HANOVER, N.H. — The Saturday night affair matching the Dartmouth Big Green against visiting St. Francis Xavier was just an exhibition, but you wouldn’t have known it from the intensity of play.
There were several signs of midseason form, including some pretty goals, a load of shots and even a spirited fight or two. In the end, the Nova Scotia-based St. Francis squad skated out of Thompson Arena with a 4-3 overtime win, capping a successful 2-0 road trip to the United States. The X-Men beat Vermont 5-0 Friday night.
For the Big Green, junior forward Jamie Herrington had an outstanding night, recording a hat trick in the loss. Sophomore goalie Nick Boucher let in two goals and made 11 saves in just over a period. His replacement, freshman Darren Gastrock, also allowed two goals while turning away 13 shots in about 30 minutes of work.
For Dartmouth, which opens the regular season next weekend at Western Michigan, this game was a fair measure of both the strong points and weaknesses of a team hungry to improve upon its first-round playoff exit of a year ago.
“I thought we played tough,” said head coach Bob Gaudet. “I thought we played physically and generated some good offense. We finished three but I think we could have finished five or six against that team.
“I’d love to win the game, but I’ll trade this learning experience for, hopefully, a win later in the season.”
Herrington, who recorded four goals and nine assists in 30 games last season, played down the importance of his hat trick, insisting that defenseman Trevor Byrne actually scored the second goal.
Either way, the tri-captain set a good tone for his season.
“I thought it was great for Jamie to go out with a hat trick,” Gaudet said. “I thought the guys around him played well. That was good to see.”
The first period of Dartmouth’s only exhibition game was a strong one, as the Big Green managed to fend off three St. Francis power plays while outshooting the X-Men 9-8 and netting a late-period goal.
Herrington gave Dartmouth a 1-0 lead at 18:09 of the period, accepting a feed from sophomore Mike Murray in front of the net before banging the puck past goaltender Dwayne Bateman, who never had a chance.
Herrington would further dent the scoring sheet, but not before the X-Men would strike for two quick goals in the middle frame. Both came off the stick of forward Yanick Evola, the first in a shorthanded situation and the second at even strength.
St. Francis’ 2-1 advantage would not last. Ten minutes into the period, Herrington posted his second goal, as a Trevor Byrne blast from the point was officially scored as a Herrington deflection past Bateman for the 2-2 equalizer. The goal came on a 5-on-3 power play.
St. Francis took a 3-2 lead later in the frame on an Andrew Kane power-play marker, but Herrington closed the second-period scoring — and cemented his hat trick — by jamming a P.J. Martin rebound between the pipes. All told, the Big Green outshot the X-Men 20-7 in the period.
The third period evidenced a battle of the blue lines, and the teams finished regulation in a 3-3 deadlock.
Just over a minute into the extra session, right winger Paul Andrea got the engines roaring, slapping a 15-foot wrister past Gastrock for the win. All told, both teams finished the night 1-for-8 on the power play, while Dartmouth outshot the X-Men 41-26.
“There are plenty of things to work on,” Gaudet said, “but there’s nothing that’s really glaring. I thought we were pretty good in a lot of areas.
“I think we’re miles ahead of where we were at this time last year, and that’s by design. We’re much further along in terms of game preparation.”