Hockey underperforms in holiday set, continuing slide

by Stefanie Lazow | 11/28/11 11:00pm

The Dartmouth men's hockey team led 3-2 early in the third period of its game against the University of Vermont on Sunday afternoon, but UVM (3-8-1, 1-6-1 Hockey East) notched three late goals to eliminate the advantage and earn a 5-3 non-conference win over the Big Green. The Big Green (4-5-1, 3-3-1 ECAC) suffered the loss in Burlington, Vt., after a 3-3 overtime stalemate in Hanover against Harvard University on Friday.

Doug Jones '12 gave Dartmouth its first and only lead against the Catamounts four minutes into the third period. The one-point advantage lasted for just over a minute, however, before UVM drilled the first of three unanswered goals. An empty-net goal with less than three seconds remaining in the period sealed the Catamounts' victory.

UVM lost eight out of its last nine games before facing Dartmouth. The Big Green outshot the Catamounts, 29-28, but failed stop the UVM offense in the final frame.

"They got a few bounces that went their way and they were able to come out on top," captain Mike Keenan '13 said. "They scored kind of a scrambler in front to tie it up 3-3."

Eric Robinson '14 netted Dartmouth's first two goals, scoring his second with less than three minutes remaining in the second period to tie the game at two. Robinson now leads the team in total scoring with eight points.

"I haven't been shooting the puck as much as I should, so I made an effort to shoot and they happened to go in this weekend," Robinson said in an email to The Dartmouth.

Matt Lindblad '14 assisted on all three of Dartmouth's goals and now has a total of six points this season, while Dartmouth goalie James Mello '12 saved 23 shots in the loss.

"We played hard," Robinson said. "The effort was there as it almost always is. We just need to work hard and [be] smart."

Dartmouth and UVM each had two power-play opportunities in the matchup, but neither team was able to convert.

In Friday's game against Harvard (3-3-2, 2-3-2 ECAC), the Big Green penalty-kill unit allowed two Crimson goals in the second period. Harvard has scored on 28.6 percent of its power plays this season, while Dartmouth's power-play percentage stands at just 6.7 percent.

The game against the Crimson was knotted at three after the second period, and neither team broke through as overtime expired in front of a full crowd of 4,163 fans at Thompson Arena.

"We're disappointed, that's for sure," Keenan said. "We felt like both of these were winnable games and we just weren't able to come out with a win."

Dartmouth took a 3-2 lead midway through the second period when Jones scored an unassisted goal, but the team failed to hold on to its advantage. Harvard scored on the power play less than four minutes later.

"Defensively, we need to sharpen up," Robinson said. "We haven't scored a ton of goals lately, but I believe it has a lot to do with the long periods of time we spend defending."

The Crimson broke onto the scoreboard first, scoring less than six minutes into the first period on a goal by freshman Mike Seward.

Tyler Sikura '15 then notched an unassisted goal midway through the frame to tie the game at one. Sikura has tallied five goals so far this season and is Dartmouth's second-leading scorer.

Robinson drilled his third collegiate goal after just 36 seconds of play in the second period, giving Dartmouth a 2-1 lead.

Mello who returned after sitting out in favor of Jody O'Neill '12 last weekend turned away 34 shots, including three overtime shots.

After splitting last weekend's contests, the Big Green has now lost four out of its last six games. Dartmouth still sits fourth in the 12-team ECAC standings, however, trailing first-place Cornell University by just three points.

"It's nothing to start worrying about," Robinson said. "We have a lot of first-year guys in the lineup every night, so as a team we are still working out the kinks. As long as we do that and have confidence in ourselves as a team, we should be able to win more games."

Dartmouth has a two-week break in play before it returns to play Sacred Heart University on Dec. 11.

"It will be good to get a few guys healthy and to prepare for Sacred Heart," Keenan said.

The Pioneers (1-12-1, 0-8-1 Atlantic Hockey) recently upset eighth-ranked Yale University to earn their first victory of the season.