Big Green beats Union, RPI

| 11/29/09 11:00pm

The Dartmouth women's hockey team earned four valuable points in the Eastern College Athletic Conference standings this weekend, defeating Union College, 5-1, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 3-0. In its two weekend games, Dartmouth (12-8-0, 8-6-0 ECAC) allowed a total of just 18 shots, while the Big Green registered 68 shots across the two games.

Seven Big Green players scored over the weekend, and goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft '14 allowed only one goal in the two games.

With the victories, Dartmouth is now tied for third place with Quinnipiac University in the ECAC standings. Cornell University and Harvard University rank first and second, respectively.

"I think these are very important wins," head coach Mark Hudak said. "They were the difference between being in eighth place and being tied for third."

Against Union (1-22-3, 0-12-2 ECAC), Big Green defenseman Sasha Nanji '13 struck first, firing a shot into the top right corner of the net in the game's 15th minute. Forward Camille Dumais '13 added to the lead early in the second period with her seventh goal of the season at the 3:46 mark.

Nanji and Dumais are the top two point-producers on the team. Nanji leads the team with 22 points, including 12 goals and 10 assists. Dumais follows with 21 points, tallying 8 goals and 13 assists.

It did not take long for the Dutchwomen to respond. Just 11 seconds after Dartmouth's second goal, freshman Taylor Purvis beat Holdcroft, cutting the Big Green's lead in half.

The Big Green's defense shut down the Dutchwomen for the rest of the game and Alyssa Boehm '11, Reagan Fischer '12 and Geneva Kliman '12 all added insurance goals for Dartmouth.

Dartmouth continued its strong power play, converting on one of its three opportunities. Union went 0-for-6 on the power play.

"We knew we were the much stronger team," forward Jenna Hobeika '12 said. "Once we got going, we really dominated them in the second and third periods."

On Saturday afternoon, Dartmouth took on another conference foe in its game against RPI (10-10-1, 7-6-1 ECAC). The Big Green fell, 5-2, when the teams met in Troy, N.Y. two weeks ago.

"There was definitely some revenge there against RPI," Hobeika said. "We wanted to prove that we were the better team."

Dartmouth jumped out to an early lead, when Hobeika scored 4:40 into the game with a man advantage. The goal was confirmed after a video review.

Dumais upped the Big Green's lead to two just 26 seconds after the first intermission, slipping a rebound past Engineers senior goaltender Sonja van der Bliek. Although both teams had good scoring chances in the final two periods, van der Bliek and Holdcroft were able to make a number of important saves.

Facing an empty goal with under a minute to play, Amanda Trunzo '11 wrapped around the RPI net and sneaked the puck across the line. The goal was Trunzo's 11th of the season and secured the 3-0 victory for the Big Green.

"Last time against them, we did not play very well at all," Hudak said. "On Saturday, we played a very good game and we did a super job defensively."

The Dartmouth power play was a crucial element in beating RPI. While both teams had six power play opportunities, the Big Green was able to convert twice and held the Engineers scoreless.

Holdcroft stopped all nine RPI shots, earning her second career shutout. The first shutout of Holdcroft's Dartmouth career came against the University of Connecticut on Jan 2.

"It's really exciting to get the shutout," Holdcroft said. "I wasn't really tested all game and the defense blocked a lot of shots in front of me."

After two tough losses at home last weekend against Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University, Dartmouth has now won three games in a row. One of the key improvements for the Big Green has been on the defensive end of the ice, according to Hudak.

"We are pretty young on defense, so we've gotten better as the season moved along," Hudak said. "But the most important thing is that the team is playing defense together."

Another recipe for the team's success this season has been its balanced offense. So far, eight Big Green skaters have registered more than 10 points.

"With the way coach [Hudak] formulated our lines, it works best when the scoring can come from all the lines," Hobeika said.

The Big Green will travel to Yale University and Brown University this weekend, playing Yale on Friday at 7 p.m. and Brown on Saturday at 4 p.m.