Men's hockey fails to clinch first victory, posting two losses

by Stefanie Lazow | 11/15/09 11:00pm

by Tilman Dette and Tilman Dette / The Dartmouth

The Big Green (0-5, 0-5 ECAC Hockey) now finds itself at the bottom of the ECAC Hockey League with zero points. Princeton (3-2-1, 2-1-1 ECAC Hockey) is in fourth place with 5 points and Quinnipiac (8-1-0, 4-0 ECAC Hockey) leads the league with 8 points.

Only 37 seconds into the overtime period Friday, Cam Macintyre of Princeton ended the game with a single shot, as the puck slid into the Big Green net and Dartmouth lost its fifth straight game of the season.

"We were all pretty excited and we knew that we had a chance to win it or tie it," assistant captain Scott Fleming '11 said. "We didn't expect that we would lose it. We were pretty down afterwards, but we tried to put it behind us."

Dartmouth went down 1-0 during the first period but climbed back to a 1-1 tie with the Tigers late in the second period to force overtime.

Fleming one-timed a pass from Andrew Owsiak '11 into the lower left corner of the net to score Dartmouth's only goal of the night during a power play with 42 seconds remaining in the second period.

"I had always been getting chances and they just weren't going in for me," Fleming, who led the team with 13 goals last year, said. "This week, it finally came. I was really excited and kind of relieved."

The Tigers outshot the Big Green 41 to 24 during the game, dominating each period with an offensive edge. Big Green netminder Jody O'Neill '12 made 39 saves to suppress Princeton's offense and hold the Tigers to two goals.

On Saturday, Dartmouth outshot Quinnipiac 34-32 and notched two power play goals, but still fell 4-2 to the Bobcats in Hamden, Conn.

Back-up goalie James Mello '12 replaced O'Neill in the second and third periods of the game, earning his first minutes of the regular season. Despite making 11 saves during the first period, O'Neill also allowed three goals and now has a save percentage of .879 on the season.

O'Neill was named Rookie of the Year in both the Ivy League and the ECAC last season, and compiled a save percentage of .923.

Mello made 17 saves during his 38 minutes against Quinnipiac, posting a save percentage of .947. Mello played just 30 minutes last year, and posted a save percentage of .818 in the 2008-2009 season.

"We wanted to give [O'Neill] a rest and give Mello a shot," Fleming said. "We just wanted to change it up and give us a little energy."

After quickly finding itself down 3-0 in the first period, the Big Green attempted a comeback by notching two power-play goals during the second period.

Dustin Walsh '13 potted Dartmouth's first goal of the game 5:05 into the second period during a scramble in front of the Bobcats' net.

The Big Green scored its second goal just 10 minutes later, on a 2-on-1 offensive surge set up by a pass from Peter Boldt '10.

Kyle Reeds '11 took a shot and Fleming sunk the rebound into the net with five minutes remaining in the second period.

Dartmouth reduced the score differential to 3-2, but could not complete the come-from-behind effort, as the Bobcats scored their fourth goal eight minutes into the third period, solidifying their lead.

The Big Green is now 5-for-31 on the power play this season. Despite scoring three power-play goals this weekend, Dartmouth still needs to improve its special teams, Fleming said.

"All of the power-play goals were not really set up," he said. "They were either scrambles or broken plays. The penalty kill was a lot better this weekend. We need to keep getting better in all areas and I think we are slowly starting to do that."

The Big Green will continue to search for its first win of the season with upcoming games against Clarkson University (3-8, 0-4 ECAC Hockey) at 7 p.m. on Friday and St. Lawrence University (6-4-1, 2-2 ECAC Hockey) at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hanover.

"St. Lawrence is a pretty quick team, so we are going to work a lot on our defense," Owsiak said. "They move the puck really well, so we will have to deal with that."

With four points, St. Lawrence is currently tied with Yale for fifth place in the ECAC.

Sharing last place in the standings with Dartmouth, Clarkson is the only other team in the ECAC Hockey League that has not yet earned a league win this season.

"We feel we have the potential to do well," Owsiak said. "I think we have a good chance of winning."