HANOVER, N.H. — The Dartmouth power play converted four goals, three in the first period alone, helping the Big Green grab a 5-3 win over the Wayne State Warriors.
Co-captain Trevor Byrne scored two power-play goals from the point, while Lee Stempniak knocked in two more from just outside the crease. Stempniak had one assist to go along with his total while Byrne had two helpers.
“We’ve got a bunch of team speed,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “My hope is that our team speed will allow us to get to loose pucks and draw penalties.”
Dartmouth (1-0-0, 0-0-0 ECAC) took advantage of the closely-called contest to give its lethal power play and quick, young forwards an opportunity to create quality chances around the net.
“We played two games in our building and then two out here, and it’s a little tighter here,” Wayne State coach Bill Wilkinson said. “A couple of times, two guys just ran into each other and out comes a penalty. Special teams just killed us — that happened last night too.”
Wayne State (2-2-0, 0-0-0 CHA) had been riding a 14-game unbeaten streak (carrying over from last season) before falling 8-3 to the Vermont Catamounts on Friday night.
While Dartmouth maintained consistent offensive pressure throughout the first period, the gritty Wayne State defensemen often managed to muscle many of the younger forwards off the puck.
Dartmouth’s answer to the Warriors’ early bullying was muscle of its own.
Byrne sent a wrister through heavy traffic from just inside the blue line past Wayne State goaltender Marc Carlson for a power-play goal.
Directly after a close chance by a falling Eric Przepiorka, Kent Gillings and Mike Murray skated in on a two-on-one, but Gillings’ shot was pushed aside by Carlson. Dartmouth recorded 13 first period shots, the most for either team in any period.
Stempniak picked up a goal all on his own at 9:34 in the first on yet another power play. He slid the puck through the defenseman’s legs and, skating past him, made light of Carlson’s attempt to keep him from finishing the impressive play.
Senior defensemen Pete Summerfelt and Byrne were credited with assists.
Said Stempniak, “Pete just made a nice pass up the boards and I think [the defender] was just cheating thinking I was going to drop it to [left winger Hugh] Jessiman. I was able to get a step on him and just pull it through.”
Wayne State came right back with a power-play goal to silence the Thompson Arena crowd. Senior forward Jack Redwood stuffed the puck past Nick Boucher two minutes and 34 seconds after Stempniak’s jaw-dropper.
Warrior Billy Collins was sent to the box for a five-minute clipping major — instated this year to condemn intent to injure — that helped the Big Green rediscover its finishing power.
With just 22.4 seconds left in the first period, Byrne sent in his second power-play goal of the period and Dartmouth took a two-goal lead into the first intermission.
Said Byrne, “I think the gods were with me a little bit on that second one. I was actually trying to make a pass to Mike Murray and I got lucky and hit a stick and it went in.”
Play evened out in the second period, but Wayne State could only manage four shots on goal.
At 13:57 in the second frame, Stempniak won a faceoff and Mike Oullette got his first career assist on a pass to Jessiman, who notched his first collegiate goal (and Dartmouth’s only even-strength tally of the evening.)
The Warriors displayed some resiliency once again, as sophomore John Grubb scored unassisted after gathering a rebound to keep Wayne State breathing.
After Oullette missed an open net that was created by Stempniak’s efforts, Stempniak created another quality chance by sending the puck in front of a crowded left side of the net.
The puck went in, but Jessiman was called for being in the crease, so the score (not the crowd) remained stable.
Redemption for the second line came on its very next shift, during a power play. Oullette slid a perfect pass to Stempniak in front of the net, who banged in his second goal of the game. Summerfelt quietly garnered his third assist of the night on that score, as Dartmouth took a 5-2 lead with just over 10 minutes of play remaining.
Maxim Starchenko added a meaningless goal for the Warriors with 25.1 seconds left in the final period.
“I give Dartmouth a lot of credit, they worked a lot harder than we did,” Wilkinson said.
The Warriors will face Ferris State next Friday and Saturday on the road, while the Big Green travels immediately to Merrimack for a Sunday matchup.