Women's icers sweep Niagara
Niagara University came to Hanover this weekend armed with a goalie from the Canadian under-22 National Team and hopes of containing the aggressive offense of the Ivy League Champion Dartmouth Women's Ice Hockey team. That is just what Niagara did in the first period of the two-game series this past weekend, jumping out to a 1-0 lead. Once the referee dropped the puck on center ice to begin the second period, however, the Big Green put on a clinic. Dartmouth outscored Niagara 11-1 over the next five periods of play and outshot the Purple Eagles 115-24 in the series.
"Their goalie was stellar in the beginning," Carrie Sekela '01 said. "But with so many shots it was just a matter of time before" Dartmouth's offense broke open the game.
Jen Wiehn '01 scored first for Dartmouth off an assist from Correne Bredin '02 well into the second period, tying up the game at 14:29. The offense then opened up in the third, scoring five goals on 26 shots. Wiehn scored a second goal early in the third, once again off an assist from Bredin. Sekela pushed the Dartmouth lead to 3-1 on a one-on-one breakaway after intercepting a Niagara clear pass. Niagara managed to score two minutes later, keeping themselves in the game as they closed to within one goal. With less than three minutes left to play, Niagara's superstar goalie Tania Pinelli broke down under a flurry of Dartmouth shots on goal. Kathleen O'Keefe '99, Lauren Trottier '01 and Sarah Halsell '99 each netted goals to make the final score 6-2 in the game, although the game was much closer than the final score indicated. Dartmouth goalie Meaghan Cahill '01 made 14 saves on the day, while Pinelli made 53 stops in net for the Purple Eagles.
"It was hard to stay focused over three periods when they were getting shots off something like every 10-15 minutes," Cahill said. "I tried to be active and move around more so I could feel involved in the flow of the game."
Dartmouth dominated the second game of the weekend series on Sunday, allowing Niagara only half as many shots while using more back up players toward the end of the game. Bredin scored to open up the game with a goal halfway through the first period. Kristin King '02 tallied her first goal of the series four minutes later off an assist from Kristen Romberg '01 to give the Big Green a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Sekela scored both of Dartmouth's goals in the second period, once converting on a power play opportunity. The power play was much improved for the Big Green in the second outing, as Dartmouth was two-of-four with a woman advantage after going 0-for-5 the previous afternoon. Romberg scored Dartmouth's final goal with under two minutes left to play. Cahill made six saves and Kate Cochran added two saves in the third period to shut the Purple Eages out.
Pinelli was forced to make 49 stops on Sunday, pushing her weekend total to 104 saves out of 115 shots on net, an unbelievable amount of rubber which shows just how dominant the Big Green offense was.
"This weekend was great preparation for us," Cahill said. "I'm ready to actually be part of the game and the offense got the feel of scoring goals. Everyone is really confident."
Next weekend Dartmouth hits the road to play Brown and Providence, both tough opponents. In fact, the Big Green will face a member of the 1998 Olympic gold medal squad in goal when they play Providence. Brown defenseman Tara Mounsey, just a sophomore, was also a member of the squad that won gold in Nagano.
"We gave Pinelli confidence in the beginning of game one we can't let that happen against Providence. We need to get some goals in the net quickly to set the tone for the game," Sekela said.
"This weekend was perfect for us," Cahill said. "I'm so ready to actually be a part of the game and the offense got the feel of scoring goals. Everyone is really confident."