W. Hockey takes on Olympians
This was possibly the biggest weekend in the history of the women's hockey program. And tonight, it gets bigger.
Enter the Brown Bears. Last year's women's ice hockey ECAC champs. Two huge wins (12-2 and 6-0) over Dartmouth last season. No wins for the Big Green to Brown since February, 1993.
Enter the Providence Friars. Held a 24-2-1 all-time record over Dartmouth. Second to Brown in the ECAC last season.
Intimidating statistics, but the Dartmouth women's ice hockey team took it all in stride in its opening games this past weekend, capturing a 2-1 victory over Brown and a 4-1 win over Providence.
Has any weekend ever topped this one?
"No, never," said Dartmouth Head Coach George Crowe. "It certainly puts a lot more pressure on us."
That pressure grows as the USA Women's national team comes to Thompson Arena to take on the Big Green in an exhibition game that will show just how far Dartmouth has come.
Dartmouth wasted little time against Brown in tallying their first goal of the season. A Brown penalty to Marcie Deering early in the first period gave the Big Green an opportunity to put away its first goal of the season.
Tri-captain Sarah Hood '98, Dartmouth's leading-scorer last season, used a pass from freshman Jen Wiehn '01 to light the lamp for the Big Green, sinking her slapshot in the top right corner at 2:35.
The Bears never recovered from that first goal as key saves in the first period by Dartmouth goalie Meaghan Cahill '01, appearing in her first career game, gave Dartmouth the support it needed to hold onto its lead.
Freshmen Lauren Trottier '01 and Wiehn combined strong passing skills and shooting precision to claim Dartmouth's second goal of the afternoon late in the second period. Trottier's goal came with just under six minutes left in the period and gave the Big Green a 2-0 lead.
Brown's top two returning scorers, Jordan Jiskra and Jill Graat, paired up to put away a third period goal for the Bears. However, Dartmouth's strong play held them to that lone goal, forcing Brown to accept a 2-1 loss, their first loss to Dartmouth since 1993.
Sunday's game against the Friars proved a fight to the death for the Big Green.
During an early five-on-three situation, Hood snagged the puck from teammates Liz Macri '01 and Jaime Arndt '00 and knocked in her second goal of the weekend, giving the Big Green a 1-0 advantage.
With six minutes left in the first period, Providence's Myia Yates skated the puck around from behind the net and flipped it over Cahill's shoulder to even the score.
Facing a 1-1 tie, Dartmouth did exactly what it needed to take back the game. Three minutes later, junior Kathleen O'Keefe's '99 shot found the back of the net as Dartmouth held on from there.
"I feel really good about the wins and the team," Hood said. "We can play a lot better once we get into the systems and understand what we are supposed to do. If we can beat these teams, we can really aim high this year."
Much of Dartmouth's success this weekend was due to the calm play of freshmen goalie Cahill, who was solid in goal.
The competition gets tougher for Dartmouth's next endeavor, the U.S. National team.
"It will be a good experience for us," Crowe said. "They'll learn that the National team is a little quicker and a little stronger. They don't let up. They are all still trying to get a spot on the team."
The exhibition, which will help decide the Olympic roster, is one of five competitions against collegiate teams for the national team. They have shut out all of the other four collegiate squads, and defeated the ECAC All-Star team 10-1 on October 18.
"I am really excited to have a chance to play them again," said Hood, who played on the ECAC All-Star team. "It is always fun to play against good competition, but more than that I think it will be a better game this time. We may not be a group of so-called all-stars, but we are a team of pretty solid hockey players."