Big Green men's hockey sweeps through ECAHL foes

by Evan J. Meyerson | 11/13/06 6:00am

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Men's hockey looked rejuvenated this weekend, toppling both Colgate and 11th-ranked Cornell on the road.
by Asafu Suzuki / The Dartmouth

Following a 6-3 victory over Colgate on Friday, Dartmouth (4-2-0, 3-2-0 ECACHL) took down the 11th-ranked team in the nation, dominating Cornell until the last minute of the third period. Led throughout the weekend by netminder Mike Devine '08 and freshman phenom T.J. Galiardi '10, Dartmouth, with its quick-strike offense, accumulated an early lead in both games.

Colgate (3-6-2, 0-3-1 ECACHL) found itself out of contention by the end of the first period of play in the weekend's opening contest. After Colgate's Jesse Winchester was called for elbowing 0:39 into the game, Galiardi, with help from Kevin Swallow '09 and Connor Shields '09, opened the floodgates for Dartmouth with a power play score at 1:01. The Big Green lead was extended to 2-0 barely one minute later when Brandon Harrington '09 followed his own shot, capitalizing on a rebound put-back.

Dartmouth was far from finished roughing up Colgate's defense, as assistant captain David Jones '08 capped a scorching opening frame with his second goal of the season, giving Dartmouth a commanding 3-0 advantage. Then it was Jon Grecu '08's turn to join the offensive party.

Grecu continued the onslaught eight minutes into the second period, potting his first goal of the year from the short-side. The Calgary native made it two on the night at 0:59 into the final frame, beating Colgate junior goalie Mark Dekanich and putting Dartmouth up 5-0.

A flurry of goals by Colgate cut Dartmouth's lead to 5-2, but Dan Shribman '07 iced it for the Big Green with his second tally of the season. Devine, who has been stellar in all but one game for Dartmouth, finished the night with a career-high 37 saves.

With one victory under its belt, the Big Green still arrived in Ithaca on Saturday as an underdog. Yet once again first period scoring gave Dartmouth enough breathing room to hold on for victory.

The Big Green connected on two power play strikes in the first stanza, building a 2-0 lead by the second period. Nick Johnson '08 sent a perfect pass over to an awaiting Ben Lovejoy '06 in front of the Cornell net. Lovejoy beat sophomore goaltender Troy Davenport for the Big Green's first goal at 7:58. With 21 seconds left in the opening period, Galiardi recorded his team-leading fifth goal of the young season off a pass from Shields.

Devine led the defensive front once again with a number of big saves, holding the Big Red scoreless until the final minute of the contest. After team captain Tanner Glass '07 made the score 3-0 on an empty netter at 17:38 in the third period, Cornell's struggling offense came alive to give Dartmouth quite a scare.

Tony Romano and Raymond Sawada notched back-to-back goals within 20 seconds of each other, making the score 3-2 with 32 seconds left. Nevertheless, it was too little, too late for the Big Red, as Dartmouth handed Cornell (5-1-0, 3-1-0 ECACHL) its first loss of the year.

The Big Green moves into a tie for second-place in the points standings with Cornell, trailing only undefeated St. Lawrence.

Jones attributed this weekend's success to the team's strong practice regimen. "We put the last two games against SLU and Clarkson behind us and focused on this weekend's games," said Jones. "We knew that the hard work during practice would translate into wins during the weekend."

Galiardi agreed, saying, "Throughout the week, we all knew we had to bear down and really practice how we were going to play on the weekend. We've had the mentality all year that everyone on the team is a leader, and it really showed this weekend. Everyone played their specific role exceptionally well."

The freshman credited his coaches and linemates, as well as high personal expectations with his early contributions this season. "The coaches have given me an opportunity to play in some key situations and with the support of my teammates I've been able to score some goals," said Galiardi. "I've always expected the most from myself and that didn't change when I came here."

Dartmouth returns to Hanover for next weekend's face-off against Yale (4-1-0, 1-1-0 ECACHL) on Friday and Brown (1-2-2, 0-1-1 ECACHL) on Saturday at Thompson Arena. "We're going to continue to improve in all areas," said Jones, referring to this weekend's contests. We will have to continue to work on our special teams because they are going to be a determining factor." Both games begin at 7 p.m.

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