PROVIDENCE, R.I. — While Dartmouth junior winger Carly Haggard’s two-goal, two-assist performance may have been the most impressive stat line of the night, it was clutch goals from unexpected sources — namely senior defenseman Melissa Dolan and junior center Lydia Wheatley — that led Dartmouth to a 5-3 victory over Brown on Friday night at Meehan Auditorium in a battle of the second- and third-ranked teams in the country.
“Melissa Dolan and Lydia Wheatley are not big scorers for us,” said Dartmouth coach Judy Oberting. “Those were huge goals.”
The game was tied 3-3 until Dolan’s goal — only the third of her career — came with 8:31 left in the third period. It was set up by Haggard, who had been keeping control of the puck with the help of senior linemate Kristen King in the left corner. Haggard found Dolan open at the blue line with space to work with. Dolan had plenty of options, but she chose to go forward and take her own shot over the blocker of Brown goaltender Pam Dreyer.
Just 22 seconds later, Wheatley scored to give Dartmouth the first two-goal lead of the afternoon. The unassisted goal came as Wheatley sped up the left sideboard, circled around in front of Dreyer and poked the puck through her five-hole.
Preceding the two Dartmouth goals in the third period, the Big Green had been consistently on the attack. While Brown often had effective forechecking, the Bears could amount little attack of their own other than a few runs from speedy sophomore winger Krissy McManus.
Brown held leads of 2-1 and 3-2 in the third period, but Haggard answered and tied the game each time.
Her first goal came as she received a pass behind the net and lobbed a seemingly harmless shot towards Dreyer. But the puck rebounded right back at Haggard, and she volleyed it into the upper right corner of the net.
Haggard’s second goal came as she drove in a rebound off a shot from the point by defenseman Lesley Reiart.
Haggard now has seven goals in three games — the best goal-scoring average in the nation.
“[Haggard] is very competitive, tough to play against, and deceptively fast,” Oberting said. “Every year she’s gained a little bit more confidence.”
Brown struggled with penalties throughout the second and third periods. At one point early in the third, the Bears had three players in the box.
“I think the penalties killed us,” said Brown coach Digit Murphy. “I think a lot of my kids were tired. If we had stayed out of the box we might have been a little better off.”
Dartmouth freshman Meaghan Walton scored the Big Green’s first goal on an assist from Haggard, but Brown jumped out to an early 2-1 lead on goals from junior co-captain Kim Insalaco and freshman center Jessica Link.
“Brown came out so ready and so confident, and for whatever reason we started out on our heels,” Oberting said.
Insalaco, Brown’s second-leading returning scorer, had only been with the team for four days because of the Brown soccer season. An ankle ligament injury ended her soccer season prematurely, and although she could not run on the grass, she was still healthy enough to skate, so she rejoined the hockey team earlier than scheduled.
Dartmouth remained without junior Carolyn Steele, who is playing in the ECAC field hockey championship this weekend, and freshman Cheryl Muranko — one of three Canadian Under-22 national players on Dartmouth — who was scratched due to injury.
Brown next hosts winless Vermont, coming off a 5-0 loss to Harvard, while Dartmouth heads to Harvard for a rematch of last year’s ECAC championship game.