With the game tied at 2 midway through the third period, Brown needed a lift to pull out a victory. The Bears (8-7-4, 4-6-2 ECACHL) got one from a familiar face, freshman goaltender Dan Rosen, but in a most unusual way — with an assist on the game-winning goal.
Rosen made 27 saves and his pass to Sean Muncy setup Brian McNary’s winner on the counterattack just after a Cornell power play expired. The 5-2 loss gave the No. 15 Red (9-7-3, 5-4-3) its sixth-straight game without a victory. Muncy also added an assist and Antonin Roux had a goal and an assist to lead the Bears. Brown outscored Cornell 4-1 in the third period, and the win marked the Bears’ first at Lynah Rink since 1995.
“It was really important for us to just come in here and make a statement and try to come away with some points,” said Rosen, who is among the top-10 in the nation in goals against average and save percentage this season. “We didn’t really expect the transition game to be so readily available to us. … But you know, we were able to capitalize on it. Goals haven’t exactly been coming too easy for us all year, and luckily, we were able to get advantage of it.”
Junior Raymond Sawada and freshman Brendon Nash scored Cornell’s goals, with Sawada also tallying an assist. Both teams drew numerous penalties as well, with Cornell racking up 18 minutes and Brown 16. The Red was 9-for-9 on the penalty kill and 2-for-8 on the power play, reversing its trend of power play struggles this season. However, Cornell was beaten in transition numerous times, especially in the third period where Brown scored four goals. The Red’s last victory came on Dec. 29 against New Hampshire, 5-2, at the Florida College Classic.
“I think we’ve got to have short memories with this one. It’s definitely not what we’re looking for,” senior Mark McCutcheon said.
“We turned the puck over at the offensive blue line when we had a chance to move it to guys into space,” Cornell assistant coach Brent Brekke said. “[Brown] transition[ed] the other way and they capitalized on their opportunities. Then obviously we start pressing late in the third when we’re down a goal so we want our guys more aggressive. Well, it gives up more opportunities and they capitalized on them … [We] had a good first period — strong 20. Then, a poor second period, and then the third period it didn’t feel like we went after it. There were bits and pieces where we were decent, but it wasn’t that same effort we had in the first period.”
Cornell had more chances on net in the first period, out-shooting Brown 9-4, and was able to strike first on the power play at 7:48 into the frame. Cornell senior captain Byron Bitz found classmate Mark McCutcheon streaking along the boards to Rosen’s left. McCutcheon centered in front to Sawada, whose tip eluded the goaltender and found its way into the netting to the delight of most of the near-capacity Lynah crowd.
Unable to tally another goal despite dominating possession due to multiple power play opportunities, Brown fought off Cornell and had a good spell of its own towards the end of the period. The Bears finally made the Red pay dearly for its inability to beat Rosen, thanks to the efforts of Jeff Prough. Prough streaked down the right wing, deked through a double-team of Cornell defenders and, leaving freshman Justin Krueger in his wake, beat rookie goaltender Ben Scrivens with a high backhanded effort.
“The first period, I thought Cornell played well,” said Brown head coach Roger Grillo. “They kind of threw everything at us, and we kind of weathered the storm.”
After a lackluster and evenly-played second period, the teams headed into the third period with the score tied at 1. Cornell started the final period in the midst of a power play. But in the middle of the power play, Brown’s Sean Hurley stole the puck and went on a 2-on-1 break towards the Cornell net. Bears captain Sean Dersch was able to finish, scoring a shorthanded goal to put his team up 2-1.
“That was huge, because we were starting to get a little bit back on our heals,” Grillo said. “To score that goal was big.”
Cornell responded only 27 seconds later by scoring the game’s second power play goal, with senior Mitch Carefoot finding Nash at the point. Nash’s slap shot rocketed high into the net to tie the game.
The celebrations wouldn’t last long, however, as McNary scored just before the midpoint of the period. From there, Cornell worked furiously to tie the score, but Brown was able to score again through Ryan Garbutt and then again with an empty Red net.