HANOVER, N.H. — Senior Kent Gillings scored twice, including the game-winning goal, as Dartmouth built a 4-0 lead and then held off a late surge by Notre Dame to take the second game of the Auld Lang Syne 6-4 at the Thompson Arena Saturday evening.
The Big Green got on the scoreboard early with a pair of goals from P.J. Martin and Mike Turner. Martin scored at 3:07 on a shot through traffic on the right side, while Turner made his attempt count at 7:44 when he collected a rebound on the right side and put it home. Both goals were the first of the season for the skaters.
Notre Dame burned its timeout shortly after the second Dartmouth marker in hopes of turning the game around. The Irish picked up the offensive pressure for the rest of the frame, but spectacular goaltending by Nick Boucher kept ND off the scoreboard. The Big Green took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission, outshooting the Irish 21-13.
Dartmouth looked to be well on its way in the second, scoring two goals within the first three minutes of the period for a 4-0 advantage. Kent Gillings collected a puck from in front of his own net and skated the length of the ice along the left side. Gillings’ shot from the faceoff circle found its way between Irish netminder Morgan Cey’s pads and the post at 1:57.
Less than a minute later Jarrett Sampson scored his second goal in a Dartmouth sweater. With traffic in front of the net and Cey down, Sampson skated in and got just enough lumber on the puck to move it across the goal line at 2:32.
Fortune seemed to turn in Notre Dame’s favor when the Big Green were assessed a five-minute major for a hit from behind. The Irish used the opportunity to their advantage, scoring two goals to pull within two.
The Irish used good puck movement to find an open Brett Lebda at 5:08 to get on the board. Rob Globke then scored his team-leading 15th goal at 7:51 when he skated in from the right side and fired a shot that found the back of the net, cutting the Dartmouth lead to 4-2.
Notre Dame closed the gap to one at 10:40 when Jake Wiegand backhanded a rebound past Boucher from the left side low.
“The power-play was big at the time, obviously; they get a five-minute major and we were able to capitalize a couple of times” commented head coach Dave Poulin. “Then at 4-3 we had a wonderful opportunity on a 4-on-2, and we didn’t capitalize on it and they came back and made it 5-3.”
Indeed, Dartmouth built its lead back to two on Gillings second goal of the game moments later. Gillings broke free at center ice and wristed a shot over the pads of Cey at 11:15.
Things got interesting late in the game when Wiegand scored at 12:22 to bring the Irish back within one. Notre Dame looked ready to tie the game with seconds left, but Boucher carried the Big Green on his back with some big saves, and Mike Murray sealed the game with an empty-net tally.
Boucher made 38 saves in net for Dartmouth, while Cey stopped 33 attempts for Notre Dame. The Irish, who had been outshot early on, dominated the shot chart in the third with a 14-5 advantage, finishing the game with a 42-39 edge. Notre Dame went 2-for-6 on the power-play, with both goals coming during the five-minute major, while the Big Green was 0-for-3.
“I’m pleased with the way the guys performed tonight, it was a heck of a hockey game,” said Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet. “Now we go in and we play Lowell, and the winner will get the championship. It’s fun for us to be there and to have a chance to win it.”
“I’m very disappointed,” said Poulin “I think we showed what kind of team we were in the latter part of the game. We need to play 60 minutes of hockey. Dartmouth played very well tonight.”
Sunday Dartmouth (7-4-0) will play in the championship game at 7 p.m. against a tough UMass-Lowell squad, which is 7-1-0 in nonconference games and 5-0-0 against the ECAC. Notre Dame will battle Vermont at 4 p.m. in the consolation matchup.