The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 1/10/15 11:22am

The first weekend of winter term is upon us, and while that has brought freezing temperatures to the Upper Valley, action is heating up on the rinks and courts of Hanover as nine varsity teams compete this weekend. Many of Dartmouth’s winter sports teams already have some competition under their belts, but the new year brings the meat of most teams’ league schedules. As the Big Green gears up for a big weekend of competition, we’re here to get you ready as well.

Men’s Hockey

The men’s hockey team returns to the ice this weekend for the first time since a successful Ledyard Classic, and will take on a pair of New England rivals in the University of New Hampshire and the University of Vermont. The Big Green enters the slate coming from a pair of tight games against nationally ranked opponents in the team’s annual tournament, where Dartmouth tied no. 11 Denver 1-1, later prevailing in the shootout 2-1, and fell to no. 15 Boston College 3-2, despite holding an early lead. The Big Green will meet the inconsistent Wildcats in Durham, N.H., who sit second to last in the Hockey East standings. UNH’s offense has struggled, netting only 12 goals in seven league games thus far. This will be the first game of 2015 for the Wildcats, as their last competitive appearance on the ice was at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, where the Wildcats split a two-game series. The game will also be televised regionally by NBC Sports Network, the first television game of the season for the Big Green. On Sunday, Dartmouth will return to Thompson Arena to take on UVM, who sit in third in Hockey East. The Catamounts have been supported by solid defense all season, allowing only 34 goals in 20 games — the best record in the Hockey East. The team also boasts the conference’s third highest scoring offense, tallying 61 goals in their 20 games this season, thanks to eight different players with double-digit points for this season. The Big Green should be able to handle the first game, and would be in prime position to finish the weekend with a pair of victories before heading into the heart of the ECAC season.

Predictions: Dartmouth 4, UNH 2; Dartmouth 2, UVM 1.

Men’s Basketball

After finishing 6-6 through the initial stretch of the season, the men’s basketball team prepares to open its Ivy League season hosting Harvard University on Saturday night. The Crimson have been at the top of the Ivy League for the past three years, even notching surprising wins in the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament, defeating the University of New Mexico and University of Cincinnati the past two years, respectively. The Big Green will have their hands full with the league’s third leading scorer in senior guard Wesley Saunders, who is averaging over 16 points per game. Dartmouth’s Connor Boehm ’16, who leads the league in field goal percentage shooting with 54.9 percent, will be sure to see significant pressure from the Harvard unit that allows a league lowest average of 56.5 points per game. The Big Green should be able to compete early, but look for the experience of Harvard to help the visitors pull away late in this one.

Prediction: Harvard 72, Dartmouth 57.

Track and Field

This weekend will also see the men’s and women’s track and field teams host the 46th annual Dartmouth Relays, one of the highlights of the regional indoor track calendar. The event includes a high school meet on Friday and Saturday, with the collegiate and masters competitions taking place on Sunday. The Dartmouth women have won four straight titles at the event and the men have taken three in a row, establishing dominance in the major opening event of the winter season. Last year, both victories were previews of the success the two teams would see later in the year when they returned to Hanover in March to host the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships. The competition saw the women claim second place as the men claimed sixth. While we won’t use this space to make any individual predictions, it should be an exciting weekend to see if the Big Green can keep its winning streaks alive.