Men’s hockey drops first two games after returning from break
After a 1-7 stretch over winter break, the Big Green struggled to get back on track after the term began, losing its first two contests against Quinnipiac University and Princeton University.
The men’s hockey team returned to action last weekend after a series of tough losses over the break. In the Friendship Four tournament during winterim, the team could not secure a single victory, falling to Quinnipiac University with a score of 2-5 and to University of Massachusetts Lowell in overtime with a score of 3-4. Throughout other competition during the winter break, Dartmouth fell to Colgate University with a score of 5-1 and Cornell University with a score of 1-0. The team continuously failed to secure a win, suffering another loss against UMass Lowell at 3-2 and a 5-1 defeat at the hands of University of Vermont in December.
Despite the disheartening stretch, the Big Green bounced back in the Ledyard Classic, picking up a much-needed win against Yale University with a final score of 4-3. It was a closely contested game, with the teams trading goals throughout. Dartmouth hoped to build on this victory as the team went into its first two games following winter break this past weekend.
Emerging from its hiatus, the team suffered challenging losses, falling to Quinnipiac 3-0 on Friday evening and Princeton University 4-2 on Saturday.
In its game against Quinnipiac, Dartmouth could not get on the board despite a strong performance from goaltender Cooper Black ’26, who finished with 40 saves. Quinnipiac’s Ethan de Jong scored two goals for the Bobcats, while CJ McGee added another.
The Big Green had 14 shots on goal, while Quinnipiac had 43, winning 34 of the game’s faceoffs. Despite the lopsided score, Dartmouth had an impressive start with Sean Chisholm ’25, forcing a turnover in front of the Quinnipiac goal and firing a shot that the Bobcats’ goaltender managed to save. Black said he believes that this game highlights a crucial lesson for the team’s success moving forward.
“We learned our lesson the hard way this weekend,” Black said. “We talked about being detailed, and we got away from that. The key moving forward is to stay focused and detailed for the full 60 minutes, which is what is getting us right now.”
On Saturday, Dartmouth faced off against Princeton in ECAC Hockey and Ivy League action at Hobey Baker Rink. The Big Green started strong with a goal late in the first period, with John Fusco ’25 scoring his third goal of the season off an assist from Luke Haymes ’26 on the power play. Princeton responded less than a minute later by redirecting a shot past Black. The Tigers took the lead early in the second period, with another score — this time off a turnover — in the neutral zone. Dartmouth tied things up midway through the second period as Matt Hubbarde ’25 scored his fourth goal of the season with an assist from Sean Keohan ’23. However, Princeton regained the lead four minutes later with a short-handed goal. Black described this goal as one of the turning points in the game and had hoped for a different outcome to sway the momentum.
“[The goal] was just one of those things where we had a few minutes of letting our minds slip and not staying focused on the game,” Black said. “And it just ended up costing us. I know for sure that I would have liked to have the second [goal] back, but it's hindsight 20/20, and we can't always be perfect. I think we all know that we just can be better.”
Despite piling on the pressure in the third period in search of the equalizer, Dartmouth could not get on the board. Princeton ultimately sealed the victory with an empty net goal. Dartmouth had 24 shots on goal, while Princeton had 29 and won 25 of the game's faceoffs.
While the game may not have gone its way, Cooper Flinton ’26 felt confident that the upperclassmen leadership would help the team right the ship going forward.
“The upperclassmen have done a great job over the course of the year of leading the younger guys and showing us the ropes while also really bringing the energy and trying to rally our team together,” Flinton said. “The entire team has high standards and high goals for ourselves. We know our record right now and have a long way to go, but we really believe that we can do something special.”
With the season now fully underway, the team hopes to learn from its early mistakes. Cam MacDonald ’26 said he still holds a firm conviction that the hockey team can obtain their goals for the season through consistent effort on and off the ice.
“We’ve shown that we can compete with these higher-level teams,” MacDonald said. “There’s not a magic drill or anything we can draw up. The biggest thing is being consistent, which doesn’t just come on gameday. Consistency has to come on Monday morning when you don’t really feel like practicing and off the ice with the choices we make like eating right and getting rest.”
With a 2-13-1 (1-7-1) record, the team will look to build on its past performances and come back stronger in its next games at Thompson Arena against St. Lawrence University on Friday evening and Clarkson University on Saturday.