Men’s hockey turns around Friday loss with Saturday win
By Josh Koenig, The Dartmouth Staff
Published on Monday, January 28, 2013
Back in Hanover this weekend for a two-game home stand, the No. 12 Big Green men’s hockey team surrendered a third-period lead and fell 4-2 to St. Lawrence University on Friday night, before bouncing back with a resounding 5-1 win against Clarkson University on Saturday evening. Despite universal frustration with Friday night’s results, a complete 60-minute game by the Big Green (11-7-2, 7-5-1 ECAC) on Saturday assuaged fears of any prolonged skid.
“I thought we played a good game [on Friday], but we didn’t have a lot of puck-luck,” head coach Bob Gaudet said. “We raised the bar [Saturday] in terms of the intensity level we can play at. We played a really outstanding 60 minutes.”
Against St. Lawrence (11-10-3, 4-5-3 ECAC) on Friday, the Big Green jumped out to a first period lead behind an unassisted effort from Andy Simpson ’15, who saw a lucky bounce escort his shot off a skate and into the net. Entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, the game seemed to be firmly in control, especially considering the Big Green had won all 11 of its home games before the St. Lawrence matchup.
Unfazed by the home crowd and the one goal deficit, the unranked Saints had other ideas. An effort from ECAC leading scorer and senior forward Kyle Flanagan equalized the game at 2-2, and with St. Lawrence quickly gaining momentum, the Saints found another two goals to end the game with a surprising 4-2 win, after a third period that captain Mike Keenan ’13 characterized as “unacceptable.”
“We weren’t really happy with ourselves in every aspect,” forward Eric Robinson ’14 said. “We had a few meetings with coaches, and just players.”
A quick rebound saw the Big Green back on the ice only 24 hours later to face Clarkson (5-13-6, 4-6-2 ECAC). Coming off of a big win against Harvard University on Thursday evening, Clarkson looked to attack, but quickly found itself overwhelmed by a Big Green team that was superior in nearly every aspect of the game.
Despite having numerous chances throughout the game’s first two periods — including a nicely finished goal by forward Matt Lindblad ’14 in the second period — the Big Green entered the game’s third period still tied 1-1. However, in a surprising reversal from Friday night’s game, the Big Green exploded with four goals in the third behind efforts from Alex Goodship ’13, Dustin Walsh ’13 and Tyler Sikura ’15 on a well-executed power play goal, and Robinson on a sublime team effort.
In the most beautifully executed goal of the game, and perhaps of the weekend, Walsh fed the puck to Keenan, who split two Clarkson defenders to find a streaking Robinson all alone, where he controlled the puck and coolly beat the keeper to give the Big Green a 3-1 lead.
“It was a little play,” Keenan said. “Dustin gave me the puck and I looked up and saw Eric already at the far blue line.”
Despite peppering Clarkson goalie freshman Greg Lewis throughout the game, the Big Green was not sad to see its most dynamic efforts occur in the same period where it had faltered the night before.
“It was great to get goals in the third period,” Robinson said. “It shows that we aren’t down, that we’re bouncing right back.”
After the home stand, the Big Green has now faced every ECAC opponent once. The Big Green is tied for third in the ECAC, level with Union College and trailing Yale University and Quinnipiac University. Dartmouth is second in the Ivy League standings, again trailing Yale (12-5-3, 8-4-1 ECAC).
“I like where our team is,” Gaudet said. “In our league, really I think it’s the strongest in the country, everyone’s good. Obviously we’re still learning, we’re a young team, but it’s going to be a dogfight to the final buzzer.”
Despite an impressive start to the season that saw the Big Green remain one of the only unbeaten schools in the country, Robinson still believes that the Big Green can find another level of play.
“I don’t think we’ve realized our full potential yet,” he said.
The home stand also saw forward Walsh return to the ice after an injury furlough — a huge moment for the Big Green, Gaudet said.
The Big Green will play Union (13-8-4, 6-4-3 ECAC) on the road at 7:30 p.m. on Friday in Schenectady, N.Y., in a vitally important conference matchup that will be nationally televised on the NBC sports network. Following the Union game, the Big Green will travel across the state to Troy, N.Y., to face Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at 7 p.m. on Saturday.