Men's hockey to open Ivy, ECAC seasons in Thompson
The Dartmouth men's hockey team faces off in its first regular season two-game series this weekend on home ice against Brown and No. 13 Harvard. Conference points, Ivy pride and national rankings are all on the line for the Big Green in these early-season contests.
Last weekend, Brown upset then No. 9 Harvard in the first game for both travel partners. As a result, the Crimson dropped to No. 13 in the polls and the Bears earned some respect from the pollsters, getting 27 votes to Dartmouth's 18.
Brown's senior goaltender Yann Danis posted his first, but probably not his last, shutout of the season. He was named the Division I men's player of the week by USCHO.com for his stellar 20-save performance at Harvard's Bright Hockey Center.
Season-opening losses to the Bears have become a shameful tradition for Harvard hockey, this being the third in a row. Harvard can take some solace in its own recent three-year tradition against Dartmouth. The Crimson holds a 6-1-1 advantage over the Big Green during that stretch.
That record includes postseason play, but does not include Dartmouth's sneak peek at this season's Harvard squad. The Big Green hosted the Crimson at Thompson Arena for a preseason scrimmage but came out on the losing side of a tight game, 4-1.
Despite Harvard's opening lapse against Brown, the Crimson remains one of the toughest teams in the ECAC. Harvard will be matched up against the 0-3-2 Vermont Catamounts on Friday night while Dartmouth grinds it out against Brown, setting the table for what the Crimson hopes is an easy four-point weekend on the road.
Brown may have lost some depth up front to graduation, but the Bears still give the nod to one of the best goaltenders in college hockey game in and game out. After the loss, Harvard head coach Mark Mazzoleni implied that screening Danis may be one way to beat him. "[Danis] saw every puck," Mazzoleni said. "Whenever he saw it, there was no traffic in front."
The Bears also have four players on their roster who were born before the 1980s even began. Dartmouth's oldest player is goaltender Darren Gastrock '04. However, the Big Green's netminder this weekend will most likely be Dan Yacey '05 who showed flashes of brilliance against Holy Cross last Saturday night in a 2-1 victory.
Yacey proved himself in the Big Green's sole postseason win last year with a 26- save effort against Brown in Albany, N.Y. Dartmouth posted 44 shots in that game, getting four of them past Danis.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. on Friday when Dartmouth faces Brown and as well on Saturday when Harvard comes to town.