Men's hockey splits UVM series

by Jeffrey Beyer | 11/21/94 6:00am

It was the best of times and the worst of times for the men's hockey team this weekend in its home-and-home series against ECAC rival University of Vermont.

The Big Green turned in their most thrilling win of the season with a 6-5 overtime victory over the Catamounts Friday night, but were blown out on Saturday night 10-1 for their first loss of the season.

Going into the two-game set, the Big Green had good reason to expect a tough fight. Vermont was ranked number 8 in the country going into the weekend, and UVM goalie Tim Thomas boasted an impressive 1.66 overall goals against average, the best in the ECAC.

Friday night at Thompson Arena, co-captain Trevor Dodman '95 scored the game winning goal just 31 seconds into overtime as the Big Green completed a stunning comeback from a 5-3 deficit late in the third period.

Winger Patrick Turcotte '95 drove to the left side of the net on the Dartmouth power-play and fed a pretty backhand pass to Dodman, who stuffed home the game-winner on a one-timer.

The Big Green looked to be on their way to their first loss of the season, when midway through the third period Vermont extended its lead to 5-3 on a goal by winger Brian Leddy. Leddy appeared to use defenseman Shane Ness '98 as a screen as he wristed a high shot over the mitt of Big Green goalie Ben Heller '97.

Dartmouth still trailed 5-3 with less than four minutes left when the officials gave the Big Green some help by calling consecutive interference penalties on Vermont only 26 seconds apart. This brought the Big Green power play onto the ice, which had been 0 for 7 thus far in the game.

Dion Del Monte '95 brought the Big Green to within 5-4 with a 5-on-3 power play goal at 17:53 of the third. Winger Bill Kelleher '96 rapped a shot off the post to Thomas' right, and the puck ricocheted to Del Monte who stood unprotected in front of the net. Because Thomas was out of position, Del Monte was able to stuff the puck into the empty net.

Vermont called time-out, hoping to stop the Dartmouth momentum, but the Big Green could not be stopped. At 18:58 remaining in the third period, Del Monte shot another goal on a Dartmouth power play with an assist from Kelleher at the left side of the net. The puck was spinning, but Del Monte managed to get enough control over it to put past Thomas.

"It wasn't pretty, but it went in," Del Monte said.

Dartmouth was put in a position to win the game by a Vermont player's careless play. With 24 seconds left in regulation, Thomas made a save on a shot from the point. With a lot of traffic in front of the net, tempers flared and a pushing match ensued.

As he was being pushed away from the pile of players in front of the net, UVM defenseman Pavel Navrat whacked winger Mike Stacchi '95 over the head with his stick. Navrat received a five minute major slashing penalty and a game misconduct penalty, meaning that the Catamounts would have to play shorthanded for virtually all of overtime.

Coach Roger Demment, noting the team's high morale level after Friday night's game, said, "I wish we could play them in about half an hour, [instead of having to wait for Saturday night]."

Perhaps if the teams had played twice on Friday night, the result of the second game would have been different for the Big Green when they travelled to Vermont.

As it turned out, however, the Catamounts took out their frustration on the Big Green the next night, resulting in a 10-1 drubbing.

Goaltender Ben Heller '97, who had been so strong in the third periods of all four of the Big Green's previous games, never made it to the third Saturday night. He was pulled in the second period after giving up six goals.

Winger Brent Retter '97 scored at 4:28 into the first period to even the game at 1-1, and that was the last time the Big Green lit the red light.

The Big Green were especially hurt on special teams, as the Catamounts scored on 5 of their 11 power play opportunities.

"They had revenge on their minds and came out on the ice flying," Heller said of Saturday night's game. "We only played ten minutes of good hockey before losing our composure and playing undisciplined and sloppy hockey."

"We weren't ready mentally for Saturday night, and we must come to learn that we must fully prepare ourselves for every single game if we are to be consistently successful this year," Dodman said.

The Big Green will next travel to Boston to face Northeastern Sunday.

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