Men’s hockey goes 0-3 on the week, falling to 3-16-3 on the season

Goalkeeper Clay Stevenson ’24 totaled 104 saves across the three games.

by Heath Monsma | 2/7/22 2:05am

by Emil Liden / The Dartmouth Staff

The men’s hockey team went 0-3 this week in a series of tightly contested matchups, two of which were against top-25 opponents. The Big Green fell 2-0 to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 3-1 to No. 23 Harvard University and 6-3 to No. 14 University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

On Tuesday, RPI traveled to Hanover to make up a game that had been postponed from Jan. 8. This was the first time the two teams had met this season, but the Engineers came prepared and wasted no time, scoring within the first six minutes of the game. The knock-in was initially ruled no-goal because the officials didn’t think the puck crossed the goal line, but after video review, it was overturned to give the visitors an early lead. Throughout the game the Big Green was able to possess the puck, but struggled to get shots through; Rensselaer’s defense stayed tightly packed, finishing the contest with a remarkable 14 blocked shots. 

On the other side of the ice, Dartmouth goalie Clay Stevenson ’24 held a stalemate for over 45 minutes between RPI’s first and second goals, coming away with 33 saves on the game. Late in the third period, a cross checking penalty gave RPI the man advantage and they capitalized to widen their lead to two goals. The Big Green was unable to find the back of the net in the remaining minutes and the final score was 2-0. Dartmouth will have a chance to even up the season series later this month. 

On Saturday, the team traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts to redeem itself from its 9-3 loss to Harvard to open the season over three months ago. 

“We had a good plan and we were prepared,” said team captain Harrison Markell ’22. “We knew Harvard plays a skilled game and they have freedom within their structure.”

In the first period, both teams’ anticipation was razor sharp. Practically every passing lane had a stick in it deflecting the puck away and no one could get any momentum generated up-ice. However, two minutes into the second, the Big Green had a momentary lapse on their defensive zone faceoff coverage as a shot from the Harvard defenseman was redirected in front of the net, breaking the deadlock. Then, less than three minutes later, a Dartmouth hook led to a Crimson power play and Harvard capitalized; the Crimson scored on a play that mirrored the first goal as another quick wrist shot from the point was tipped up and over Stevenson’s shoulder. 

Still less than halfway through the second period, Harvard gave the Big Green an opportunity to get back in the game, taking two penalties in one play to create a five-on-three power play. In the waning seconds of the advantage, Ian Pierce ’25 walked down from the blue line and fired a rocket past the outstretched Harvard goalie, cutting the deficit in half. Stevenson was able to hold the margin through the rest of the period making multiple pad saves on Harvard one-timers that seemed destined for the goal. 

Early in the third, Dartmouth went on the power play and Pierce had a shot at an open net off a rebound, but his shot went inches over the net and the Big Green stayed behind. With two and a half minutes remaining, the Big Green pulled Stevenson and piled on the pressure, taking four shots. Five seconds before the final buzzer, however, the Crimson cleared the puck and put it in the empty net, making the final 3-1.

“We limited them and we limited their chances,” head coach Reid Cashman said. “It’s a two-to-one game with the empty netter, so that is massive growth. We know how we need to play to be extremely effective; the challenge is to do it for a full game and when the game is on the line.”

On Saturday, the Big Green stayed in Massachusetts to face 14th ranked UMass Lowell, their toughest and final non-conference opponent of the season. In the first period, UMass Lowell came out hitting hard and dominating the flow of the game, outshooting Dartmouth 25 to two. However, Dartmouth took advantage of their limited chances, striking first as Markell assisted Braiden Dorfman ’25.

“I saw [Markell] shoot it up to me as he was pinching down, so I lifted the kid’s stick,” Dorfman said. “I was happy to see the puck bounce through and I had a little time to get it, walk in, and shoot it where I wanted to.”

Stevenson held strong in net for the Big Green until five minutes left in the first when two tap-in goals snuck past him, one on a rebound and the other back door. Dartmouth adjusted to the River Hawks in the second period, keeping the shots on goal to a more respectable nine to 12. Twelve minutes into the middle period, another rebound kicked out and UMass Lowell was able to extend their lead to 3-1. Not dissuaded by the deficit, the Big Green fought back. Before the end of the period, Sean Chisholm ’25 carried the puck into the zone and sent a deliberately placed snapshot past the River Hawk goalie.

“We had two freshmen score goals tonight, and it's exciting to see some of the younger guys step up and make some big plays,” Markell said.

In the third period, the game saw its first offensive stagnation as play congregated in the neutral zone and neither team took many shots. Despite the physicality of both teams, there were only four penalties over the course of the game. One of those was a costly face off interference against Dartmouth halfway through the third. On the power play, UMass Lowell brought their lead back to two goals and Dartmouth never caught up. The Big Green did manage to respond twenty seconds later as Dorfman picked up his third point of the game assisting Tanner Palocsik ’23, but less than a minute after that, the River Hawks scored again. UMass Lowell tallied one more on an empty net, ending the scoring at 6-3. 

“We’re all competitors and we want to win, so it’s frustrating to not get results,” Markell said. “But at the same time, everyone is still bought in and working as hard as they can to try to flip these certain periods so we can come out with wins.” 

For Cashman, the key to success in the future was having a short memory and moving forward. 

“Our message in the locker room tonight was that we have Yale, Brown, and Princeton coming up,” he said. “We have seven league games left to make a push and to get our team to maximize itself. As we look at the playoffs, we have to find a way to go from being a competitive team, to being a winning team.”

One highlight of the team’s play this week was Stevenson’s performance in goal. He totaled over 100 saves over the course of the three games, tallying 41 against UMass Lowell, 31 against Harvard and 33 against RPI. The Big Green will count on him in goal next weekend as they face Brown University Friday and Yale University Saturday to complete both season series.