Women's hockey loses to St. Lawrence and Clarkson
Dartmouth women's hockey endured a tough weekend, dropping home games to both St. Lawrence University and Clarkson University, 3-0 and 1-0 respectively. Dartmouth's failure to score over the weekend was quite a surprise coming from a unit that has been firing off shots on goal like they were going out of style.
The Big Green offense was off from the very beginning of the weekend, registering only six shots to St. Lawrence's 17 in the first period of Saturday's game.
Particularly indicative of its struggles was one stretch near the end of the first period. Dartmouth finished off a big penalty kill, and went on the power play shortly afterwards with about five minutes left in the period. Dartmouth, with an opportunity to keep momentum shifting in its direction and take the lead against the top-ranked team in the country, instead was stymied by St. Lawrence's aggressive forechecking.
While St. Lawrence regained control and momentum, it was kept off the scoreboard in the first despite peppering Kate Lane '06 for much of the period. Eventually, though, the Saints tallied. To break the scoreless tie, St. Lawrence freshman Carson Duggan fed classmate Marianna Locke with a nifty crossing pass that eluded a Dartmouth defender, and Lane was unable to recover.
Almost before the collective sigh let out by the crowd of 698 was exhaled, there was more unhappiness in Hanover, as the Saints tallied again only 30 seconds later on a similar play, with senior Tracy Muzerall feeding junior Casey Hughes, who slammed home a whizzing one-timer to extend the lead.
The next several minutes were filled with tension, but devoid of scoring. St. Lawrence had many chances, and it felt like Dartmouth could fall further behind at any moment. The crowd seemed to feel the tension, and began taking its frustrations out on the officials. After a tough call on captain Tiffany Hagge '06, a cascade of boos was followed by a "bullsh*t" chant that made up for what it lacked in creativity with volume and duration.
After a few good stops by Lane, St. Lawrence finally scored again with under a minute and a half remaining in the period. While Lane initially made the save, the puck bounced around and eventually trickled into the corner, carrying just enough momentum to get across the line. The crowd's frustration seemed to seep onto the ice as the game progressed, and the scoring dried up as play became a little bit chippy, punctuated by a penalty on St. Lawrence's Kerri Wallace for a hit after the whistle.
The Big Green looked to rebound on Sunday, but faced off against Clarkson, the ECACHL leaders with a 7-2-1 record after twin 8-0 victories over Union two weeks ago.
"We played to tough teams this weekend. One with a lot of talent that capitalized when we made mistakes and another that played hard enough to keep us off the board in scoring and they came away with a one point win," head coach Mark Hudak said.
Hudak seems justified in his distinction between the Clarkson and St. Lawrence games. While St. Lawrence dominated play, one got the sense watching Sunday's game that Dartmouth's players were better than their opponents.
"All of us are going to have to be patient -- the little things which are getting in the way right now will work themselves out in the next couple of weeks," Hudak said.
Sunday's game was decided in a manner representative of the Big Green's weekend. Kimberly McKenney slid a changeup on the Dartmouth goal that snuck through a tangle of legs, sticks and skates before finding its way into the bottom corner of the net.
Dartmouth fought valiantly to pull even, but were unable to find the netting with any of its 16 shots on goal. While Lane made 20 saves for the Big Green, it wasn't enough to get them the victory.
"We need to find some consistency in our play over the 60-minute game and we've got to find a way to get some more pucks to the net ... I liked what I saw with our penalty kill this weekend and, although we didn't score on our power play, we started to generate some more chances," Hudak said.