BURLINGTON, Vt. — It was only fitting that the third meeting between heated rivals Dartmouth and No. 13 Vermont should end with the teams deadlocked on the scoreboard and a handful of players trading words and punches on the ice.
Meeting for the third time in eight days, the Big Green and Catamounts skated to a 1-1 tie Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 4,035 at Gutterson Field House. With physical battles plentiful, neither team could claim a final edge.
Dartmouth, riding a late second-period goal from Chris Baldwin that answered a J.F. Caudron marker for Vermont minutes earlier, looked tired in the overtime period but still managed to hold onto the tie. With a 5-2 win against the Catamounts Friday night, the Big Green claimed three points from the home-and-home series.
“It was a good weekend for us,” Big Green coach Bob Gaudet said. “It was really spirited, and I thought it was good hockey.
“I thought it was really nice for travel partners to have two buildings that were filled for back-to-back games. I thought that was really good for the rivalry. And it was good for our program because we haven’t had that in a while.”
Dartmouth (5-7-1, 2-3-1 ECAC) is now unbeaten in four of its last five games, a good sign for the Big Green as the league schedule is in full swing.
Actually, Dartmouth’s continuing improvement could be a good sign for both teams, according to Vermont coach Mike Gilligan.
“We used to have good success with RPI as our travel partner, because RPI was really good,” the veteran coach said. “Now Dartmouth is getting very good, and I think you’ll see that both of us will be able to give other teams a worry. And I think that’ll make it easier for both of us down the road.”
The teams skated to a scoreless first period, but it was anything but uneventful. The physical battles began early, but the biggest fireworks were yet to come.
Dartmouth took 11 shots to Vermont’s six in the opening period, but the Catamounts had the best opportunity when sophomore John Longo skated in front of the crease and chipped the puck on net. It beat a flattened Nick Boucher (28 saves), but hit the top post to keep the game scoreless.
In the middle frame, the tempers started to flare. Several scuffles broke out following whistles, resulting in 10 penalties, including six on matching minors. The Big Green outshot the Catamounts 19-9 as the teams traded markers.
Vermont drew first blood, lighting the lamp on their fourth power play 14 minutes into the period. Skating with a 4-on-3 advantage — and with one of Dartmouth’s best penalty killers (Peter Mahler) in the penalty box — the Catamounts passed the puck around the zone at will before Caudron rifled his 10th of the season past Boucher. Blueliners Jim Gernander and Andreas Moborg earned assists as Vermont took a 1-0 lead.
The advantage would be fleeting, however, as the Big Green struck with 24 seconds to go in the period. With the play at 4-on-4, Baldwin took a crisp pass from center Frank Nardella and roofed his fourth of the season, rattling goaltender Andrew Allen’s water bottle and knotting the score at 1-1.
The goalies starred in the third stanza, as the referees put their whistles away — for the most part — and the teams traded quality scoring chances.
Boucher stopped Caudron on a point-blank one-timer midway through the period, and later denied Chris Hills on a similar chance. Allen (38 saves), for his part, kept the Big Green off the board despite a number of chances, including a 2-on-1 odd-man rush late in the period.
Vermont outshot Dartmouth 10-8 in the period, but the teams ended regulation in a tie.
The Catamounts controlled the extra session, outshooting the Big Green 4-1, but Boucher was strong as the game ended in a tie.
“I think both teams has some good chances,” Gilligan said. “I thought Hills had a few good opportunities there at the end. I’d give the edge slightly to Dartmouth, but we’ll see. These teams might see each other again.”
The Big Green will host Colgate Friday night, while the Catamounts will entertain Cornell.