Rampaging Big Green dethrones No. 1 BC
Mike Oulette '06 one-timed a pass from classmate Hugh Jessiman '06 into the back of the net at 2:39 in an unexpected overtime period to give men's hockey a shocking come-from-behind win against top-ranked Boston College.
Dartmouth (6-3, 4-2 ECAC) knocked off its second top-10 opponent in the midst of a five-game winning streak (Dartmouth beat No. 9 Cornell on Nov. 16). Every Big Green win has come in the friendly confines of Thompson Arena.
Boston College (9-2-1, 6-1 Hockey East) now has quite a distaste for the Granite State. The Eagles' first loss of the season came against the University of New Hampshire, which was ranked No. 2 at the time. After this loss, the Eagles' two-week hold on the number-one spot is in severe jeopardy come next Monday's poll releases.
While it was a relatively slow night for Dartmouth's second-line (mostly because of the emerging third line), the unit had the final say in a tight and physical contest.
Boston College goaltender Matti Kaltiainen couldn't turn his head in time for the game-winning blast as Jessiman sent an unbelievable pass across the net to Oulette on the right wing.
"I don't feel like we have to wait a couple of years before we can step up our play and contribute," Oulette said on behalf of the nine Big Green freshmen. "We can do it right now and continue to do it all four years."
The Eagles' highly touted freshman, Patrick Eaves, notched a goal that seemed to put the visitors in control. Eaves' ninth goal of the seaon came just 19 seconds into a third period that began in a 3-3 tie, the second time the Eagles converted on the remainder of a power play after a 20-minute break.
The first time the Eagles recharged its power play and hopped back on the ice with a score, Ryan Shannon found the back of the net with a wrister for an early two-goal lead.
Max Guimond '06, however, re-energized the Thompson Arena faithful about five minutes later. Guimond patiently put a backhand past Kaltiainen upon receiving a quick pass across the net from Eric Przepiorka '06, marking the first of two critical rookie-to-rookie connections for Dartmouth.
Later in the second, Ned Havern launched a rocket that dinged the crossbar and went down into the goal, giving Boston College a 3-1 lead. Dartmouth, however, rekindled the resiliency that the team had displayed against Yale last Friday night, scoring two unanswered goals within a minute to tie the game at three.
"The fans really hung in there when we were down 3-1, and we got some big goals and some big plays. This is a huge win for our program, it ranks right up there," Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said.
The usual suspects chipped away at the lead for the Big Green. Co-captain Trevor Byrne '03 sent a slapshot through traffic and past Kaltiainen, then Lee Stempniak '05 picked up his 10th goal in just nine games with a classic darting move to the center, unhampered by the opposing defense.
"We broke down in parts, because Dartmouth was forcing the play," Boston College head coach Jerry York said.
"They played well, shots on goal are deceiving. You've got to create red lights for your offense."
Boston College recorded 40 shots on goal, but lit the lamp just four times, but it wasn't enough as Nick Boucher '03 clamped down and made 19-straight saves through the third period and overtime. The Big Green, meanwhile, put up only 16 shots.
Though Boucher and Darren Gastrock '04 have been alternating games in the net, the duo seems to be giving the Big Green what it needs when it needs it. Against the Eagles, Boucher gave up a few early goals, but locked up the net late in the game to allow the Big Green to bounce back.
Nathan Szymanski '05, solid on the forecheck and penalty kill throughout the game, knocked repeatedly on Kaltiainen's door, but the Finnish netminder seemed to have his number 11. Finally, it was his linemate Guimond who answered the call for the game-knotting goal.
Guimond notched his second goal of the night and third in past two games by sending the puck off of a BC defender, tying the game at four.
"It's the best feeling in the world, I mean, we beat the number one team in the country," Guimond said. "My linemates played very well tonight and I think that's why good things happened."
Dartmouth successfully killed off a late penalty to Mike Murray after the Eagles took consecutive, unpenalized cheap shots on Stempniak and Jarrett Sampson '06. Oulette won a huge faceoff to Stempniak who sent the puck down to the other end, allowing an ensuing overtime period and Dartmouth victory.
The Big Green faces the University of Massachussetts Minutemen this Saturday on the road, while the Eagles return home for a two-game set with the Maine Black Bears.