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The Dartmouth
April 15, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men's hockey opens season with tie and loss on the road

The men's hockey team opened its regular season this past weekend in disappointing fashion with a tie and a loss in two road games against the University of Illinois-Chicago Flames.

The Big Green fought to a 3-3 tie at UIC Pavilion on Friday night, but came up on the short end of an 8-6 decision on Saturday night.

None of the weekend results will affect the Big Green in the ECAC standings, since UIC plays in the CCHA, and is therefore a non-conference opponent.

But the team had hoped to start the regular season on an up note, and Saturday night's 8-6 shootout is especially troubling, given the team's stated desire to play a more defensive brand of hockey.

Dartmouth 3, UIC 3

Friday night's contest featured both strong special teams and strong goaltending from both squads.

UIC jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Chuck Mindel beat goalie Scott Baker '97 with a powerplay tally 3:42 into the first period, but Brent Retter '97 pulled the Big Green even with a powerplay score of his own less than three minutes later.

After the Big Green went on top 2-1, thanks to a goal from Bill Kelleher '96, it appeared Dartmouth would hold the lead until the end of the period.

But the Flames caught the Big Green napping, and evened the game at 2-2 with just two seconds left in the first stanza.

UIC scored the only goal of the second period, a powerplay goal by Al Dunbar about halfway through the period.

The third period was also quiet, with only one goal scored, but fortunately for the Big Green, it was Kelleher's second tally of the game. Kelleher's goal tied the game 3-3 with 8:20 left in the third, and the contest ended that way.

Both teams had opportunities to win the game in the five-minute overtime period, but strong goaltending by both Baker and UIC's Adam Lord ensured the final result of the contest would be a 3-3 tie.

The bright spots for the Big Green included the solid play of Baker in net, and Kelleher's offensive display. Kelleher was clearly the best player on the ice Friday night.

In addition, four freshmen made their collegiate debuts for the Big Green -- Ryan Burkart, Ryan Chaytors, Matt Giedt and Scott Peach.

UIC 8, Dartmouth 6

If the Big Green defensive-oriented system was successful in producing a low-scoring affair on Friday night, then the system unraveled Saturday night, as Dartmouth lost an 8-6 slugfest.

The shootout will not be remembered for strong defensive play by either side, as sloppy play and breakdowns by the defense were a constant for both teams.

The first signs of trouble for the Big Green in this contest came in the first period, when, despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead and generally dominating play for nearly all of the period, Dartmouth could only manage to be tied 2-2 with UIC after the first.

Retter, for the second straight night, opened the scoring for the Big Green, this time with a powerplay goal just 37 seconds into the game. Nine minutes later, Curtis Wilgosh '99 -- playing in his first-ever collegiate regular season game -- extended the Dartmouth lead to 2-0, with an assist from fellow freshman Giedt.

But UIC quickly tied the score with two goals, one from Mike Peron at 16:52 of the first, and the second from Chad Korczak with just 30 seconds left in the period.

Each team also scored two goals in the second, to make the score 4-4 after two, with the Dartmouth scores coming from Kelleher and Darren Wercinski '97, who played a solid game.

Just 53 seconds into the third, Jon Sturgis '98 scored to give Dartmouth a 5-4 lead, and Spencer was replaced in net by Lord, who had started for UIC the night before.

The move seemed to work, lighting a spark under the UIC squad, who scored three straight goals to make it 7-5. But just when it appeared UIC was really wresting the momentum from Dartmouth, Wercinski beat Lord for his second goal of the night, and cut the lead to 7-6.

For the last few minutes of the game, UIC tried to just hang on and protect their one-goal lead. The Big came tantalizingly close to tying the game with about three minutes left, but Charlie Retter '98 ripped a shot off the goalpost.

Finally, with just over a minute left, Dunbar scored a goal off a rebound that extended UIC's lead to 8-6, and dealt a deathblow to any Dartmouth chances of winning the game.

The Big Green open the ECAC conference schedule this weekend with road games against Union and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, before returning home next weekend.