PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Brown jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead for the second straight game, but was unable to stave off No. 13 Union, which claimed a 4-3 victory Friday at Meehan Auditorium.
With the game tied at 3-3 with just under five minutes remaining in the third period, sophomore defenseman Shawn Stuart smacked home the deciding goal.
Union powered up to a tie for fourth in the ECAC standings, while Brown fell two points behind the Dutchmen.
“It’s the first time we’ve trailed after the first period all year,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “We just wanted to stay calm, let them know that we were doing some good things out there, and just stay with it.”
Tied in the third period, the sides traded chances until Stuart took matters into his own hands. From outside the left-hand faceoff circle, the sophomore fired a blazing slap shot that beat Brown goaltender Mike Clemente and put Union up 4-3 with just over four minutes to play.
Brown coach Brendan Whittet did not hesitate in being critical of his side after the tough loss.
“I thought we lacked any type of intensity or passion or pride from the drop of the puck,” he said. “I thought we were absolutely awful. They played very good hockey. They were much more determined than we were. They won almost every battle and credit to them. They were much better than we were tonight.”
Brown was missing its captain, senior Harry Zolniercyzk, who was serving a one-game suspension following his ejection in last week’s tie at Boston University, and his absence showed.
“We missed him a ton,” Whittet said. “He is the engine that makes us go.”
Union came out with the early pressure, firing off three shots in the first five minutes as it maintained control of the puck. Just as the Dutchmen seemed as if they were ready to make the first breakthrough — on the power play with 12 minutes left in the period — it was Brown that found the back of the net.
Off a faceoff, junior forward Jack Maclellon gained control of the puck, took it the length of the ice and fired home a short-handed, unassisted goal.
Brown (3-3-3, 2-2-1 ECAC) doubled its lead with 4:34 remaining in the period. After David Brownschidle’s shot was denied by Union goalie Keith Kinkaid, freshman defender Matt Wahl swooped in and buried the puck into the top left-hand corner of the net.
Union (8-2-3, 3-1-1) got on the board five minutes into the second period. After Brown failed to cleanly clear the puck from its end, the Dutchmen capitalized. Sophomore winger Wayne Simpson kept the puck on a two-on-one break and beat Clemente to cut Brown’s lead in half.
Midway through the second period, Brown forward Jimmy Sears received a major penalty and game misconduct for a check to the head of a Union player. On the ensuing five-minute power play, though, Brown buckled down and notched a key penalty kill, clinging to its one-goal advantage.
Union, however, did not relent and pulled even with just 1:37 left in the period on a Josh Joyce goal. Clemente was able to get a piece of the shot, but could not keep it out, and the period came to a close with the score all square.
In the third, Union struck first on a spectacular goal by Daniel Carr, his sixth score of the season, only four minutes into the period. The Union forward got a hold of the puck in the zone, controlling it before firing a powerful wrist shot into the top left-hand corner of the goal.
Just minutes later, Brown showed its resilience and tied the game at 3-3 on Maclellon’s second tally of the game, as he again was able to beat Kinkaid with a skillful finish. Brown continued the pressure immediately, but was twice denied by the glove of Kinkaid, who did well to regroup after Maclellon’s score.
In the final minutes, Brown applied pressure with an extra attacker, but the Union defense buckled down to preserve the win and take home two valuable points.
Brown will host No. 15 Rensselaer on Saturday, while Union will travel to New Haven, Conn., to take on Yale on Sunday.