The Big Green weekend primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 1/15/15 9:23pm

In the second weekend of the term, 10 Dartmouth teams are set to compete across the Northeast. After strong performances from the men’s and women’s track and field teams and the women’s hockey team last weekend, they return to action at home for big matchups on Saturday.

The men’s hockey team is looking to rebound from a win-less weekend back in the friendly confines of Thompson Arena, and the men’s basketball team will play its final non-conference opponent of the season from Leede Arena on Saturday as well. We’re here to give you some insight an analysis for this weekend’s games to keep you clued in to the action.

Men’s Hockey vs. St. Lawrence University (Friday 7 p.m.)

The men’s hockey team (6-6-3, 3-4-1 ECAC) currently sits in 10th in the ECAC standings and returns to Thompson Friday night to take on fourth-place St. Lawrence (9-10-2, 5-4-0). It has been an up-and-down season for both the Big Green and Saints, as each has faced some of the toughest competition in the country playing out of the ECAC.

The Big Green’s season has featured two marquee wins — a 2-0 shutout of then-No. 1 Boston University and a shootout win over then-No. 11 University of Denver. Dartmouth and SLU’s most recent common opponent is the University of Vermont, who the Big Green lost to 4-1 last Sunday.

The Catamounts swept the season series with SLU, winning by an aggregate score of 4-1. The Saints can light up a scoreboard, having topped four goals three times this season, including a 10-goal outburst against the Niagara University and a five-goal win over now No. 9 Miami University. The Big Green has accomplished that feat twice, most notably in an early season win over Brown University. The main differences between Dartmouth and SLU are on the defensive end and between the pipes.

The Big Green has surrendered 33 goals to the Saints’ 46 on the year. James Kruger ’16 has been phenomenal in goal, with a 2.03 GAA and .924 save percentage. If he has a good night, the Big Green should be able to quiet the Saints’ attack and find the net for the win.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth 2-1

Men’s Basketball vs. New Jersey Institute of Technology (Saturday 3 p.m.)

In another battle of up-and-down teams, the men’s basketball team (6-8, 0-1 Ivy) squares off against the 10-9 Highlanders from NJIT. The Big Green is mired in a two-game losing streak while NJIT has been soaring on a five-game winning streak, including a 78-71 marker against an impressive 11-6 Yale University team.

The Highlanders also have perhaps the upset of the college hoops season on their resume with a 72-70 stunner over then-No. 16 University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. The real difference between these teams is offensive firepower — the Big Green has only eclipsed 60 points eight times this season, while the Highlanders have done so in 15 of 19 games. However, the defensive side of the ball is equally tilted in the Big Green’s favor — Dartmouth surrenders just 61.4 points per game, while NJIT gives up 70.4 to its opponents.

This is good news for Dartmouth’s own “Big Three” of Alex Mitola ’16, Connor Boehm ’16 and Gabas Maldunas ’15, all of whom have averaged 10 or more points per game this season. If the supporting cast can step up to complement these three, the Big Green has a chance to win. Also working in the Big Green’s favor is the Highlanders’ 4-8 record on the road, compared to 6-1 in the Garden State this season.

PREDICTION: NJIT 72-67

Women’s Hockey vs. No. 5 Harvard University (Saturday 2 p.m.)

The women’s hockey team (9-7-1, 5-5-1 ECAC) returns home after a six-game road trip to face one of the premiere programs in the nation in Harvard (12-2-2, 9-1-1 ECAC). Harvard has not lost since a 10-2 defeat to undefeated No. 1 Boston College on Nov. 28.

Since then, the Crimson offense has been on a tear, notching four or more goals in seven of 10 games, including a 4-1 win over Dartmouth in Cambridge. For comparison, the Big Green lost 6-1 to the Eagles in Hanover.

The only ECAC opponent to beat Harvard was St. Lawrence, who the Big Green soundly defeated 5-1 in a non-league game before falling to them 2-1 in conference action.

The Big Green comes into the game on a nice streak of their own, having won five of six to catapult them into the thick of the playoff race in the ECAC. Dartmouth has done an excellent job finding the net this year, as six players have double-digit points.

If the Dartmouth women want to contend with Harvard, Kennedy Ottenbreit ’17, Laura Stacey ’16 and Lindsey Allen ’16 will all need to have stellar games, and Robyn Chemago ’17 will need to hold down the fort between the pipes.

PREDICTION: 2-2 Tie