Hanover, NH- It was a game that featured the second and third ranked teams in the Pairwise, but one team really stood out for all the wrong reasons and one for all the right reasons. Dartmouth struck first six minutes, five seconds into the first period as Nick Bligh found himself all alone in the high slot and fired it past UNH goaltender Casey Desmith. The Big Green would increase their lead to two as Ryan Bullock struck five minutes later to give Dartmouth the 2-0 lead after one stanza. Both of those goals were the first in their respective collegiate careers.
To begin the second period, UNH scored 46 seconds in to make it a game at 2-1, but Dartmouth would make it a 3-1 game off the stick of Tyler Sikura. The 3-1 score would hold until the end, where Dartmouth held on and added an empty netter to pull out the 4-1 victory over UNH in front of a sell out crowd of 4500 at Thompson Arena. UNH falls to 11-3-2 on the season, while Dartmouth improves to 8-2-2.
What I Saw
- UNH’s effort seemed to be lacking most of the night, and only in the third period were they able to mount any pressure on Dartmouth. In the third period, UNH outshot the Big Green 15-5 but it was a little too late as they were unable to score and a 2-0 deficit proved too much to comeback from.
- As important as a few unsung heroes were for Dartmouth on the offensive side of the puck, Cab Morris was just as important in the win. Morris made 15 saves in the third period and impressed throughout the game. He was the catalyst of the Dartmouth win.
- Dartmouth received great efforts from two players that normally don’t get on the stat sheet, as Nick Bligh and Ryan Bullock both scored their first collegiate goals on the night. Dartmouth proved that with depth they may be near the top of the Pairwise to stay.
What I Thought
- UNH’s, Nick Sorkin, took a brutal roughing call 20 seconds after a whistle midway through the second period. It was the turning point of the game and it led to an eventual third goal for Dartmouth. The play is unnecessary and considering the play was the turning point of the game, one would wonder if Sorkin will play on Monday night against Bemidji State.
- Dartmouth looked like the better team for much of the game. They used speed and skill to outplay UNH at their own game. The effort put together by the Big Green had to be a perfect game in their eyes, going forward this game might prove to be the turning point towards a great season.
What They Said
Dartmouth Coach Bob Gaudet said,
“Starts are important in a game and I thought our guys were ready. I thought our guys made the game really simple and we made some plays.”
“The power-play goal was a huge goal for us. We were moving the puck on the power-play and it was a turning point in the game. The goal was huge as it got us back to a two goal lead and to preserve that lead going into the third was big.”
Dartmouth forward Nick Bligh said,
“Everyone is contributing right now,” said Bligh. “We have a good core group and everyone is working hard so it’s starting to come together for us all. We have to keep doing what the coaches tell us and keep working hard.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said,
“Tonight Dartmouth out-competed us and they are a very good team. They came out quick and we got a stupid penalty in the second period that led to a third goal and they never let us get back in it. They are a good team and tonight they were a better team than us.”
UNH forward Austin Block said,
“There was a serious lack of effort for us tonight. Dartmouth is a tough team and we didn’t match their intensity That is not how we play hockey. I thought we got dominated in the first period and came back well early in the second but the penalty to Sorkin hurt us really bad.”
“That’s a tough penalty to take and it obviously ended up in the back of our net. We have guys that keep other guys accountable but I think we have enough smart guys on this team to know that wasn’t a smart penalty to take.”
What Else You Should Know
Dartmouth will play in the championship game of the Ledyard Bank Classic tomorrow night as they take on another Hockey East foe, in UMass. The win was their third in a row and has kept them within striking distance of the top two teams in the Pairwise rankings, BC and UNH.
UNH will pick up the pieces and play Bemidji State Monday night at 4. The loss was their second in a row.