BURLINGTON, Vt. — Brown salvaged a weekend split with a 3-1 road win, its fifth in a row over Vermont. It was a tight game all along, and in the end the difference was junior Mike Meech’s game-winning goal, which came 7:01 into the third.
It may already sound like a broken record, but Yann Danis was great again in goal for Brown. He made 24 saves, with 10 of them coming in the third period. His last key save came without his stick on a short-side chance, which he covered up to secure his fourth win in a row over Vermont.
Senior defenseman Scott Ford’s diving stop of a 2-on-1 chance with under five minutes to go also helped. In his first three games of the season Danis has given up just three goals.
“It has gotten to the point now where I am beyond thinking about Vermont as my old team,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo, who was an assistant at UVM before taking the job in Providence seven years ago. “Brown’s my team now. It really hit home for me tonight. I was really proud of our guys and how they represented the University.”
For Vermont, the loss was an especially tough one. The Catamounts fell to 0-5-2 on the early season and dropped both games of its opening ECAC weekend, despite playing well and being in both games until late.
“I feel bad for our guys,” said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. “We competed for 120 minutes this weekend and have nothing to show for it.”
Vermont came out flying, looking like they would surely avenge a tough loss to Harvard last night. The Cats’ speedy forwards, namely Dan Owens and Tim Plant, nearly scored twice on the second shift of the game but nevertheless controlled most of the action in the first.
Brown freshman Antonin Roux opened up the scoring 8:25 in with his first NCAA goal on the power play. The goal was a fluke, as a clearing attempt from Vermont was fired into a teammate’s shin pads and right by junior goaltender Scott Sortal, the tough-luck loser. He made 21 saves in his first start of the season and fourth game of his career.
Vermont answered just a couple minutes later. A rush culminated with a goal-mouth pass from Scott Misfud right to the stick of captain Jeff Miles, who directed it in the open net to make it 1-1.
The Bears came out much stronger in the second but were unable to cash in on several scoring chances. They peppered Sortal with 13 shots in the frame.
“We worked harder in the second half of this game,” Grillo said. “We started winning races to the puck and moving it a little cleaner. Last night was kind of a shock for us and I think it carried over to the first period tonight.”
Finally, Mike Meech put Brown on top with a gritty goal. Center Joe Bauer fed freshman Dylan Row at the left point. Row’s snap shot was stopped, but Meech was there to bury the rebound with a backhand smack over Sortal.
“Their goalie was giving up some rebounds and we just wanted to get on top of them,” Meech said. “I think we got away from our game plan a little last night [against Dartmouth]. We didn’t work nearly as hard or execute our systems like we did tonight.”
Senior assistant captain Brent Robinson added an insurance goal with just over a minute left in the game. The Cats put a decent amount of pressure on in the third, but never could get to any second chances on Danis. Robinson’s goal, which came off a scramble in front of the Vermont net, sealed the win and sent the sellout crowd of 4,035 fans in Gutterson Fieldhouse home bumming. Bauer also assisted on the goal — he earned his first two collegiate points.
Brown will have its home-opening weekend next Friday and Saturday, as it hosts Yale and Princeton. Vermont hits the road to face Union and RPI, still looking for its first win of the season.