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The Dartmouth
April 20, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

After falling to No. 14 Cornell in the ECAC Semifinals, men’s hockey looks ahead to next season

Men’s hockey swept Union College in the ECAC Quarterfinals before losing to No. 14 Cornell in Lake Placid Semifinals.

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Photo courtesy of Braiden Dorfman ’25

Dartmouth Men’s Hockey finished out the season on a seven-game win streak — their longest streak in nine years — propelling the Big Green from ninth in the ECAC Hockey standings to fourth. After beating Union College in the ECAC quarterfinals, the Big Green lost to No. 14 Cornell University at the Hockey Championship Weekend on March 22. It was the Big Green’s first appearance in the ECAC semifinals since the 2015-2016 season.

The No. 4-seeded Big Green began their playoff run on home ice, facing the No. 6-seeded Union Garnet Chargers on March 15 in the first game of a best-of-three series. During the regular season, Dartmouth and Union played each other twice in the regular season, each picking up a win at the other team’s home rink. 

Union opened the scoring 13:28 into the first period and held Dartmouth scoreless for the remainder of the first frame. The Big Green got a chance to tie it up with a penalty shot, but the Garnet Charger goaltender blocked an attempt by CJ Foley ’27.

Dartmouth scored two goals in the second period to take the lead. Braiden Dorfman ’25 tied the game 33 seconds into the period off of a shot from Eric Charpentier ’27. Five minutes later, Matt Fusco ’27 put Dartmouth in the lead after forcing a turnover and then tapping in a pass from Cam MacDonald ’26 on a 2-on-0.

Joey Musa ’24 scored the third goal of the period with only 17 seconds remaining — his sixth of the season. 

Over the course of the game, the Big Green blocked 19 shots and goalkeeper Cooper Black ’26 made 23 saves to maintain the 3-1 lead.

The next night, Dartmouth skaters Dorfman, Fusco, Luke Haymes ’26 and MacDonald each scored a goal to secure a 4-2 victory, sweeping the quarterfinal series against Union.

Dorfman tied the game 1-1 at 15:39 in the first period after redirecting a shot in front of the net.

After another goal by the Garnet Chargers, Fusco scored at 9:02 to tie the game in the second period. The Big Green took its first lead of the night at 14:04 in the third period after forcing a turnover. Haymes converted a close-range shot, his 18th goal of the season. 

MacDonald sealed the victory with an empty net goal with under a minute remaining in the third period. 

“It felt great playing at Thompson [Arena] against Union,” Dorfman said. “We’re very comfortable there and did really well there all year. … [There’s] a big difference in front of the home crowd.”

ECAC Hockey announced its major awards on March 21. Foley was named the Bitcoin Rookie of the Year, and head coach Reid Cashman was honored with the Tim Taylor Coach of the Year award. Goaltender Cooper Black was a finalist for the Ken Dryden Goaltender of the Year award.

It was the first time since the 2008-2009 season that the men’s hockey team had a major award winner and the first time since the 2005-2006 season that they received two in the same season, according to Dartmouth Sports. 

Foley finished the regular season second in points among ECAC defensemen. In recognition of his performance, Foley received the men’s ice hockey Rookie of the Year award from the Ivy League. 

After victory against Union, Dartmouth traveled to Lake Placid, New York on March 22 to face No. 14 Cornell in the ECAC Hockey Championship Weekend. 

Dartmouth had a week between the best-of-three quarterfinal round and the single-elimination semifinal round of the ECAC playoffs to prepare.

“We usually don’t game plan as much for a single team,” Steven Townley ’25, a Big Green forward, said. “But because we knew a week in advance who we were playing, [we did] a little bit more of that.”

The Big Green focused on what they could control.

“We were pretty consistent with sticking to our game plan and worrying about what we were doing more so than [worrying about] other teams all year,” Dorfman said. “We kind of stayed true to that in the playoffs as well.”

Dartmouth struck first with five minutes remaining in the first period when Dorfman assisted on a goal scored by Sean Chisolm ’25. The goal was Chisolm’s eighth of the season. 

“[Chisolm] definitely elevated his game, and I was lucky enough to play with him through most of the season during the playoffs, and that was a good time,” Dorfman said.

Cornell answered in the second period, but John Fusco ’25 scored two goals of his own to give Dartmouth a 3-1 lead. Fusco’s first goal came less than a minute after the Big Red equalizer, and his second goal came on the power play with assists from Dorfman and Chisolm.

The Big Red scored five unanswered goals in the third period to claim a 6-3 victory over Dartmouth and advance to the final round of the ECAC Hockey tournament.

Despite the disappointing final result, the Big Green had 13 wins this season — surpassing the win total from the previous two seasons combined. The nine-game unbeaten streak was Dartmouth’s longest in more than 40 years. Dartmouth ended the season with a record of 13-10-9. 

Members of the team said they view this experience as an opportunity to learn and grow for next season.

“I felt like we put together two really good games and then two really good periods,” Townley said. “Things can turn around quickly if you’re not consistent.”

Dorfman agreed and is looking forward to getting another opportunity next season. 

“Overall … taking a look at our year versus what a lot of people thought we were going to do this year, I think we proved a lot of people wrong,” Dorfman said. “We’re very happy with the overall result of our season and looking forward to doing the same and better next year.”

With the addition of this year’s recruits, the future looks bright for men’s hockey at Dartmouth, Townley added.

“I think we’re getting some really good freshmen next year,” Townley said. “Obviously our goal is to get back to Lake Placid and compete for a championship next year.”