Hanover, NH – Harvard and Dartmouth took to the ice on Sunday evening, with their seasons hanging in the balance and that was easily noticeable given the play. The Green and the Crimson came out flying in the early going, as the speed was just a notch higher than the regular season. The teams would play a scoreless first 19 minutes, but that would change late in the first period as Luke Grenier came out from the back of the net untouched. He scored over Charles Grant’s glove to give the Crimson the 1-0 lead at 19 minutes, 28 seconds of the first period and that lead would hold into the first intermission. The Big Green exploded for three goals in the first 7:26 of the second period, as Brad Schierhorn, Tim O’Brien and Eric Robinson all tallied for Dartmouth. That three goal outburst sent the game into the second intermission with the Big Green leading 3-1.
The third brought much of the same for Dartmouth as Nick Bligh would add an early insurance marker, giving his Big Green a 4-1 lead 16:30 remaining in the game. The lead would be enough, as Dartmouth would hold on to defeat Harvard, 6-3, in the third game of the ECAC first round series. The win advances Dartmouth to the Quarter-finals, where they will face Union College at Messa Rink in Schenectady, New York. It also keeps alive their chance at an NCAA berth, that is slim at best, sitting at 20th in the Pairwise rankings.
The loss ends the Crimson’s disappointing season at 10-19-3. It was a season that was filled with high hope coming in but was marred with with an academic scandal that saw four players removed from their roster. They were picked near the top of the ECAC in most preseason polls, so saying the season was a disappointment is an understatement.
What I Saw
- Harvard came out flying early in the game, as Dartmouth was lucky to leave the first period trailing by just a goal. The Big Green used it to their advantage in the second period, as they came out flying and took advantage of Harvard with three goals in the first 7:26 of the period. It just seemed as though after the first Big Green goal, Harvard lost their edge for a ten minute period of time. This loss of edge cost them dearly.
- Kudos to Dartmouth as they turned a sloppy first period into a strong second period. Not only did Dartmouth take control of the game, but they in some ways put it out of reach for Havard. The period was huge for them because they were short a defenseman as injuries had depleted their blue line. On the night, the Big Green dressed 13 forwards and five defensemen. It looked like a big deal late in the first, but Bob Gaudet did a masterful job of rotating the five D throughout the game. Dartmouth also dressed just five on defense last night.
- Harvard just had no answer for the Dartmouth skill and speed, as the defense struggled throughout the last two periods. What looked promising in the first period, when they left with a 1-0 lead, turned into more disappointment. The things that troubled them earlier in the season, came back to haunt them. The defensive breakdowns and the inability to respond became the difficulties that ended their season.
What I Thought
- Harvard looked seriously rattled when Dartmouth came out and scored on them just 2:28 into the second period. The Crimson should have had momentum coming into the period after a late goal with 32 seconds left in the first but it was not to be early in the second as they were unable to take advantage out of the locker room. It is said that last minute goals, or first minute goals are killers but on this night that did not pan out for Harvard.
- Dartmouth struggled for consistency in the second half after a win against New Hampshire in late December but tonight they seemed to gain the grit back that led them to an 8-2-2 start in their first 12 games. After the first Harvard goal, Dartmouth responded with a a good shift and took back some momentum. They struggled in the first to get going but once they did in the second the game was all over. Dartmouth is one of those teams that once they get a lead it is tough to come back on them, and tonight was further proof of that.
What They Said
Harvard coach Ted Donato said,
“Obviously we are very disappointed. We have to give Dartmouth credit because they played an excellent game and excellent series. It was tough because I thought that we battled right to the end and we did a lot of good things. Certainly after the first period we felt the game was heading in the right direction, until the second. A couple of bounces really didn’t go our way and we were chasing it after that.”
“Ya it has been a challenge this year for us. We were excited coming in and it is no secret to some of the things that we dealt with. I was proud of the way we finished in the last three or four weeks of the season. There is no question we didn’t end up where we would have liked, considering where we thought we were going to end up.”
Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet,
“I thought Schierhorn’s goal early in the second was huge for us , as we just hung around the net and were able to put it in. In between periods we talk about getting pucks deep, chipping away and getting shots on net. We passed up on a few shots in the first period but it wasn’t for a lack effort. I thought we just needed to get simple coming out.”
Dartmouth forward Brad Schierhorn said,
“It has been a while since I have scored a goal. I had a couple goals early in the season and more importantly we got the win tonight.”
Dartmouth forward Eric Robinson said,
“There was no panic when we got down late in the first. We told ourselves to stick to the game-plan and keep doing what we were doing, as we were playing well.”
What Else You Should Know
Dartmouth and Union have never faced eachother in the ECAC tournament, but will next weekend as the Big Green make the short, three hour trip to Schenectady, NY to face the Dutchmen in a three-game quarter-final series. Dartmouth has now faced every ECAC team in the tournament at least once.
The two goals by Brad Schierhorn marked the first career multi-goal game for the freshman and it was the first time he found the back of the net since a December, 1st win against Bentley.