PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Union found out how important was to jump out to an early advantage and hold onto it Friday against Brown.
The Dutchmen scored on two of their first three shots of the game to take a 2-0 lead, and they made the Bears play catch up the rest of the way in a 5-3 ECACHL victory at Meehan Auditorium.
It was the first win for Union (5-8 ECACHL, 12-11-2 overall) at Brown since Nov. 30, 2002. The Dutchmen had gone 0-1-2.
Each time the Bears (4-7-2, 8-8-4) cut the Dutchmen’s lead to one, Union answered with a goal of its own.
“I thought it was good,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “We had a lot of good opportunities in that first period. I’m glad we capitalized on them. It was a strange game because I thought they were outworking us a little bit, but we kept getting all the great chances. To come out on the road in the first period on top.”
Mario Valery-Trabucco opened the scoring 2:38 into the game when his wrist shot from the left circle beat goalie Dan Rosen to the glove side.
“We knew it was going to be a chippy game,” said Valery-Trabucco, who leads Union with 12 goals. “We had to get some shots on net to get some goals, and that’s what happened.”
Oliver Bouchard got the Dutchmen’s next goal, a power-play tally, just over three minutes later. Matt Cook passed the puck to Jason Walters behind the net. Walters then fed it to Bouchard in front, and he one-timed it past Rosen.
“That was good for us,” Bouchard said. “It’s important to have a good first 20 minutes. The whole game, we had an advantage.”
Jeff Prough’s power-play goal late in the first cut Union’s lead to 2-1. The Dutchmen got that one back just past midway through the second period on the power play. Josh Coyle ripped a wrist shot from the right circle over Rosen’s glove.
Nate Robertson’s power-play goal 18 seconds into the third period again pulled Brown within one. But defenseman Michael Beynon, playing his 100th game for Union, took a Mike Schreiber pass and fired it from the left faceoff dot past Rosen for Union’s third power-play goal. It was the most power-play goals Union scored in a game since it got four Dec. 17 at Connecticut.
“We worked on our power play a lot, and we really struggled in practice this week,” Leaman said. “Our killers were doing a great job of being the guys’ face and making them work hard.”
Jeremy Russell gave Brown some hope with a goal at 13:36. But Lane Caffaro’s backhander from Union’s left-wing boards sailed into an empty net with 49.7 seconds left, sealing the win.
“We were terrible, absolutely awful,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said. We played for 10 minutes in the third period, and that was it.”
Ken Schott covers college hockey for The Daily Gazette in Schenectady, N.Y.