The Brown Bears rolled into Boston starving for a win, while slumping Harvard was crimson with frustration. Playing under the conspicuous subtext of “something’s got to give,” 65 minutes simply wasn’t enough to separate the desperate programs.
The Bears’ power play, ranked sixth in the nation at 21.5 percent, scored a late goal and Dan Rosen turned away 50 Crimson shots to earn the point for Brown (1-9-4). Senior Steve Rolecek scored the lone goal for Harvard (4-10-3), while freshman blueliner Jeff Buvinow matched for Brown. Matt Hoyle made 28 saves for the Crimson, who failed to tie down their first win in 11 games (0-8-3).
The Ivy combatants put on a spirited first period show, combining for 27 shots and a lot of near-misses. Harvard rookie Daniel Moriarty had the best chance of the stanza, collecting his own rebound at the top of the crease with Rosen literally tangled in his own net. He rushed the gimme-putt backhand however, shaving the post with his shot. The Crimson led with 16 shots at the first horn, but the scoreboard remained unchanged from the beginning of the game.
“We had all kinds of chances,” sighed Harvard coach Ted Donato. “We had 50 shots, a lot of bounces around the net. We had plenty of chances.”
The hosts didn’t delay in breaking Rosen’s shutout, as Rolecek put the Crimson on the board at 1:40 of the second period. The left wing first prevented a neutral-zone dump-in by pinching his body against the boards, then picked up the puck and walked in for a 15-foot wrist shot over Rosen’s shoulder.
“We got out-battled in some parts at the start of the second period,” said Brown coach Roger Grillo.
Brown junior Aaron Volpatti rang Hoyle’s post with a sizzling salvo in the game’s 32nd minute and followed that up with a thunderous, if borderline, check on Harvard’s Jimmy Fraser. Harvard dominated play in the first half of the frame, but increasingly physical play by Brown gradually stifled Harvard’s offensive sorties.
Rolecek had an easy opportunity to double his productivity in the last minute of the period, as Ian Tallett’s knuckleball hit Rosen in the cage and dropped across the crease to the goalie’s left. Rolecek swept in to shovel the puck home, but Rosen recovered to corral the skittering shot before it hit the goal line.
Harvard was credited with another 16 shots in the period to only four from Brown, for a 32-15 disparity. Each team had had taken three penalties apiece with 40 minutes in the books.
An Alex Biega high-sticking minor carried over into the third and tilted the ice for Brown to start. The Bears put the heat on Hoyle, and the Crimson did themselves no favors, as Pier-Olivier Michaud took an interference deuce only 10 seconds after Biega was liberated. The penalty-killing unit bent but did not break, even as the Bears plowed six shots Hoyle’s way.
Harvard took a third straight penalty 6:14 into the final period as Rolecek was ushered to the box, but they ended up with the best opportunity while short-handed. Freshman Rence Coassin blocked Buvinow’s point shot on the kill and gathered the puck for a wide-open breakaway. Rosen elected to take away the angle rather than the deke, and denied Coassin his first collegiate goal by slamming the door on the five-hole wrist shot.
Tallett took Harvard’s fourth minor of the period with five and change to play in regulation and the Bears finally convinced the puck to spin their way. Buvinow took a pass from senior center Matt Vokes in the left-wing circle, and ripped a laser through traffic that clanged off the right post before billowing the net.
“We came in knowing they had a nationally ranked power play, [but] we took four penalties against a team that was having a tough time keeping the puck away from their own goalie,” lamented Donato.
Nothing came easily for either side this game, as junior Jordan Pietrus took a seat for tripping 16 seconds later, putting Harvard on the power play. The Cambridge club kept Rosen jumping, whistling long blasts at and around his net, but nothing beat the battle-tested junior.
The teams prepped for overtime knotted at one despite a 46-28 Crimson advantage on the shot chart.
Crimson Alex Killorn was whistled for goaltender interference a minute-and-a-half into the extra session, which Harvard killed in precarious but ultimately effective fashion. Not to be outdone, Sean Muncy took a holding call 3:42 into overtime.
Brown’s Harry Zolnierczyk slammed into Hoyle while following up a sprinting shot with 22 seconds to play. The questionable charging call led to a few very tense seconds for the point-craving Bears, but Rosen’s save tally hit the half-century mark with one final kick-stop.
“[Rosen] did some nice things for us tonight,” said Grillo, who is used to seeing stalwart performances from his goalkeeper. “I’m not surprised about how he played.”
Harvard returns to the Bright Hockey Center tomorrow night to take on Yale at 7 p.m. while Brown will simultaneously seek its second win of the season at Dartmouth.