Still in search of its first league win of 2013, the Harvard men’s hockey team dropped a 5-2 contest to its oldest rival, Brown, Saturday evening at the Meehan Auditorium in Providence, Rhode Island.
The last time the Crimson (5-10-1, 3-8-0 ECAC) squared off against the Bears (6-8-4, 2-5-4 ECAC), the then-13th ranked Harvard squad defeated Brown for its third straight win, and looked poised to make a strong run in the 2012-2013 campaign.
Since then, the Crimson has struggled to find consistency, losing its sixth straight ECAC game since its win against Cornell back in mid-November. Harvard’s lone victory since that win came in last week’s overtime thriller against BU.
The Bears rode a four-goal outburst in the second period to come away with a win that propels Brown above the now last place Crimson in the ECAC standings.
“I thought we played a good first period, we outshot them and we won a majority of the face-offs,” Harvard coach Ted Donato ’91 said. “In the second [period] they outplayed us, they outworked us, they beat us to pucks in the scoring areas, they had multiple whacks at pucks, the game certainly was decided in the second period.”
The Crimson was able to open the scoring with a goal from sophomore Tommy O’Regan at 2:04 early in the second, with freshman Brian Hart finding the forward on a two-on-one from the right circle.
But the Bears netted four straight goals thereafter, knotting the score at one less than a minute after O’Regan’s goal. The visitors did not score until the end of the second period, where Hart made it 4-2, but Brown did not let Harvard come any closer as it closed out the game in the third to split the season series at one.
Soon after the Crimson initiated the scoring, Brown sophomore Matt Lorito broke the puck away from the defense near the left crease, wrapped it around the net and passed it up to junior Garnet Hathaway in front of the net, who buried the shot for his second goal of the year.
The Bears then pulled away with two quick goals in a span of just over a minute with goals by senior Chris Zaires and sophomore Ryan Jacobson. Zaires was able to score after the puck bounced around a bit on a rebound from a shot off a faceoff, while Jacobson found the left side of the net open after a crisp pass from Lorito on the right.
Brown finally made it 4-1 after a pass up from behind the net from Dennis Robertson found Lorito open in center; the team’s leading scorer then fired a shot on net, and the rebound bounced out to Nick Lappin who put it in for the power-play goal.
Throughout the game the Bears were strong in front of the net, winning many battles against Harvard on both sides of the ice.
“The [Brown] forwards were playing hard and going to the net and getting a lot of rebounds,” Hart said. “I thought they were good in front of our net and that’s where we need to get better.”
Shutout in the last three games on the power play, the Crimson finished 0-5 on the evening.
“We’ve had some good looks but we just haven’t been consistent,” Donato said. “We haven’t been able to get pucks through from the point I think that’s been a killer. [There’s been a] ton of shot blocked, and then when we have we haven’t really won any the battles in front of the net or rebounds so that’s something that we’ll have to improve on greatly if we’re going to have some success.”
Harvard was able to respond at the end of the period with a goal by Hart assisted by fellow freshman forward Jimmy Vesey and junior defenseman Dan Ford on a four-on-four opportunity to the lead to two.