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The Dartmouth
February 26, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

Men’s hockey avenges 1-5 loss against Union with 6-2 victory against RPI

Men’s hockey bounces back from their Friday night loss against Union College with three power play goals in a victory over RPI this past Saturday.

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The men's hockey team lost its last two regular season games and will play Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the first round of the ECAC Tournament next weekend.

This weekend, men’s hockey hosted Union College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The Big Green fell 1-5 to Union on Friday but defeated RPI 6-2 the following night to improve their record to 5-7-6, 3-4-4.

Union College came into Thompson Arena having earned five points last weekend with a win against Clarkson University and a tie against St. Lawrence University, while the Big Green looked for their first win since Jan. 6 against the University of Vermont at home. 

In goalie Roan Clarke’s ’27 first home start, he posted a career-high .847 save percentage. 

“I thought [Clarke] battled his ass off and did a great job,” forward Braiden Dorfman ’25 said. “[Clarke] obviously hasn’t played much this year, but when we’ve put him in there, he’s played his hardest and done great.” 

Three Big Green skaters met or exceeded their career-highs for blocked shots during the game. Eric Charpentier ’27 and Cam Macdonald ’26 blocked four, while Tucker McRae ’26 led the team with five.

Dartmouth’s defense was also successful in killing all five of Union’s power plays. In contrast, the Big Green struggled to make power plays and failed to convert any of the scoring chances during four power play opportunities. 

Union opened up the scoring midway through the first period and doubled their lead just 90 seconds later. The Big Green cut the deficit in half when Cooper Flinton ’26 scored his seventh goal of the season. Flinton’s goal came on a rebound from a shot that McRae took from the point. Both McRae and forward Steven Townley ’25 earned their first assists of the season on the goal.

The second period was relatively even, with the Big Green recording several chances on the power play around the midway point, but the Garnet Chargers began pressing as time wound down. With a little over four minutes remaining in the second, Union hit the pipe twice, with just seconds between shots. 

Clarke made a diving save to prevent the puck from crossing the line, which was later featured as the No. 1 play on Sports Center for the night. Koenig Family Head Coach of Dartmouth Men's Hockey Reid Cashman expressed excitement about Clarke’s “bright future” with the Big Green. 

“He’s been excellent in practice,” Cashman said. “I was really disappointed with how we played in front of him. [For] three of those four goals, we didn’t give him much of a chance to even make the save, but he competed through the end.”

Despite Clarke’s efforts, Union scored in the final seconds of the period to extend their lead to 3-1. The Granite Chargers carried that momentum into the third, scoring within the first minute of the period. The Big Green pulled Clarke with over four minutes to play, and Union scored an empty netter to seal the final score, 5-1. 

On Saturday night, the Big Green improved on several key aspects of their play following their loss the night prior. Dartmouth struck first less than five minutes into the first period, marking Dorfman’s third goal of the season.

“We like to stay consistent and keep to our habits and details and just try and play our best,” Dorfman said.

The Big Green added their second goal of the night on the power play five minutes later when Flinton tapped in a rebound from Nikita Nikora ’27. The Engineers then scored a goal at 14:41 with a goal to make the score 2-1.

In the second period, the Big Green added two more goals to extend their lead. Haymes scored on the power play, and Dorfman followed with his second goal of the night less than 10 minutes later. Additionally, Nikora scored midway through the final period to improve Dartmouth’s lead to 5-1.

Two minutes later, RPI struck back again. But it was too little too late, and the Big Green responded yet again when Haymes tallied his second goal and third point of the night. Dartmouth dominated the game, outshooting RPI 47-19.

Dartmouth’s special teams were the difference maker. The power play unit scored three goals, and the penalty kill successfully defended RPI’s man advantage in the first period. 

“I mean, obviously, this game showed how hard we’ve been working, but our power play has been struggling a little bit,” Haymes said. “… Two or three goals was awesome for us, and [penalty kills] have been holding us in every game.”

As Dartmouth looks ahead to finishing strong in the final few weeks of their season, Haymes emphasized the team’s need for resilience and determination.

“I think the big thing is just working on playing from behind,” Haymes said. “Every game there’s adversity, so I think learning how to overcome that is going to be huge for us down the road.” 

The Big Green will continue their home stretch of games next weekend when they host Cornell University in an Ivy League matchup. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. at Thompson Arena.