Women’s hockey sweeps weekend

by Sam Stockton | 11/15/15 6:01pm

The women’s hockey team recorded a pair of shutout victories this weekend, knocking off Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 4-0 on Friday and Union College 2-0 on Saturday, to improve its record to 4-2-2 overall and 4-1-2 in conference play.

In Friday night’s match-up, Lindsey Allen ’16 opened the scoring with just under three minutes left to play in the first period, deflecting an Eleni Tebano ’17 slap shot from the top of the circle past Engineers goaltender Lovisa Selander on a power play. The Big Green added a shorthanded goal in the second when Kennedy Ottenbreit ’17 found herself on a two-on-one breakaway supported by Brooke Ahbe ’18. Ottenbreit wristed a shot past Selander to double the lead for her fourth goal of the young season, extending her point streak to seven games. Ailish Forfar ’16 and Ahbe each registered a tally in the third, and the Big Green completed the shutout, outshooting the Engineers 39-21.

“A big thing we really focused on this weekend was winning our battles and moving our feet constantly and just driving, driving, driving,” Laura Stacey ’16 said. “Both these teams have really good goalies, and if we were going to score we needed to get pucks to the net and people to the net. That’s something we did really well.”

The Big Green carried the momentum generated from the victory over RPI into its Saturday afternoon contest with the winless Dutchwomen. From the start, Dartmouth controlled the pace of play, kept the puck in the Union end and registered shot after shot. Despite outshooting the Dutchwomen 13-1 in the first period, though, the Big Green failed to find the back of the net early.

“Union plays tough, gritty hockey,” head coach Mark Hudak said. “They play good defense and really take away your ability to attack the net, so it’s hard to score against them.”

Coming out with such a strong offensive performance that proved unable to find put the team on the scoreboard in the first period may have been frustrating for the team in the early minutes of the match, but Hudak said a key to maintaining control over the match was keeping a level head and sticking to the plan that the team knew to execute.

“A couple times we got a little frustrated and tried to do a little too much, but at the same time, we didn’t deviate from the game plan,” he said. “It’s really easy to deviate from the game plan when you’re frustrated, and I thought we did a really good job of sticking with it, working to get shots and trusting what we were doing.”

The standoff would not last long after the puck dropped in the second period, though, and 32 seconds in, Dartmouth finally broke through Union’s gritty defense. For the second consecutive night, Allen notched the game’s first goal, this time a tally that was assisted by Tebano and Stacey. Allen said Tebano took a shot that ended up hitting her, and she simply turned and fired the puck into the net.

“We had a lot of people in front of the net, and I don’t think the goalie was able to see it,” Allen said. “There was a scramble of people, and [the puck] managed to make it through everybody.”

For the rest of the period, the Big Green continued to pepper Union netminder Melissa Black with shots, posting another impressive shot-advantage over the Dutchwomen, outshooting them 17-3 in the second period. Black managed 16 saves in the period, though, ridding the Big Green of any opportunities to post another point in the period.

Allen said the lack of more goals in the second was frustrating, although the fact that the Dutchwomen were unable to put themselves on the board made it easier for the team to keep going. She said that although the team only got two goals on 40 shots, the team can be happier about the results since they didn’t allow any goals into their own net.

Throughout the second period, the Big Green endured a series of near misses. First, a shot from Stacey sailed just wide of an open net following a deflection. Then, Catherine Berghuis ’16 split a pair of Union defenders to just miss depositing her own rebound in the back of the net with a little over four minutes to play in the period. With just under three minutes left, Stacey, Forfar and Berghuis failed to convert a three-on-one advantage into a goal. By the time the second period was over, the Big Green had put 30 shots on goal, compared to just four for Union, despite amassing only a one-goal advantage.

“There’s always going to be a frustration when we’re outshooting a team and can’t seem to bury the puck,” Stacey said. “Personally, I just couldn’t put it to the back of the net tonight, but we were all doing really good things out there tonight and doing what we were supposed to do.”

That frustration carried into the early part of the final period as Tess Bracken ’19 rattled a shot off the post on an early two-on-one. The Big Green would not find the net again until a Forfar empty-net goal with less than two minutes left to play with the Union goaltender pulled for an extra attacker. Forfar’s empty netter iced the win for Dartmouth and ended Union’s hopes of earning their first win of the season.

Neither team was awarded a power play at any point during the Big Green’s 2-0 victory.

“I think there’s good and bad in playing five-on-five,” Hudak said. “It’s certainly nice when you get a power play, and you get some more scoring opportunities that way. At the same time, playing five-on-five lets us control the lines.”

After a dominant weekend, the Big Green sits one point back from Harvard University for the top spot in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.

The team has next weekend off and will return to action on Nov. 27 for back-to-back matchups with the University of Wisconsin.

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