Women's hockey falls to Princeton, beats Quinnipiac

by John Mitchell | 11/7/05 6:00am

The Dartmouth women's hockey team earned a split in back-to-back games this weekend against Princeton and Quinnipiac. After a disheartening 3-1 loss to Princeton on Friday night at Thompson Arena, the Big Green returned Saturday afternoon and reclaimed their home ice with a convincing 5-2 victory over Quinnipiac.

The weekend started inauspiciously for the Big Green, as Princeton dominated the opening period of the weekend. While the period ended without any scoring for either side, Princeton kept the goal-light operator paying attention for the entire period. The Tigers finished the period with a whopping 13-2 advantage in shots on goal.

Perhaps energized by the thought that despite being grossly out shot, the score was still even, Dartmouth did not appear outmatched in the second period. A Princeton penalty only 34 seconds into the period allowed Dartmouth to settle down. While the power play unit failed in this, its second attempt of the game, the penalty appeared to drastically shift momentum, and the first chunk of the second period was relatively evenly played.

Then, about eight minutes into the period, Shannon Bowman '09 continued the promising start to her Dartmouth hockey career by finding assistant captain Caroline Ethier '06 in front. Ethier slipped it past the Princeton goalie, whom had remained largely untested up to that point, putting Dartmouth ahead despite Princeton's huge advantage in shots.

The crowd roared its approval, and then added insult to injury by pelting the Princeton goaltender with tennis balls. After an announcement that any more revelry would not be tolerated, Safety and Security officers were seen leading a male '07 from the arena.

The Big Green maintained that advantage for much of the period, and played Princeton pretty evenly, as both sides had their fair share of scoring opportunities and sustained solid goalkeeping.

However, penalties soon tripped up the Big Green. Dartmouth sustained a few towards the end of the second period, and at one point had a two-man disadvantage for about a minute. The penalty killing unit almost miraculously prevented any scoring during the stretch, but a moment after one of the penalties elapsed, Princeton found an open player on the doorstep who received the puck cleanly and flipped a shot over the pads of goalie Kate Lane '06 as she slid to cover the corner.

Dartmouth began the third period on the power play and came out of the locker room aggressively. Only 10 seconds into the period Danielle Grundy '06 ripped a slap shot that beat the Princeton goaltender, but was just wide. It was all downhill from there. On the ensuing clearance, Princeton broke through the Big Green defense and scored a shorthanded goal. Emily Nerland '06 tried to tie things up, but was denied by the post, and Princeton capitalized on the ensuing clear, leading to a Dartmouth timeout, where coach Mark Hudak quite animatedly addressed his team. His enthusiasm was not enough to counter the tough bounces the Big Green faced on Friday.

On Saturday, however, the hockey gods were a bit more friendly to the squad's cause. Dartmouth opened sloppily, and spent what seemed like the entire period on the penalty kill. The penalty killing unit gave up a goal on the four two-minute penalties, and the period ended with Dartmouth down 1-0.

Coach Hudak might want to try to remember the locker room speech he gave during the intermission, because the Big Green absolutely dominated the second and third periods. You couldn't go grab a pretzel without missing a goal.

While Dartmouth's penalty woes in the first were difficult to overcome, Quinnipiac's were positively insurmountable. Their six penalties for twelve minutes gave Dartmouth's still-struggling power play plenty of time to practice. While the Big Green controlled the puck and the scoreboard for the second period, the team was quite efficient with the puck, working for good shots, only taking 11 during the period.

Dartmouth equalized early in the second period, on a shot nicely deflected by Grundy. A breakaway shortly afterwards was for naught and there was no scoring for several minutes, but that didn't keep things from being interesting.

The game was a physical one from the start, with a pair of cross checking penalties and a solid check of an unsuspecting Bobcat into the boards from Danielle Grundy '06 that led to a hitting from behind penalty in the first period. However, things escalated just short of midway through the second, and the referee and linesmen had to intervene about halfway through the period. While no gloves were dropped or punches thrown, there was some shoving and a great deal of displeasure being voiced. It was clearly not a fight, but might have reached scuffle status. Both players were sent off for "hitting after the whistle."

The Big Green looked fired up after the fracas. They responded just over a minute later with the go ahead goal. A few minutes after that, they seemed to tally again, but apparently person operating the goal light was only kidding, and play continued.

With the Big Green nursing a one-goal lead, Captain Tiffany Hagge '06 provided some comfort for the crowd. With about four minutes left in the period, she took the puck out from behind Quinnipiac's net and stuffed an insurance goal in the corner. Twenty five seconds into the third, she put away what is certainly one of the prettiest goals of the season for the team. Bowman took the puck in the Dartmouth half and slung a nice pass up to Grundy around center ice, who carried it for a moment and then flipped a pass over the Quinnipiac defense to a streaking Hagge who beat the goalie to the far side. After Ethier scored her second of the weekend a few minutes later, the Dartmouth scoring was done, and the game was out of reach.

After a tough loss and a lackluster first period, the Big Green showed some resiliency and ability in the final forty minutes.

"We learned a lot from [the Princeton] game...it was nice to see our team bounce back after last night," Ethier said.

Hagge also thought the weekend served as a learning experience for the team.

"Some of our younger players got a taste of how physical the play is in college, and I don't think they were ready for that. As the game went on, though, we got tougher, but by that point it was too little too late. We are a much more talented team than Princeton, we just didn't show it, but I am confident it will be a different game the next time we play them."

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