Women's hockey posts first two-game weekend sweep

| 11/22/09 11:00pm
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11.23.09.sports.wHockey
by Akikazu Onda and Akikazu Onda / The Dartmouth

After splitting the last two weekends at home, the Big Green (4-3-1, 4-3-1 ECAC Hockey) highlighted its offensive prowess on the road this weekend, taking control early in both matches and peppering both the Bears and the Bulldogs with shots.

"It was great getting the 100th point this weekend, but coming out of the weekend with two great wins was the best part," Cunningham said.

On Friday, Dartmouth traveled to Providence, R.I., where the team picked up two goals in the final five minutes of play to dispatch Brown (1-6-3, 0-5-3 ECAC Hockey) with a 5-2 victory.

Amanda Trunzo '11 extended the Big Green's advantage to two, while Jenna Hobeika '12 followed up on a power play with her first goal of the season with 30 seconds left on the clock.

Dartmouth dominated the shot battle, as the Big Green sprayed the net in the final frame with 21 shots to finish the match with a 53-22 advantage.

"Offensively, I think we did very well," co-captain Sarah Parsons '10 said. "We scored when we needed to and controlled the puck in the other teams' zones."

Cunningham added that the whole team recognized that it needed to capitalize on the slew of offensive opportunities offered.

"We practiced getting shots on net and crashing the net all week, which really paid off this weekend," she said.

Dartmouth set the tone for the match with its attacks in the opening period. The Big Green outshot the Bears, 20-8, and had two goals by the first intermission.

Brown regrouped in the second frame, slashing the deficit in half by seven minutes into the period. While play remained more even, Dartmouth answered Brown's comeback with a strike by Parsons to push the lead back up to two.

The Big Green faced five Brown power plays and successfully turned them all away. Despite scoring the closing goal on a man-advantage play, Dartmouth continued to struggle on its own power plays, capitalizing on only one of eight opportunities. Although the Big Green did not convert as many advantages into points, Cunningham stressed that the team is still improving its power play strategies.

"Our power play is continually getting better," she said. "Each game we are getting more comfortable and seeing a little bit more success. We just need to keep at it, get lots of shots and continue to move the puck quickly."

Veteran forwards paved the way for a Big Green victory against the Bulldogs on Saturday, as Cunningham and Parsons each notched a pair of goals in a 6-2 win over Yale (1-7-1, 1-7-0 ECAC Hockey).

Cunningham broke open the scoreboard for Dartmouth in the first frame, while Parsons followed up in the second and final periods to seal the win for the Big Green.

Dartmouth commenced its offensive charge just 30 seconds into the game, when Yale netminder Genny Ladiges deflected a stab from Hobeika at the net off a rebound. Ladiges could not contain Cunningham, however, who delivered an unassisted goal two minutes into the contest.

She followed up on the goal eight minutes later to double Dartmouth's lead before the beginning of the second period.

The blueliners contained the majority of the play to Yale's zone in the first period, as the Bulldogs only managed three shots on goal, with the first shot coming a full nine minutes into the match.

Despite overpowering the Bulldogs in shots, 17-3, in the opening period, the Big Green was relatively evenly matched during the final two periods.

Yale notched a point in the second period with an unassisted power play strike by Aleca Hughes four minutes into the frame. Kelly Foley '12 and Parsons halted Yale's rising momentum, as each capitalized on extra-skater opportunities to increase Dartmouth's advantage to 4-1.

The Bulldogs edged closer to the Big Green with a last-minute strike before the second intermission to bring the score to 4-2, but Dartmouth pulled away again when Trunzo redirected a pass from Parsons to find the back of the net, five minutes into the third period.

Yale pulled Ladiges out from the pipes in the final minutes of play, leaving the net exposed to Parsons, who swooped in and handed the Bulldogs an empty-netter with less than three minutes left in regulation time.

Dartmouth bettered its performance in the extra-skater situation, converting two out of four power plays. Yale went one-for-five. The Big Green also held the edge in shots, 37-25.

"We went into the weekend and played a solid 60 minutes in both games and the results of the games showed that," Cunningham said. "We came out flying in both games and really focused on putting positive pressure on the other team."

The weekend victories were crucial for Dartmouth, as this was the longest the Big Green had gone in a season without back-to-back wins since the 1990-1991 campaign.

"The team is very excited after winning back-to-back games," Parsons said. "It is definitely a confidence booster for us and we are feeling good about how we played."

Dartmouth will have little time to recuperate as the team travels on Wednesday to Cambridge, Mass., to face off against Harvard at the Bright Hockey Center.