AMHERST, Mass. — Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet wouldn’t take the easy way out.
Instead of succumbing to standard media prodding and dismissing his team’s 7-2 loss to Massachusetts as a letdown after an overtime win over top-ranked Boston College take the easy way out, Gaudet gave his due credit.
“Hockey is a game of intensity, emotion and passion,” he said. “When you don’t have that and the other team does, this is what happens. But UMass played better than we did. They wanted it more and I don’t want to diminish that.”
Freshman Matt Anderson scored the game-winner on a shorthanded breakaway at 14:17 of the second period, but it was the Minutemen’s third-period dominance that sealed the victory.
“The third period’s been our best period all year long,” sophomore Greg Mauldin said.
The game entered the final 20 minutes with UMass holding a 3-2 lead after a middle frame that saw Dartmouth dominate and cut a two-goal deficit in half.
Mauldin’s one-timer from the slot at 5:53 of the third started a four-goal streak that broke the contest wide open.
Mauldin took a pass from Anderson off the right-wing boards and slapped it high past Darren Gastrock for his second of the game.
“I knew the goalie was going to be sliding over,” Mauldin said. “So I just tried to shoot it back against the grain.”
The Minutemen added three more goals before the bleeding stopped, including Mauldin’s hat-trick goal with under a minute left in the game.
“I wasn’t really thinking about getting the hat trick,” Mauldin said. “I just wanted to go to the net and depend on my instincts.”
Mauldin’s hat trick was the first by a UMass player since Warren Norris and Gerry Cahill both turned the trick against Army in 1996.
UMass’ top line of Mauldin, Anderson and Stephen Werner combined for six goals and 11 points on the afternoon, including three third-period markers.
“It’s fun playing with two really good freshman,” Mauldin said. “They move the puck really well. It just makes everything easy.”
Freshman sensation Hugh Jessiman had a goal and an assist in the second period for Dartmouth. The Big Green set the stage for a comeback by outshooting (10-7) and outscoring (2-1) UMass in the period.
Jessiman made the score 2-1 on a power-play tally at 7:21 of the second. Sean Offers slid a wrist shot from the point and Jessiman deflected it top-shelf past Gabe Winer.
Dartmouth beat Winer just once more, on Pete Summerfelt’s first of the year, to cut the deficit to 3-2 at 17:23. Winer faced only 18 shots, turning away 16, but stood tall in the decisive second period.
“Gabe, as he’s been all year, was reliable,” UMass coach Don Cahoon said. “He made a couple of terrific saves in the second period that kept us in it. The team really responds to him.”
Gastrock, however, was a busy man. The junior entered the game with a .920 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average but was able to stop only 21 of 28 shots.