CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Mike Clemente '12 hasn't been a cordial guest in his three visits to Harvard.
The Brown goalie, who gave Harvard its first back-to-back shutout losses in 111 years at the end of last season, nearly gave the Crimson another in the Bears' 4-1 victory last night.
"The goaltender has been sensational," said Harvard Head Coach Ted Donato. "I think he made three saves in the first period that were almost sure goals."
Clemente, who had 41 saves on the night, said he loves to play at Harvard.
"I mean, you come to Brown and the first thing you hear about is how much everyone hates Harvard and how much they hate you," he said. "You just want to pump them every time you play."
For the third time in a row, the Bears (2-7-1, 1-4-1 ECAC) beat the Crimson, getting their first conference win. Harvard (1-7-2, 1-5-2) extended its winless streak to nine games.
"We're missing confidence," Donato said. "What sometimes happens when a goalie is playing that well is you start looking for the perfect shot, and you can frustrate yourself that way. So, I think we did that."
Harvard outshot Brown 43-33 on the night.
"Unfortunately we didn't get rewarded with our hard work," said Harvard captain Alex Biega. "It's just — it's beyond frustrating at this point."
The Bears got on the scoreboard with less than two minutes left in the first period when tri-captain Jordan Pietrus '10 ripped a shot from the left faceoff circle. Forward Jarred Smith '12, standing at the edge of the crease, tipped it past Harvard goalie Kyle Richter for his second goal of the season.
Two minutes and 15 seconds into the middle period, the Bears extended their lead on defenseman Jeff Buvinow's '12 first goal of the season. With a cluster of players fighting for possession in the corner, the puck spit out to the point. Buvinow stopped it with his skate, wound back and fired a slap shot into the top right corner of the net.
"I had a lot of time and I just ripped it on net," Buvinow said. "Guys went in front — good screen. And it just went in. Puck had eyes."
It wasn't until Harvard's 29th shot on goal that the Crimson finally beat Clemente.
Trailing 2-0 midway through the second period, Harvard's Conor Morrison received the puck just feet away from the crease. After stopping 114 shots over two-and-a-half games, Clemente finally let in his first goal against Harvard.
He didn't allow another.
With 56 seconds left in the second period, Harvard's Alex Fallstrom was called for a five-minute major penalty and game misconduct for hitting from behind. Brown couldn't score on the power play, which carried over into the third period, but the penalty kept the puck in Harvard's zone for nearly five minutes.
"We shot ourselves in the foot maybe with a couple of penalties," Donato said. "Certainly, the five-minute one, I think kind of took a chance for momentum."
But Harvard got one last opportunity with 1:11 left in the game, when Sean McMonagle '10 was whistled for interference, giving the Crimson a power play for the rest of the game. And with one minute remaining Donato pulled his goalie for an extra attacker, giving Harvard a six-on-four advantage.
"It's exciting," Clemente said of the last-minute pressure. "It's the best part of the game."
Just five seconds after the Harvard goalie left the net, tri-captain Aaron Volpatti '10 forced a turnover and scored a shorthanded, empty-net goal.
Seventeen seconds after Volpatti's strike, Jack Maclellan '12 added another, extending Brown's lead to 4-1 with only 20 seconds remaining.
Clemente got one last save with four seconds left. When the final buzzer sounded, he gave a double fist-pump as his teammates rushed to congratulate him.
Clemente said his teammates told him, "You did it again. Let's keep it going."
The Bears came into last night's game after winning their first game of the year, an 8-1 rout of UConn on Saturday. The Bears will get a chance to extend the two-game winning streak against Princeton on home ice at 7 p.m. on Friday.