The 10,000 men of Harvard gained victory last night against the Brown Bears, rebounding from a tough, winless weekend.
The Crimson (2-3-1, 2-3-1 ECAC) jumped out to an early lead and then held off a late rush by Brown (1-4-1, 1-4-1) to secure a needed win 2-1 at the Bright Hockey Center.
"It was just a big win for our team," sophomore Craig MacDonald said. "Whether we won 2-1 or 6-1, it was a just a big win."
Freshman goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo got the call again in the net and played a very solid 60 minutes between the pipes, tallying 25 saves. Holding the Bears to only one third period goal, he gave the Crimson a chance to stay in the game, and indeed go on to win with just two goals.
Fellow freshman Brett Chodorow opened the scoring at 13:48 in the first with a tap-in. Sophomore roommates Rob Millar and Craig MacDonald set up the goal for Chodrow; Millar won the puck in the corner and slid it across the crease to MacDonald who managed a nice backhand shot. Brown goalie Jeff Holowaty made the initial save, only to be beaten as Chodorow lifted the puck over the netminder to put the Crimson ahead 1-0.
Harvard had another excellent chance at the end of the first period as junior Ethan Philpott caught up to a long lead pass. Philpott beat Holowaty to the puck and got off a nice shot, only to be stymied by an acrobatic save from the diving Holowaty.
Having killed off two penalties in the first period, Harvard tried to create its own power-play opportunities in the second. However, the Crimson man-up unit continued to struggle, as it could not convert in the three extra-man chances they saw.
Nonetheless, the Crimson five-on-five play was strong, as it managed 24 shots in the second period alone, including one that found the back of the net.
On a lead pass from Philpott, freshman Jamin Kerner broke away to the right side of the Brown net, where he roofed a deft backhander over Holowaty's left shoulder for his first collegiate goal and to give Harvard a 2-0 lead.
The Crimson held that lead going into the second intermission, thanks to another strong penalty kill and an amazing save of Robert Merill's point-blank shot by Prestifilippo.
However, the Bears tried to claw back into the game, and indeed made some headway, as they netted a goal midway through the third period. A lazy pass and a pinching defender in their own zone lead to a Brown two-on-one breakaway.
Just as they had probably practiced a thousand times in practice, Bears Scott Bradford and Mike Noble skated into the Harvard zone against freshman defender Matt Scorsune. Bradford carried the puck up the right side, but close enough to the center where Scorsune had to play him.
With Prestifilippo watching Bradford, Noble positioned himself to finish to the right of the Harvard keeper who was guarding his left pipe. Bradford slid the puck to his center at the perfect moment, and neither Presifilippo nor Scorsune could adjust in time to stop Noble, who completed the textbook two-on-one with a one timer.
Brown really turned on the heat after junior Henry Higdon took an interference
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