HANOVER, N.H. — Colgate’s goaltenders couldn’t find a groove, while Dartmouth’s offense took advantage of its homecoming to lead the Big Green to a 6-2 spanking of the Raiders.
Dartmouth’s Lee Stempniak recorded his first career hat trick and two assists, while freshman Mike Ouellette tallied four points, and the second line put up all the scoring the Big Green would need in front of Darren Gastrock.
Just 16 seconds into the first period, Ouellette woke the still-arriving crowd by scoring on Colgate’s recently-shaky goaltender, sophomore Steve Silverthorn.
“They came at us really hard and we had a couple of major breakdowns defensively,” Colgate head coach Don Vaughan said.
“Every time we make a mistake, it ends up in the back of our net.”
Dartmouth drew a penalty soon after freshman Eric Przepiorka’s shorthanded breakaway chance, evening the sides.
Once Dartmouth gained the one-man advantage, Stempniak added to his league-leading total by cleaning up Ouellette’s bid at a second goal. At 9:21 in the first, Stempniak sent his backhander from the left side up and over Silverthorn’s near shoulder.
Colgate wasted little time in making the game interesting, as Scooter Smith — showing the Raiders’ quickness — darted out of the left corner uncontested, straight across the goal and beat Gastrock five-hole, making the score 2-1 Dartmouth.
Colgate continued to work Gastrock, putting up three quick shots on goal, but Dartmouth regained control, working hard behind the Colgate net.
The Raiders’ Brad D’Arco had a breakaway chance thanks to a superb up-ice pass, but Gastrock turned it aside, fueling Dartmouth’s momentum.
Sophomore winger Chris Snizek picked up a loose puck on an attempted clear, and walked in, firing a shot past Silverthorn, who had to worry about the other Dartmouth forwards skating in.
“Luckily the goalie picked up his stick at the last second there and it snuck through his pads,” Snizek said. “It feels really good.”
The blast marked Snizek’s first goal and point of the season, in his first game playing on the first line alongside Przepiorka and Gillings.
Colgate then replaced Silverthorn, putting junior David Cann between the pipes for the start of the second period.
Defenseman Sean Offers welcomed Cann by rocketing a shot past him from the point. The goal was Offers’ first collegiate score.
A scuffle after Colgate’s next chance resulted in minors all around, but Kyle Doyle was assessed a double-minor. The Raiders were left a man down, but accrued a few quality shorthanded chances.
Snizek drew a penalty behind the play, as Dave Thomas refused to let go of his leg, but just four seconds into the Big Green’s power play, Trevor Byrne was sent off for obstruction-tripping, allowing for some four-on-four action.
Colgate took advantage of shaky defensive-zone play by the Big Green after Gastrock took care of a three-on-two, as Rob Brown drew Gastrock to his back and shot the puck over him, putting life back into his team, now down 4-2.
After a Colgate defenseman fanned on an attempt to bring the Raiders within one, Stempniak put them down by three. Stempniak took the puck all the way, skating around his defenseman and a few teammates as he took the puck across the goal and unleashed a wrister from the right side.
“The goal that Stempniak scored, that fifth goal, was huge for us,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. “He made something out of nothing with that bob-and-weave; he’s really a special player.”
The goal was Stempniak’s fourth point of the evening.
Cann prevented further bleeding, making a split save on assistant captain Pete Summerfelt’s breakaway attempt. Colgate held off further pressure, down at the second intermission, 5-2.
Gastrock kept the Raiders at a distance, while Stempniak added his third goal of the evening to round out the scorefest.
“I thought the third period was very much under control,” Gaudet added. “We bent a little bit, but we didn’t really give.”
Dartmouth awaits No. 9 Cornell for a Saturday night matchup, while Colgate takes the short trip to play the Vermont Catamounts.
Cornell blanked Vermont 8-0 in Friday night’s contest.