Men's hockey sends Brown, Yale home with losses

by Evan Meyerson | 11/21/05 6:00am

If only the hockey season could have begun on November 12. That is what Dartmouth icers are saying to themselves after sweeping through Brown and Yale this weekend, extending their winning streak to three games. The Big Green (3-4, ECACHL 3-4), led by a career performance from team captain Mike Ouellette '06, outlasted the Bears 3-2 and, routed the Bulldogs 9-4.

Ouellette, who netted the eventual game-winner against Brown (2-3, ECACHL 2-3) on Friday, dominated Yale (0-6, ECACHL 0-6) the following evening. The British Columbia-native not only tallied the winning goal, he notched five points on three scores -- all by the 35th minute of the contest. Ouellette completed the third hat trick of his illustrious career with 0:46 left in the second period, giving Dartmouth all the scoring it would need with five goals.

The captain's most important score was undoubtedly his first one which knotted the game at two with nine minutes remaining in the opening period. After Connor Shields '09 put Dartmouth up 1-0 four minutes into the frame, Yale's Jean-Francrois Boucher quickly answered back 23 seconds later, and the Bulldogs took a surprising lead at 7:56 on a goal by senior Jeff Hristovski. Unlike the Big Green of the season's first four games, Dartmouth didn't let itself brood over its relinquished lead, and on a power play midway through the first, Ouellette, in the clutch fashion expected of leaders, tied the score.

Head coach Bob Gaudet applauded his team's captain, pointing to an outstanding work ethic as the key to his personal success, as well as that of his teammates. "Mike works so hard," said the coach. "He is the leader of this team and serves as a great role model for all the guys in the locker room with his will and passion for the game."

Ouellette's fun was far from over, as he potted an impressive shorthanded effort 1:37 after his game-tier, propelling Dartmouth ahead of the Bulldogs, 3-2. He would assist on a goal by Nick Johnson '08 before the close of the opening frame, hit the triple 46 seconds into the second and assist once more on a score by Grant Lewis '07 with five minutes left in the second. By the time Dartmouth had garnered a commanding 6-2 advantage, Ouellette had recorded a point on five consecutive scores.

"The bounces just went my way," said Ouellette. "My line created some huge opportunities for me."

Johnson added his second goal of the game, tipping in a slapper by Garret Overlock '06. Like his captain, the sophomore standout would tally his fifth point of the game on an assist to David Jones '08 in the third period. Jones' goal prompted the amused crowd to rise to its feet for the ninth time as Dartmouth assumed total control.

"Yale gave us open shots, but everyone was going, Mike buried everything he had, and I had some good looks," said Johnson.

While its 9-2 lead was never in jeopardy, the same instances of defensive sloppiness that plagued the Big Green during the first period, and the first four games, returned, and Yale scored twice more on goals by senior Joe Zappala and sophomore Matthew Thomey.

Both Johnson and Ouellette agreed that, although the team's offense put forth a colossal effort, outshooting Yale 45-24, there are faults that can be corrected before next weekend. "We had let downs in the first and third, but we'll learn from our mistakes," said Johnson. "We definitely come out of this weekend more confident as a team."

Coach Gaudet refused to hark on negatives, noting that, "Yale is a skilled hockey club."

"It was one of those nights where the puck had eyes, and our passion and fundamentals led us to a win," continued the elated coach.

On Friday night, Dartmouth flew out of the gates for three first period goals against Brown. Eric Przepiorka started things off early for the Big Green, beating the Bears' sophomore goalie, Adam D'Alba 1:17 into the first. Seven minutes later, Jones would make the lead 2-0 in favor of Dartmouth on a power play goal. Finally, Ouellette, with a bit of foreshadowing, recorded the Big Green's third score of the period on a tip-in of Jones' slapper from the point with four seconds remaining in the frame.

Brown senior Jarrett Robertson would put the Bears on the board at 12:30 in the second period with a juke move on goalie Mike Devine '08. Dartmouth's play continued to be a bit lethargic throughout the rest of the second and into the third frame.

The Big Green would have an opportunity to send the Bears to hibernation with six minutes left in the third as two Brown icers headed to the sinbin. Dartmouth could not convert on the 5-on-3, keeping the game within reach for the men from Providence.

At 14:38, Tanner Glass '07 became entangled in a fray directly in front of the Brown's bench. The enraged forward took on three Bears until referees were able to quell the bout. Glass received a game misconduct, and Dartmouth was given five minutes of penalty time. Inexplicably, no Brown player was penalized in the altercation.

Lewis was called for a penalty at 16:00, giving Brown a 5-on-3 advantage and, presumably, its final opportunity to pull closer. The Bears' Sean Hurley did not disappoint, scoring Brown's second goal of the game and bringing his team within one at 17:05.

As it appeared shoddy defense might once again haunt the dreams of Big Green icers, Dartmouth stepped up in the games final three minutes with timely stops. The Big Green held on for a 3-2 victory and its second win of the year.

The newly-upbeat Big Green will continue its ECACHL schedule with a demanding weekend in New York. Dartmouth will visit No. 17 St. Lawrence (9-3, ECACHL 5-1) on Friday and Clarkson (8-3-1, ECACHL 4-1-1) on Saturday.

Both games are set for 7 p.m.