“The first game obviously could have gone either way, the second game could have gone either way, and tonight could have gone either way,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “I think the difference between tonight and last night is tonight we capitalized on chances when last night we missed.”
The Brown (16-12-5) locker room was understandably delirious after the game.
“It’s euphoric, obviously,” Grillo said. “We have a group of guys who have gone through some tough years … so this is great right now. We’re going to continue to do what we’ve been doing and try to keep the momentum going.”
The scene was different on the Yale side, though Bulldog head coach Tim Taylor was able to take some solace in the team’s final record of 18-14, including a third-place tie in the ECAC regular-season standings.
“This team has a lot to be proud of in terms of what they’ve accomplished this year,” Taylor said. “I just thanked them. I thought they played hard and with class and dignity all year long.”
Neither Danis nor Yale goaltender Josh Gartner (26 saves) budged in a scoreless first period that saw Brown outshoot Yale 12-11. The Bulldogs outshot the Bears 18-8 in the second period, but the visitors netted two of those eight shots.
Early in the second, a defenseman-to-defenseman pass behind the Yale net bounced off the backboards and came out near the right post. Before Gartner could swat it away, Brown junior Brent Robinson sent it past him low on the stick side for his 14th goal at the 2:15 mark.
More than ten minutes and several narrow misses in Yale’s attempt to tie the score later, Brown went up 2-0 after another defensive miscue. The puck was sent behind the Yale net and Gartner attempted to flip it along the boards, but instead it found Jason Wilson behind the net on the right side, and Wilson scooped it up and fired it home at 13:48.
Brown switched into a defensive mode in the third period, and Yale’s offense could not muster many chances against Danis. After Yale pulled Gartner late in the third for the extra skater, Pascal Denis fired a long shot into the empty net to ice the game at the 17:29 mark. Robinson added his second, another empty-netter, with 49 seconds left to put the icing on Brown’s cake.
The Bears face Cornell in Albany on Friday. Brown was blanked 5-0 at Lynah Rink on Nov. 23, but the Bears tied the Big Red, 2-2, in Providence on Feb. 14.