The Harvard men’s hockey team gave up two early goals to Brown (2-2-2, 1-1-1 ECAC) and let a 27-15 shot advantage go to waste in Friday night’s 2-1 home loss to the Bears.
Adding to the blow of the first period were a lackluster second frame and a third in which Harvard (2-5-0, 1-5-0 ECAC) applied all the pressure but came away with nothing to show for it.
“It was a horrible first period, and it cost us the game,” captain Dylan Reese said. “We buried ourselves in the first period.”
The Bears scored just under seven minutes in, when Sean Dersch picked up the puck in a crowd around the net and snuck it past senior goaltender Justin Tobe, and Jeff Prough gave Brown a 2-0 lead at 14:52.
“It’s a shock, but that’s been our problem,” Reese said of the two early goals. “We go down 1-0 early and we get the wind knocked right out of our sails.”
The Crimson has given up goals in bunches throughout the young ECAC season and had fallen behind early in three of four losses entering the Brown game.
And though Harvard had several chances against the Bears in the first period, including a brief 5-on-3 at 9:27 in the opening frame, the Crimson failed to convert either the two-man advantage or the 5-on-4. Harvard was just 1-for-7 on the power play.
“You are what you are,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91. “We’ve looked good at times, but we haven’t established an identity as far as a work level and what makes us go.”
Harvard’s lone goal came with only 44 seconds remaining in the first period, as senior forward Ryan Maki followed up his initial shot from the goal line with a quick rebound that slid past Brown rookie goalkeeper Dan Rosen.
Senior forward Kevin Du had a chance with a breakaway with 13:55 left in the opening period, but his shot on Rosen sailed just beyond the left post.
The Crimson’s pressure on the net proved fruitless all night, as Rosen and the Brown defense kept Harvard from netting the equalizer and made crucial clears late in the game to end power plays.
“Offensively, I think we have to generate more of a sense of urgency out of the gate,” Donato said. “We dug ourselves into a hole, and we weren’t good enough. We have to win more races to pucks, and our intensity has to be a few notches higher.”
Harvard outshot Brown in each frame, besting the Bears 8-to-3 in third-period shots but failing to find the back of the net.
The Crimson had its chances in the final 20 minutes—sophomore forward Jimmy Fraser nearly stuffed Maki’s shot from the left post with just over five minutes left, while Rosen corralled freshman defenseman Alex Biega’s late slapshot with a right pad save—but Brown’s stingy defense and Harvard’s inability to convert on the power play left the Crimson scrambling in the last few minutes.
“They played well defensively,” Reese said. “We had only about five good offensive chances all game, and that’s not enough when you get down like that. But we can’t let ourselves get down like that.”
—Staff writer Aidan E. Tait can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.