On Saturday night, Dartmouth men’s ice hockey hosted the University of Vermont at Thompson Arena to conclude their non-conference match-ups for the 2023-2024 season. In front of a sold-out crowd, the Big Green pulled through to deliver a 4-3 win over the Catamounts, increasing their record to 4-4-6.
“We’re trying to gain some momentum,” head coach Reid Cashman said postgame. “We were disappointed with how we played versus [the University of] Maine. We thought we could have been better.”
The Catamounts came into Thompson on a five-game winning streak, while the Big Green had just lost to the University of Maine 5-1 in the Ledyard Classic.
“[Vermont is] a really well-coached team. They compete extremely hard, as you can tell,” Cashman said. “I think their staff has done a really good job. They’ve won some excellent games in Hockey East. We knew we were going to play some of our best hockey to compete.”
Dartmouth did put out some of their best hockey. Six minutes into the first period, captain Sean Chisholm ’25 took a pass from Nikita Nikora ’27 and slipped the puck behind the net for the game’s first score. It was the 11th assist this season for Nikora, who leads the team in assists. However, Vermont responded right away with a score less than a minute later. Neither team could make better use of their ensuing power plays, finishing the first period tied 1-1.
“[Chisholm] is our leader,” Cashman said. “There’s a reason he’s our captain. He prepares really well, [and] our guys all look to him. When he can set the tone like he did tonight, that [is] a big thing for us.”
Ian Pierce ’25 came into the game looking for his first goal of the season and got just that, scoring about eight minutes into the second period.
“I think I had 40 shots at this point, and I got lucky as two went in,” Pierce, who took five shots before scoring, said.
The Big Green only held their 2-1 lead for two and a half minutes before Vermont scored again. Dartmouth did not score during another power play and finished the second period tied 2-2.
Going into the third period, the Big Green wanted to finish their last non-conference game strong.
About six minutes in, Matt Fusco ’27 sped in across to shoot, but the shot was rebounded off Vermont’s goalie in front of the goal. Alex Krause ’26, situated near the deflected puck, tapped in his first goal of the season to make it 3-2 Dartmouth. This goal was especially important to Krause, as he was coming off an injury.
“[It’s] definitely challenging facing some adversity,” Krause said. “Regardless of if you’re on the ice or if you’re rehabbing and trying to come back, it’s the same up and down our lineup.”
Cashman shared that he was proud of Krause for the way he came back from his injury.
“The way he scored: getting to the net, stopping and cleaning up that rebound — I’m so proud of him,” Cashman said.
Ensuring the team’s win, Pierce scored his second goal of the night during a Dartmouth power play with an assist from John Fusco ’25. It was Fusco’s second of the night and third overall this season.
Vermont scored only once in the third period to bring the score to 4-3, but it was not enough, as the Big Green would take the win. The Big Green’s defense kept Vermont 0-2 on power plays while the Big Green were 1-4, and goalie Cooper Black ’26 finished the night with 25 saves.
“We try to play to an identity, and we try to practice to an identity,” Cashman said. “I think we did a good job executing that … Hopefully, we gain confidence and gain momentum as we get ready for Yale.”
The Big Green will be back on the rink on Friday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. to face off against Yale University at Ingalls Rink in New Haven, Connecticut.