The Big Green Weekend Primer
This upcoming weekend sees nine Dartmouth teams in action as both the term and winter sports seasons wind down. Coming off an emotionally-charged Carnival Weekend is always tough, but the Big Green will need to avoid a hangover as they face tough opposition and high stakes this weekend. Several teams are looking to make a playoff push in order to secure themselves a place at NCAAs, while others are looking to right the ship in time for a late-season run.
Men’s Hockey vs. Cornell University (Friday at 7 p.m.)
The men’s hockey team (11-8-4, 8-6-2 ECAC) comes in on fire, having won five straight games and not lost since Jan. 17. A big reason for the men’s success is their offense, which has scored a total of 23 goals over the five-game streak. They return home after a Carnival on the road, looking to keep the good times rolling against an up-and-down Cornell team (10-10-3, 8-7-1 ECAC), which boasts wins over Harvard University and Union College but also a loss against last-place Princeton University.
The first time these two teams met, the Big Green won handily with a score of 5-2 in Lynah Rink, which is always a tough place to play. The Big Green built a 4-0 lead on the road through two periods before the Big Red brought it back to a two-goal game late. Eric Neiley ’15, the Big Green’s leading scorer of the season, was the star of the game with four points.
The Cornell game always draws a big crowd from both teams, so expect a raucous Thompson Arena. The good mojo and home crowd should help carry the Dartmouth men to a win Friday night.
PREDICTION: Dartmouth 4-1
Women’s Hockey at Colgate University (Friday at 7 p.m.)
The women’s hockey team (11-11-2, 7-9-2 ECAC) is coming off an up-and-down Carnival weekend themselves. The team raced out to a big lead Friday against Brown University, before falling 6-2 to Yale University. Unlike the men’s league where the top 12 teams qualify, only the top eight in the Eastern Coast Athletic Conference qualify for the postseason tournament. With four games to play, the Dartmouth women sit tied for seventh with Yale — seven points behind Princeton University and seven ahead of this Friday’s opponent, Colgate (7-22-1, 4-13-1 ECAC).
All the Big Green needs is a tie against the Raiders to clinch a playoff berth and eliminate the Colgate women from contention. A win would also help the Dartmouth women inch closer to the sixth seed and a more favorable matchup in a top-heavy ECAC.
The Dartmouth women fell to the Raiders 2-0 in their first meeting in Hanover, despite out-shooting them 27-21. Given how much is at stake here, both teams will come into this game fired up.
PREDICTION: Dartmouth 3-1
Women’s Basketball at Columbia University (Saturday at 7 p.m.)
The women’s basketball team (10-10, 1-5 Ivy) looks to get off the schneid this weekend when it travels to Cornell University (13-7, 4-2 Ivy) and Columbia (6-14, 0-6 Ivy). The Lions come in with a six-game losing streak of their own, with their last win a 45-38 contest against the New Jersey Institute of Technology on Jan. 12. Columbia’s losing streak has included three 20-point-plus losses. This is also the first Ivy road weekend for the Big Green, who defeated Harvard University in its only Ancient Eight road contest thus far. In the friendly confines of Leede Arena, however, the Big Green is 0-5 against Ivy opponents.
Columbia can light up the scoreboard. Three players average double figures, and the team ranks fourth in the Ivy League in scoring. Conversely, only two Big Green women, including league-leader Fanni Szabo ’17, average more than 10 points per game. The Big Green rank last in scoring, with 58.3 points per game. The Big Green are fourth-best in defense in the Ancient Eight, while Columbia’s 70.1 points per game against place them in seventh.
The defensive side of the ball and the tempo will decide this game. If the Big Green can control both aspects and keep the game in the 50s or 60s, they should be able to come away with a win. If this turns into a shootout, Columbia’s balanced scoring may prove to be too much for Szabo, Lakin Roland ’16 and company.
PREDICTION: Dartmouth 62-55