M. hockey hits stride over break
If not for a fourth-line freshman on the Northeastern Huskies, Dartmouth might have gone into their holiday break as the winners of three straight. The Big Green posted dramatic overtime wins against No.11 Maine on November 25th and Merrimack College on December 15th to improve their record to 3-6-0 this season, and squandered a 2-1 third period lead against Northeastern on December 9th.
Against Maine, Nick Boucher '03 had one of the biggest games of his Dartmouth career, making 31 saves en route to a 2-1 overtime win. Heading into the game, Dartmouth had lost its previous three games in a row; and suffered from lackluster defense and goaltending.
As the scored indicates, it was mainly a goaltender's battle as Maine goalie Mike Morrison made 36 stops between the pipes for the Black Bears.
The first period of the game was a defensive battle with both teams fending off attacks from the offenses. At the end of a scoreless first period, the Black Bears had outshot the Big Green 9-6 and were setting the stage for a classic.
At 15:06 into the second, Dartmouth would have a chance with a 4-on-3 power play of their own. After setting up in Maine's zone, Pete Summerfelt '03 hit Trevor Byrne '03 with a cross-ice pass at the blueline. Byrne shot from the point and beat Mike Morrison for his first goal of the season to give the Big Green a 1-0 advantage.
Maine would be unable to answer until halfway through the final period of regulation. With a 5-on-4 power play, Maine defenseman Doug Janik's shot was redirected by Chris Heisten out in front to tie the game at 1-1.
In the closing seconds of the period both goaltenders made huge saves to send the game into overtime. Morrison knocked away a 2-on-1 breakaway shot from Trevor Byrne with 20 seconds on the clock, and then Boucher stopped a Lucas Lawson shot with just 10 ticks left.
In overtime, Summerfelt's first goal of the year at the 3:40 mark capped the victory for the Big Green.
As in the game against Maine, Dartmouth opened the scoring in the first period against the Huskies. Senior Michael Byrne scored off a rebound to give Dartmouth a 1-0 lead eight minutes into the first period.
Northeastern's Chris Lynch responded two minutes later with a backhanded shot that beat Boucher to make it 1-1. When the first period came to a close, the Big Green had outshot Northeastern 12-10.
The second period was a chess match with a lot of action in the neutral zone, but without much consistent time spent in either team's zone.
With 2:10 left in the second, Gary Hunter '02 took a shot through traffic that beat Northeastern goaltender Mike Gilhooly, giving Hunter his first goal since his freshman season.
The third period spotlight belonged to Northeastern freshman Eric Ortlip, who single-handedly brought his team back. With 4:12 gone in the third, Ortlip put a shot past Boucher for his first career goal. Just seventeen seconds later, Ortlip charged in from the blueline and put a quick wrist shot past Boucher to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead.
On the following Friday, Dartmouth returned to it's winning ways, namely by going to overtime, to defeat Merrimack College 4-3. Kent Gillings '03 played the role of the overtime hero for Dartmouth this time, beating Warrior goaltender Tom Welby on a two-on-one chance for the game winner.
After a scoreless first period, the second period was not as quiet. The second period was marked by four goals and ten penalties, including eight against the Big Green.
Five minutes in, Dartmouth went on a 1:20 five-on-three advantage and came out of it with a 2-0 lead. The first goal took only eight seconds with captain Mike Maturo '02 redirecting a shot by Summerfelt past Warrior netminder Tom Welby. The second power play goal came 37 seconds later courtesy of Trevor Byrne.
At 9:58, Jamie Herrington '02 put what appeared to be the final nail in Merrimack coffin with a shorthanded goal.
After Herrington's goal made it 3-0, the Warriors fought back with special teams.
On a five-on-three Greg Lauze redirected a shot by teammate Joey Gray past Boucher to make it 3-1.
At 6:17 of the third period, Anthony Aquino caught Boucher out of the net, and lit the lamp for Merrimack's second the power play goal of the night.
At the midpoint of the period, the Warriors cashed in on another power play opportunity. This time, Ron Mongeau banged home a rebound to tie the game at 3 with 9:09 left.