Sophomore midfielder Zach Widbin notched his second career hat trick and Brooks Scholl added two goals of his own to help the Crimson overcome an early deficit.
Harvard (5-3, 2-1 Ivy) got off to a shaky start on the defensive end, allowing the Bears (2-7, 0-2 Ivy) five first-half goals on just 10 shot attempts.
“We were a little flat in the first half,” Crimson coach Scott Anderson said, “especially defensively.”
While their defense was lacking, Harvard kept within striking distance of Brown by notching five goals of its own in the frenzied first half.
The Crimson quickly got on the scoreboard, tallying two goals in the first 9:29 of the game to take a 2-0 lead.
Junior Greg Cohen notched the first goal of the game with a diving shot of the crease. Widbin smoothly picked off an errant Bears pass and tucked a shot into an empty net to put Harvard.
Brown quickly responded, however, and scored three straight to go up 3-2. Just 10 seconds later, Cohen notched his second goal of the evening to tie the score at three.
“It was a sort of up and down first half,” Crimson captain Jake Samuelson said. “We played with a lot of energy, but we were making some mistakes.”
Junior midfielders Evan Calvert and Carle Stenmark each added goals for Harvard to finish the half, while Brown also tallied two more goals before the intermission.
Tied 5-5, the Crimson—coming off a loss last weekend to Ivy-foe Cornell—knew it needed to come out strong in the third quarter.
And it did just that, as the team reeled off five goals to start the second frame, including two each from Widbin and sophomore attackman Brooks Scholl.
Just 1:13 into the third quarter, Scholl put Harvard up for good, 6-5, with a diving shot that just beat Bears goaltender Nick Gentilesco.
“Brooks was going hard to the goal all day,” Samuelson added. “And when he goes hard, he’s tough to stop.”
Widbin widened the margin just six minutes later, taking a pass from freshman Sam Slaughter for his second goal of the day.
With 13:31 to play and Harvard playing in a man-up position, Widbin completed his hat trick with a goal off Calvert’s feed to give the Crimson an 8-5 lead.
Senior defender Peter Doyle and Scholl rounded out the Crimson scoring, while Brown’s Will Davis added a goal with 1:00 remaining for the game’s final tally.
Crimson goaltender Joe Pike allowed only a single goal in the second half, after relieving sophomore Evan O’Donnell following Brown’s five-goal first half. The Harvard defense did not allow a goal for a 36 minutes, from the end of the second quarter until the final minute.
“Evan played pretty well in the first half,” Anderson noted. “Joe played great in the second half. You don’t usually see teams that play two goalies successfully, but we’ve done pretty well with it.”
Junior John Henry Flood contributed to the second half onslaught by dominating the face-offs—he won 14 of 18, including all six in the final 30 minutes.
“[Flood’s] been doing a great job all year,” Samuelson said. “Today was probably his best game, not only getting possession but helping us get into our offense.”
The loss is the fifth straight for Brown. It is also the fifth Harvard victory in Providence in its last six matches there.
The Crimson plays host to No. 8 Princeton on Saturday, a team which has defeated Harvard 15 straight times.
—Contributing writer Kevin C. Reyes can be reached at email@example.com