The men’s hockey team opened its season with a pair of close contests this weekend, falling to Ivy rival Yale 3-2 Friday and recording a 2-1 loss to the University of Vermont Sunday.
A trio of Bears scored in the contests, including Tristan Crozier ’22 and Justin Jallen ’22, who posted their first career goals Friday and Sunday, respectively. Trey Dodd ’20 also recorded a pair of assists over the weekend.
Brown 2, Yale 3
Friday night, Crozier and Brady Schoo ’19 each scored to equalize the game, but the Bears (0-2, 0-1 ECAC) were edged by the Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0) in a back-and-forth matchup at Meehan Auditorium.
Joe Snively put Yale on the board at the 14-second mark with a goal on the team’s first shot of the evening, but Crozier answered 10 minutes later for the Bears. Alone in the left circle, Crozier collected a feed from Alec Mehr ’21 and sent the puck past Bulldogs netminder Corbin Kaczperski to tie the game at one.
“It was a really nice pass by (Mehr) — our line’s been working really well,” Crozier said. “I just tried to get it off my stick as quickly as I could, and I was fortunate enough for it to go in the net.”
Snively notched his second score of the evening, an unassisted goal off of a turnover, to give Yale a 2-1 advantage before the period was over. But Schoo responded two and a half minutes into the second frame, sending the puck rotating past Kaczperski catcher side on a wrist shot. Dodd and Jallen recorded assists on the play.
Luke Stevens added a goal to reclaim the lead for Yale late in the second period. The Bears mounted a late offensive surge and peppered the Bulldogs’ net with shots in the third, outshooting Yale 13-4 in the stanza, but Kaczperski held off the attack to seal the victory for the Elis.
“It would be really nice to get some more shots on net, and I think if we’re more tenacious on the forecheck, we’ll be able to turn over more pucks and hopefully have a better result in the end,” Crozier said.
In the crease, goaltender Luke Kania ’21 posted 23 saves. Brown went five-for-five on the penalty kill, denying Yale the chance to convert.
“The penalty kill was excellent. … It was the best I’ve seen in a long time,” said Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94. “We pressured very well, I thought we took away their time and space and I thought we took away their options.”
“We’ve been doing a good job pressuring them both in their zone and in our zone” on the penalty kill, Jallen said. “We really want to force them to make a play they don’t want to make, and so far, it’s been working out for us.”
Brown 1, Vermont 2
Two nights later, Bruno led the University of Vermont (2-2, 0-1 Hockey East) by one entering the third period, but the Bears were unable to maintain the advantage as the Catamounts notched a pair of goals for the comeback in the final frame.
The Bears dominated possession and pressured the Vermont net early in the first, recording nine shots on goal during the period. Catamounts netminder Stefanos Lekkas was able to fend off Bruno’s persistent offense until Jallen found the back of the net late in the second stanza. Joachim Weberg ’21 came from behind the net and drove the puck into the crease, where Lekkas made the initial save before Jallen finished off the rebound.
Christan Evers equalized the game six minutes into the third with a power play goal for Vermont before Craig Puffer scored five minutes later to claim the lead.
Netminder Gavin Nieto ’20 recorded 27 saves as the Bears were edged in shots 29-28.
As the Bears seek to increase offensive production, Whittet emphasized the importance of playing with poise and composure in the zone.
“We have to find a way to change angles where we’re shooting from, we have to find a way to miss shinpads (and) we have to find a way to get the rebounds,” Whittet said. “We’ve got to be a little calmer maybe around the net … (and) have a poise to us.”
Looking ahead to a pair of visits to Colgate University and Cornell this weekend, the team maintains a positive and industrious approach.
“Our goaltending’s been really good, and I think that we’ve done a really good job outworking opponents,” Jallen said. “We just haven’t been able to find a way to win yet, but I think that’ll come with time, and if we continue to work hard, I think this team will find success very soon.”
The Bears will face off against Colgate Friday and Cornell Saturday.