Men’s hockey sweeps ECAC competition to win three straight

by Sam Stockton | 1/18/16 7:00pm

The men’s hockey team outdueled both Clarkson University and St. Lawrence University to earn a pair of home wins over the weekend to reach the .500 mark for the first time all season. The team’s overall mark of 8-8-1 (and 5-5 in the ECAC) is good for sixth place in the 12-team ECAC. The Big Green improved its record in 2016 to 5-1 and extended its current win-streak to three, the team’s longest of the season.

“To get four points in this league, against two scholarship schools, is excellent,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “Our kids continued to really compete in all phases — offensively, defensively and specialty teams.”

The Friday night win over Clarkson was characterized by many firsts for Big Green players. Three sophomores, Kevin Neiley ’18, Tim Shoup ’18 and River Rymsha ’18, registered their first collegiate goals. Neiley added a third-period goal to double his collegiate total. Jack Barre ’16 notched a career-high three assists and the Big Green survived a back-and-forth second period en route to a 5-2 victory. Charles Grant ’16 stopped 24 shots for the team.

With the man advantage, Clarkson defender James de Haas was able to sneak a shot from the top of the circles past Grant for the first power-play goal the Big Green has allowed in 2016.

Grant made his sixth straight start in net against St. Lawrence the following night and backstopped the Big Green to a 4-2 victory, improving his own record to 5-4-0. The senior netminder turned aside 37 St. Lawrence shots and stood on his head throughout the third period, stopping 16 shots in the final frame alone.

“I thought our goaltending was outstanding all game long,” Gaudet said. “In key moments in the third period, when the game was on the line, I thought Chuck Grant was just fabulous.”

Following the victory, Grant downplayed his effort.

“All I tried to do is have an eye on every shot, try not to let myself get screened and made sure I was battling,” he said. “For most goalies, the more shots the easier it is. You never have time to fall out of focus. Lots of shots are always a little bit more fun.”

The raucous Thompson Arena crowd witnessed an impressive performance against St. Lawrence, a team then-ranked 18th in the country by U.S. College Hockey Online. Troy Crema ’17 opened the scoring with a pretty power-play marker in the first period.

“I got the puck on my end of the ice, came down and saw the [defense] open up,” Crema said. “I made a move on him and got the puck in the end. Eventually the puck went around the horn. [Connor] Yau [’19] made a great play to [Josh] Hartley [’17], and he got it back to me in the middle. Luckily it went in.”

Unfortunately for the Ontario native, in the midst of an over-zealous celebration, Crema wiped out, crashing into the boards. After the game, he laughed about his faux-pas.

“Oh boy, I don’t want to talk about that,” Crema joked. “I tried the one leg up, high knee thing. My edge gave out, and I’m sure that will make some highlight tapes.”

Moments later, Rymsha hammered a Saint forward into the boards as he attempted to enter the zone. The sophomore defenseman’s glass-rattling hit only augmented the Big Green’s momentum.

With all the momentum on the home team’s side, St. Lawrence grew visibly frustrated, culminating in a Nolan Gluchowski slashing minor. The St. Lawrence penalty set up 1:28 of four-on-four, due to an earlier holding peanlty on Ryan Bullock ’16, and then an abbreviated power-play for Dartmouth. Once the Big Green had the advantage, Brett Patterson ’16 showed tremendous patience before rifling the team’s second power-play goal of the night past St. Lawrence goalie Kyle Hayton.

Late in the third, with its lead cut to just one goal, the Big Green killed off a pair of late St. Lawrence power plays. Gaudet said that specialty teams was a big part of the game.

“We moved the puck really well on the power play,” Gaudet said. “We really got some nice looks. The penalty killing came up big. Obviously, that’s a huge part of the game. We keep them off the board, especially late.”

The Saints desperately pursued what would have been the game’s tying goal, pulling its goalie in favor of an extra attacker with just under a minute to play. Instead, Barre and Carl Hesler ’18 showed tremendous effort in clearing the puck out of the Dartmouth zone. Then, a sprawling Barre was able to slide a pass to captain Brad Schierhorn ’16, who deposited the puck into the empty net, sealing a 4-2 victory.

“I thought we really competed tonight,” said Gaudet. “It was just a great college hockey game.”

Next weekend, the Big Green will head to New York to take on Cornell University and Colgate University.