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The Dartmouth
June 23, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men's hockey still searching for first win of season

Kelly Lin/The Dartmouth
Kelly Lin/The Dartmouth

Dartmouth experienced its third consecutive rough weekend, losing a close game 3-2 to Clarkson University Friday night at home before St. Lawrence University overtook the Big Green 8-5 Saturday night, also in Thompson Arena. The losses dropped the Big Green to 0-6-0, 0-4-0 in the ECAC.

The team has now been outscored 33-15 this season.

Grant Opperman ’17 scored his first career goal and Eric Neiley ’15 netted his fourth of the year in Friday’s loss to the Golden Knights (9-2-1, 3-1-0 ECAC).

“I feel that when it’s all said and done, we are going to be a team to be reckoned with,” head coach Bob Gaudet said. “We’re going to be battle-tested and hardened.”

By the end of the 100th meeting between both teams, Clarkson extended its record to 5-0 in games with a one-point difference and its all-time series lead over the Big Green to 68-25-7.

“I thought we had about 45-50 minutes of good hockey,” Clarkson coach Casey Jones said. “We got away from ourselves in the second period there. In the first and third periods, I thought we were very good. We are still learning as a team.”

Clarkson has earned a No. 16 ranking in the USCHO National Poll after one week of ECAC play, surprising many who picked Clarkson to be 12th in the league. Clarkson’s rise is thanks to 17 players who have combined for 27 goals, while the defense had allowed just 2.1 goals per game heading into Friday.

Clarkson freshman Greg Lewis finished with 26 saves, including 14 in the second period, improving his season record to 5-1.

A strong opening period put Clarkson on top 2-0 as senior Will Frederick scored the first goal at 9:53 with the assist from senior Ben Sexton and senior Jarrett Burton. Junior Joe Zarbo increased Clarkson’s lead to 2-0, cashing in a feed from sophomore Simon Bessette.

Dartmouth controlled the second period thanks to a series of Clarkson penalties, outshooting the Golden Knights 16-9. Dartmouth scored twice on two power plays in just 71 seconds.

Josh Hartley ’17 ripped a shot on net off a Brad Schierhorn ’16 pass. Lewis stopped the initial shot, but Opperman was there to cash in the rebound during the 5-on-3 advantage. Just over a minute later, Neiley scored just as a Dartmouth power play was about to end.

Andy Simpson ’15 started the play by feeding the puck to Tyler Sikura ’15 behind the net. Sikura brought the puck from behind the goal line out to the side of the net. After his initial shot was kicked aside, Neiley, the team’s leading scorer, got the rebound, which he dragged around the outstretched reach of Lewis and slid into the net.

“I was just standing behind the goal line and when the puck landed in front of the goalie, he came out of his crease a bit,” Neiley said. “I swooped in to get the puck and I made one little move to get him to open up his legs and I slid it through.”

Two minutes later, Clarkson regained the lead after capitalizing on a Dartmouth penalty. Sexton’s wrist-shot proved to be the game-winning goal. Sophomore Kevin Tansey and Frederick provided the assists for Sexton’s second goal of the season.

“We wanted to get the lead on them to see if that would also have an effect on us,” Jones said. “They played extremely well and had us on our heels.”

Clarkson dominated the final period, outshooting Dartmouth 14-3 and preserving the lead.

Clarkson outshot Dartmouth 32-28 for the game. Both teams had five power-plays, Clarkson converting once while the Big Green cashed in twice.

Charles Grant ’16 made 29 saves, his best performance of the season.

“The silver lining is that we have guys who are being thrust into adversity who are going to learn perseverance and how to stay together,” Gaudet said. “I know we can beat anybody, but our goal is to get better and we got better tonight.”

Dartmouth hoped to build on its close loss with an upset of St. Lawrence (6-2-2, 2-0-2 ECAC) Saturday evening. St. Lawrence, however, pulled out the victory in a contest that featured 13 goals, two game misconducts, four power-play tallies and an empty net goal while the goalie was still on the ice. St. Lawrence’s win extended its series lead to 55-33-3.

St. Lawrence entered after having tied both Yale University and Brown University and defeated Harvard University 3-1 the previous night. St. Lawrence’s 2-0-2 league record is its best start in the ECAC since it went 4-0 at the start of the 2006.

“When we first looked at our schedule with our first four ECAC games all on the road, we knew this was going to really be a challenge,” St. Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel said. “So to be able to take at least a point in each of these games is great for us.”

St. Lawrence lost two players to misconduct calls — freshman Woody Hudson for a hit from behind and freshman Eric Sweetman on what was ruled contact with the head.

After Hudson was forced to leave the ice, Dartmouth capitalized twice on the power play with goals from Simpson and Hartley.

Simpson scored off of a deflection from the boards by Schierhorn, getting the puck past the goalie just seven seconds into the man advantage. Simpson’s goal at 6:20 in the first gave Dartmouth its first lead of the season.

In between Dartmouth’s goals, junior Patrick Doherty scored on a shorthanded breakaway after intercepting a pass at the blue-line and skating end-to-end.

“That was huge,” Carvel said. “We were killing off a five-minute major and they had just scored. So that was a big goal for us.”

Hartley’s goal was the first of his Dartmouth career, and increased his points total to three after earning an assist in each of his two previous appearances.

Saints’ junior Chris Martin’s goal as the first period came to a close tied the game up.

St. Lawrence exploded for three goals in the second, cementing a lead it would never relinquish as freshman Matt Carey, Doherty and junior Gunnar Hughes all netted a goal apiece.

Brett Patterson ’16 scored the lone Dartmouth goal in the second with a wrist shot, giving Troy Crema ’17 his first career assist.

Hughes scored another goal 11:47 into the third, followed almost three minutes later by Matt Carey’s second goal which increased St. Lawrence’s lead to 7-3.

Dartmouth showed some life during the final five minutes as Charlie Mosey ’15 and Neiley netted goals of their own. Neiley’s goal increased his season total to five scores in just six games.

The comeback bid was short-lived however, as Greg Carey scored a goal on the empty net just one minute later while Grant was coming off the ice for the extra attacker. He picked off a pass from a Dartmouth defender and shot the puck into the open net.

Grant made 21 saves, outplayed by his St. Lawrence counterpart senior Matt Weninger, who made 27.

Both teams were 2-for-5 on the power play, while Dartmouth outshot St. Lawrence 32-29.

Next weekend, Dartmouth hits the road searching for its first win with games at Princeton University and at Quinnipiac University on Friday night and Saturday night, respectively. The Tigers sit just one position above the Big Green at 1-5-0, 0-4-0 ECAC, while the No. 5 Bobcats sit in first in the league at 9-1-1, 3-0-1 ECAC.