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M. icers awake from slumber

The men's hockey team finally awoke from a long slumber this weekend, ending a 15-game winless streak dating back to Nov. 10. With two much-needed Eastern College Athletic Conference wins over Ivy opponents Harvard and Dartmouth, the Bears push their record to 3-14-4 overall and 3-8-3 in league.

Assistant Captain David Robertson '08 scored his first two goals of the season to lead Brown to a 4-2 win over the Crimson on Friday night, and the team repeated the performance on Saturday, defeating the Big Green 4-3.

"This was a game we needed to win. We had a big crowd behind us, and hopefully this will give our fans more confidence in us," Captain Sean Hurley '08 said after the Harvard game. "When you don't win for 15 games, you need to take baby steps, but tonight was a giant baby step, if there is such a thing."

Brown's offense got rolling quickly against Harvard, creating several shot opportunities within the first minute of the game. Just 1:42 in, Aaron Volpatti '10 got the puck in the right face-off circle and found Robertson wide open at the top of the left circle. Robertson got the puck under control and fired a wrist shot past the goalie to put the Bears on the board first. The Bears were unable to find the back of the net for the rest of the period, but they held Harvard scoreless with their aggressive checking and a few big saves from goalie Dan Rosen '10.

"We've switched to being a more aggressive team," said Head Coach Roger Grillo. "Some nights the aggressiveness hasn't been there, but tonight it was there, and we were able to establish our team identity."

Throughout most of the second period, the Bears continued to hold Harvard scoreless, largely because of 12 saves by Rosen, including one save on a Crimson breakaway. But with 5:46 left, Harvard finally converted, on its sixth power play of the night, when Alex Meintel redirected a slap shot by teammate Jimmy Fraser to tie the game.

Penalties plagued Brown all night, with the Bears heading to the penalty box 12 times. The game stayed rough, with several altercations between players.

"Any time we play Harvard, we know it's going to be a high-energy, high-octane game, so the guys were really fired up," Robertson said. "It's a great rivalry, and we love it."

Shortly after the Crimson tied the game, the Bears found themselves with a 4-on-3 power play, and began to dominate possession of the puck. With his teammates playing close to the net, Robertson waited patiently on the blue line, looking for a play to develop. Finally, Hurley got the puck behind the net and sent it back to a wide-open Robertson, who sent a one-timer into the net to give Brown a 2-1 lead with 3:42 left in the period.

"I guess goals come in bunches," Robertson said. "I was just focusing on getting pucks through ... and my teammates made great plays, and I was fortunate enough to get shots."

The assist was the 50th of Hurley's career. Assistant Captain Jeff Prough '08 reached that mark earlier this season.

Brown picked up another penalty with 1:38 left in the second period, but this time, the Bears caught Harvard off-guard when Hurley found Jordan Pietrus '10 on a fast break opportunity, and Pietrus converted the short-handed goal to give Bruno a 3-1 lead.

This season the Bears have struggled to hold third period leads, but not so on Friday. Just 57 seconds into the final frame, Matt Vokes '09 scored on a one-timer from the slot, off a pass from Devin Timberlake '10.

"That was a huge goal," Grillo said. "It deflated Harvard for a good ten minutes."

Harvard threatened to come back, cutting the lead to 4-2 with just over seven minutes left, when a shot from behind the net deflected off Rosen's skate for a goal. The Crimson continued to attack, taking advantage of three power plays to out-shoot the Bears 17-3 in the final period, but Rosen's 16 third-period saves held the lead for Brown, which won 4-2.

The next contest did not start as auspiciously for Brown, as Dartmouth struck first 5:41 in, when J.T. Wyman, who entered the game with 13 goals, scored a power play goal from the top of the left face-off circle. The Bears tied the game just over six minutes later, though, when Prough tipped a shot from Robertson past the goalie to put the score at 1-1 heading into the second period.

Early in the period, Bruno grabbed the lead on a crafty goal by Sean McMonagle '10. An errant Dartmouth pass took a bounce off the boards toward the Dartmouth goal, and after gaining control of the loose puck, McMonagle skated toward the crease, juked the goalie left and backhanded the puck into the top right corner of the net. But seven minutes in, Mike Stuart '09 picked up back-to-back penalties, to give Dartmouth a five-minute man-advantage, and 2:38 into the power play, Dartmouth's Nick Johnson redirected a shot past Rosen to tie the game, 2-2. Bruno regained the lead with 7:22 left in the period, when Ryan Garbutt '09 had his shot deflected and Eric Slais '09 put home the rebound.

"You always go to the net looking for a rebound, and it just happened to pop on my stick," Slais said. "Garbs did a good job busting down the wing and getting the shot off ... and it just happened to find my stick."

Early in the third period, Garbutt, who had eight shots on goal, finally put one home on a shot from the slot.

"I got a lot of room from my linemates ... and they were able to find me with good passes," Garbutt said. "It was awesome, it felt great to give the team a bigger lead to work with in the third period."

With 6:12 remaining, Rosen appeared to have control of the puck in the crease when a Dartmouth player skated into him, but the officials ruled it a goal, despite protests from the Bears. The disputed goal failed to rattle Rosen, who made several clutch saves to protect the lead and secure the win for Brown.

"I thought Rosie played well in the net, and when you get strong goaltending and you put some numbers up, you're going to have a good chance to win," Grillo said.

The two victories were also a timely gift for Grillo, whose birthday was on Friday, though Grillo said he has reached an age where "you don't celebrate birthdays anymore."

Brown will go on the road next weekend to face off against Princeton and Quinnipiac.



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