Men's hockey captures first win of the season against Saints

by Stefanie Lazow | 11/22/09 11:00pm

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11.23.09.sports.mHockey2
by Christopher Rhoades and Christopher Rhoades / The Dartmouth

Gaudet scored Dartmouth's third goal of the night off of assists from Evan Stephens '11 and Dustin Walsh '13 as the Big Green (1-6, 1-6 ECAC Hockey) beat the Saints (7-5-1, 3-3 ECAC Hockey) at home by a score of 3-2.

Despite a 3-2 loss to Clarkson University (4-8-1, 1-4-1 ECAC Hockey) on Friday, Dartmouth has now vacated its spot at the bottom of the ECAC standings and stepped above Brown (0-6-1, 0-4-1 ECAC Hockey) to move into 11th place.

"It is a lot of weight off our shoulders to get the first win," goaltender Jody O'Neill '12 said. "It is nice to see that the hard work is finally paying off a little bit."

Scoring its second goal 17:28 into the third period on Saturday, St. Lawrence shortened Dartmouth's lead to a single goal. Despite outshooting the Big Green 12-9 during the third period, however, the Saints could not complete the come-from-behind effort, and Dartmouth finally earned a victory.

O'Neill made 33 saves Saturday and now has a save percentage of .891 this season.

Assistant captain Scott Fleming '11 broke the ice with the first goal of the game four minutes into the first period of play, assisted by Adam Estoclet '11 and captain Peter Boldt '10.

Three minutes later, Doug Jones '12 notched a power-play goal off of a series of passes from Joe Stejskal '11 and Stephens to put Dartmouth up 2-0.

The Big Green went two-for-five on the power play while holding St. Lawrence to just one power play goal on eight opportunities.

"We came out from the first drop of the puck," O'Neill said. "We played with a lot of emotion and passion. Our power play was really clicking and we were generating a lot of offensive chances. We just got a couple of bounces to finally go our way."

Friday's game against Clarkson was not as successful, as the Big Green gave up two third-period goals to the Golden Knights to fall 3-2 for its sixth loss of the season.

"They found a way in the third period to score a couple of goals," Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. "You have to look really closely to see how they went in it's just the breaks of the game."

With 1:16 left in the third period, Dartmouth pulled goaltender James Mello '12, who started the contest, in an effort to erase the 3-2 deficit. A Clarkson holding penalty increased the Dartmouth advantage, but the Big Green failed to capitalize on the six-on-four situation and could not mount a comeback.

Dartmouth's starting line accounted for all of its scoring on Friday, as Walsh notched the first goal of the night during a power play, assisted by Joe Gaudet and Jones.

Gaudet then potted Dartmouth's second goal 12:51 into the second period off of a series of passes from Jones and Walsh.

"We have been playing off and on for three weeks now and I think we are really coming together," Gaudet said about his line. "Dustin Walsh is really good. Jones and I have played together before."

Mello replaced O'Neill in the net against Clarkson for his first career start and second appearance of the season, making 26 saves. He now has a save percentage of .917 on the season.

"[Mello] deserved it," coach Gaudet said. "He came in the second period last game against Quinnipiac and did a really good job. He made good saves."

Outshooting the Golden Knights 37-29, Dartmouth went one-for-seven on the power play and successfully killed four penalties.

"Our power plays are getting going," Joe Gaudet said. "We are just chipping away and we have probably the best team we've had in the last three years. There's not much to show right now, but we are making good strides and starting to put it together."

Looking forward to Thanksgiving weekend, Dartmouth will play non-conference matchups against Providence College (6-4-1, 1-3-1 Hockey East) at 7 p.m. on Friday in Hanover and Harvard (1-4-2, 1-4-2 ECAC Hockey) at 4 p.m. on Sunday in Cambridge, Mass.

"We just have to try and make sure that we play our game and not sit back on our heels," O'Neill said. "Hopefully, we can set the tempo early and good things can happen."

Staff writer Vince Marriott contributed to the reporting of this article.