Last weekend, the men's ice hockey team (8-11-2, 4-8-2 ECAC) split two games at home against Dartmouth (4-15-1, 3-9-1 ECAC) and No. 9 Harvard (13-5-1, 11-3-0 ECAC), falling to the Big Green 4-3 and upsetting the Crimson 3-2.
Head Coach Brendan Whittet ’94 acknowledged the added significance of a major victory over a top-ranked rival. “It’s irrelevant who you’re playing, but it’s always nice to beat Harvard,” he said via Brown Athletics following the game.
Beat ‘at our own game’: Dartmouth 4, Brown 3
The Bears entered Friday’s matchup against the Big Green as favorites, having won their last three games by outscoring opponents 15-4 and averaging five goals a game over that stretch. Due to a violation, the Bears started the game on their heels defending a Dartmouth power play. A block by Samuli Niinisaari ’23 and a wide shot by Dartmouth allowed the Bears to complete the penalty kill.
Shortly after, the Bears capitalized on a power play chance of their own when captain Luke Krys ’23 scored his second goal of the season, giving Bruno an early 1-0 lead.
The Bears continued to bombard the Big Green for the rest of the period, firing 12 shots on goal to Dartmouth’s three, but Brown was unable to find the back of the net. In the 12th minute, Bruno committed a kneeing penalty, giving Dartmouth its second power play of the game, which The Big Green soon used to even the score.
Early in the second period, Dartmouth seemed to be in control until a breakaway gave Brown forward Thomas Manty ’25 open ice facing only the Big Green goalie. Manty made the most of the opportunity and scored Bruno’s second goal of the game off an assist by Krys, who helped generate each of the first two Bears goals.
But Dartmouth immediately responded, once again tying the game in the 6th minute of the second period with a textbook shot setup and expert puck movement.
The Bears responded quickly, securing their second goal of the period in the 12th minute when Brett Bliss ’25 scored, assisted by both Krys and Ryan Bottrill ’26. A Dartmouth goal late in the period gave the Big Green momentum with the game tied 3-3 as it entered the 3rd period.
Despite scoring only one goal, Dartmouth dominated the third period, firing 14 shots on goal to Bruno’s three. The Big Green dealt the decisive blow with eight minutes remaining in the game, taking a 4-3 lead and sealing the Brown defeat.
“Dartmouth worked extremely hard and played a physical game,” wrote defenseman Spence Evans ’25 in a message to the Herald. “It made it difficult for us to execute our game plan.”
“I think Dartmouth played very well as a team and beat us at our own game,” forward Brendan Clark ’25 wrote in a message to the Herald. Their play was “very structured and (they) outworked us.”
‘A huge win’: Brown 3, Harvard 2
The following day, the Bears bounced back with a 3-2 victory over a Harvard team ranked in the top 10 nationally.
“Harvard games come with extra importance, and coupled with the loss against Dartmouth, our team was motivated to play a good game,” Evans wrote.
An early goal by Bradley Cocca ’23 made it clear that the Bears would not roll over against their highly-ranked rivals. A quick response from Harvard tied the game at one apiece less than four minutes into the game, but both offenses were held in check for the remainder of the period.
Brown managed two goals in the second period — scored by James Crossman ’23 and Ryan Shostak ’26 — to take a commanding 3-1 lead.
The Crimson finally showed their hand in the third period — their offense began to attack with prowess — but the Bears defense proved near-impenetrable. Brown’s blockers hindered Harvard’s efforts to take quality shots, and when the Crimson were able to do so, Mathieu Caron ’25 managed to keep the puck out of the net. Caron made 27 saves on the night and 18 in the third period alone.
“I thought we played really, really good defense and when they turned it up in the third a little bit Caron was there,” Whittet said.
The Crimson did manage to score late in the period after emptying their net, but by that point it was too late to prevent a 3-2 Bears victory. The game marked a dominant defensive performance from Brown against Harvard’s strong offense, which is ranked seventh in scoring percentage in the NCAA.
“We always place an emphasis on what we need to do to improve as a team to play at our highest level,” Clark wrote. “When we do that, we feel that we can beat any opponent that we face.”
“It was a good response after (Friday) night against one of the best teams in the country,” Whittet said. “It’s a huge win.”
Dennis Carey is a sports senior staff writer for The Brown Daily Herald. He previously contributed to the Arts and Culture section. In his spare time, he enjoys watching Atlanta sports and collecting vinyl records.