The Big Green Weekend Primer

by Blaze Joel and Brett Drucker | 2/26/15 6:01pm

02.27.15.sports.mens-hockey_Eliza-McDonough
The men’s hockey team has an important two-game weekend that will determine its seeding in the ECAC championship.
by Eliza McDonough / Eliza McDonough

As February comes to a close, Dartmouth spring sports are ramping up. Nearly half of all Dartmouth sports teams are in action this weekend as we have officially reached the transition period between winter and spring. A few of the highlights of this weekend that we will not preview include men’s lacrosse travelling to South Bend to face national powerhouse No. 2 University of Notre Dame and women’s lacrosse jetting off to Gainesville to face the No. 4 University of Florida. Additionally, the women’s hockey team will begin its Eastern Coast Athletic Conference Championship push in the first round against Clarkson University.

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

After a mixed weekend on the road last week, the men’s hockey team (13-10-4, 10-8-2 ECAC) returns home for its final regular season weekend against cellar-dweller Princeton (4-19-3, 2-16-2 ECAC) and No. 10 Quinnipiac University (20-8-4, 15-2-3 ECAC). Quinnipiac needs only one point this weekend to clinch the Cleary Cup, the ECAC regular season crown.

Despite Princeton’s less than spectacular record and a 4-2 win over the Tigers for the Big Green earlier this season, this is by no means a throwaway game for the Dartmouth men.

The top four teams in the ECAC receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Big Green is currently in sixth, just one point behind fourth-place Colgate University (18-11-3, 10-7-3 ECAC) and Harvard University(14-10-3, 10-7-3 ECAC) and three points behind third-place Yale University (16-7-4, 11-6-3 ECAC). A three-point weekend would do wonders for the Big Green’s playoff chances, and that all begins with getting a win against Princeton.

In the first matchup, the Big Green relied on a big first period and a two-goal game from captain Tyler Sikura ’15 to mask an 0-5 night on the power play. However, the Big Green kill was as effective as their power play was ineffective, killing five of six Tiger opportunities.

Make sure to get there early for this one, as Thompson Arena fills up pretty quickly.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth 3-1

Women’s Basketball vs. Columbia University (7 p.m. Friday)

Much like their last game against Columbia (8-16, 2-8 Ivy), the women’s basketball team (11-13, 2-8 Ivy) comes in slumping. The team has lost two in a row and eight of its last nine (the only win coming over Columbia in a 61-54 overtime thriller in Manhattan two weeks ago).

Over the last nine games, the Big Green has put up more than 50 points just three times and failed to eclipse 40 twice. The good news is the defense has been playing well, conceding less than 60 points three times.

Dartmouth’s defense will have to be its strength, as only two Big Green women — Fanni Szabo ’17 and Lakin Roland ’16 — average double figures. After these two offensive standouts, there is a significant drop-off, as the next highest scorer averages 5.3 points per game.

Last time out against the Lions, the Big Green shot just 30.6 percent from the floor, but made up for that from the charity stripe, sinking 19-22 from the line. The Big Green defense held Columbia to just 34.4 percent shooting, but the Lions did not convert from the free throw line, going just 8-17. This time around, the Big Green will have to play similarly stellar defense and shoot better to beat Columbia. Both are possible, especially if Szabo and Roland get rolling.PREDICTION: Dartmouth 58-52

Women’s Track and Field at the Ivy League Heptagonal Championships (Saturday-Sunday)

As one former sports editor and Big Green distance runner used to famously say “It’s Heps season. They’re a big deal.” And they certainly are. The Ivy League Heptagonal Championships are this weekend in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the Dartmouth women will be looking for a bit of revenge.

Last season, the Big Green finished second to the Crimson in both the winter and spring Heps by a total of 33 points. When Leverone Field House opened its doors to the championships last winter, the Big Green fell by 20 despite a huge Sunday performance that saw them rocket up the standings.

This season, the women’s team has dominated, winning three of its four scoring meets by a total of 110 points and coming in second in the Carisella Invitational in Boston.

The women have built themselves into a perennial Ivy League threat and have been carried this season by a balanced attack, led by Kaitlin Whitehorn ’16, Helen Schlachtenhaufen ’17, Dana Giordano ’16, Sarah Bennett ’16, Elizabeth Markowitz ’16 and Sarah DeLozier ’15, among others.

PREDICTION: Dartmouth finishes second