BOSTON — Harvard brought the lightning and Brown delivered the thunder in this tumultuous tilt, but ultimately, the Crimson’s shock-and-awe bested Bruno’s brawn in a 3-2 Ivy League result.
Freshman Kyle Criscuolo, sophomore Colin Blackwell and senior Brendan Rempel scored within 5:06 of the second period for Harvard (2-0-0, 1-0-0 ECAC) and junior backstop Raphael Girard made 27 saves for his second win of the year.
“I thought the Blackwell goal gave us a real shot of life,” mused Crimson coach Ted Donato. “After that, I thought we started to play a much better game. All in all, Brown is a team that when we play them, we know it’s going to be a one-goal game. They’re a tough team to play against, they always play us tough, so we’re excited to get the win.”
Sophomore Matt Lorito and senior Chris Zaires tallied for Brown (1-2-0, 0-1-0 ECAC), while junior captain Dennis Robertson chipped in a pair of assists and classmate Marco De Filippo stopped 39 shots in defeat.
“I thought we battled pretty hard,” said Brown coach Brendan Whittet. “For us, it was a challenge throughout the night.”
The first 20 minutes heavily favored homestanding Harvard, as the Crimson generated three power plays and 13 shots on De Filippo. The 13-8 shot tally at the first buzzer was misleading, as Harvard dominated possession and missed wide or whiffed on a number of prime scoring opportunities. The Bears’ state of affairs wasn’t helped by the loss of freshman Nate Widman, who left the game only six minutes in with a season-threatening knee injury.
“Crushed us. It crushed us,” Whittet said of the injury, about which early indications were grim. “He’s a hard-nosed competitor – and that loss, that early, which may be a devastating loss – it hurts to lose a guy that stabilized that line.”
Brown took the ice with a renewed focus in the second frame, and it paid off early as Zaires tipped a Brandon Pfeil blast past Girard for a surprising 1-0 lead. The goal, 3:24 into the period, was the first allowed by Harvard this year. Harvard senior Marshall Everson made his team’s first trip to the box midway through the period, but a brilliant cross-slot sprint by Blackwell opened a shooting lane and the center made no mistake with the equalizing wrister.
“We worked very hard to get that 1-0 lead,” sighed Whittet. “We didn’t do ourselves any favors by taking three minors in the first 15 minutes [of the game]. That 1-0 lead turns into a 3-1 deficit within three minutes? Four minutes? To me, that’s just unacceptable.”
Moments following Everson’s release, rookie Jimmy Vesey found his classmate Criscuolo sliding in from the back door. The 5-foot-8 pivotman dangled around his defensive mark and poked the puck beneath a diving De Filippo for the quick 2-1 advantage. Rempel scored his first career goal with authority not three minutes later, ripping a slapshot through a screen at 16:37 of the frame.
“Yeah, I did get the puck,” Rempel laughed after the game.
The goal was the Crimson’s third in 5:06, but the visitors weren’t ready to pack it in just yet. Lorito notched his second of the season with under two minutes on the clock, sending the teams to their second intermission with Harvard up 3-2.
The Crimson had a chance to extend the lead midway through the final stanza when Conor Morrison found himself alone with the puck at the blue line, but a Matt Wahl hook and a sound save maintained the score. Brown played even or better against their hosts as the clock bled away, but even a late power play with the goalie pulled couldn’t deliver relief to the Bears.
Brown takes on Dartmouth in Hanover, N.H., on Saturday night, while Harvard hosts Yale with the hopes of extending its season-opening win streak to three games.