HANOVER, N.H. — Lee Stempniak scored all three Dartmouth goals in a 3-1 Big Green victory at Thompson Arena to extend the ECAC Quarterfinals against Colgate to a third game.
Stempniak has feasted on the Raiders throughout his career. This was his second hat trick against them this season, increasing his total to eight goals in eight games against Colgate. He has had at least one point in every one of those contests.
“Lee is really one of the elite players in all of college hockey, not just in our league,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said of the sophomore right-winger. “I don’t think he gets enough credit.”
Stempniak’s second goal came in astounding fashion and put Dartmouth ahead for good at 8:21 of the third period.
“Lee scored as amazing as a goal as I’ve ever seen.” Gaudet said.
Alone on the right side, Stempniak tried to deke Joey Mormina, but was hooked to the ice. As he was falling, he threw his stick out in desperation with one hand and rocketed a shot past Colgate netminder Steve Silverthorn.
“I just came down and in a last-ditch effort I threw down my stick,” Stempniak said. “I guess it went in, I didn’t even know. I thought someone put in a rebound rather, I just heard everyone screaming.”
Silverthorn was named the third star of the game after allowing just two goals and recording 41 saves in the losing effort. Dartmouth goaltender Nick Boucher made 19 saves in a quiet night at his end of the ice.
Dartmouth opened the scoring on a power play at 6:14 of the second period. The Colgate defense parted for Stempniak and he skated to the center of the ice, unleashing a wrister that Silverthorn could neither see nor stop.
The Big Green controlled the second frame, thwarted only by Silverthorn, until Scooter Smith sprung Adam Mitchell on a breakaway.
Mitchell came in alone from the blue line and slid a backhand shot underneath a sprawling Nick Boucher at 18:05. At the end of two periods, Dartmouth had 52 attempted shots but just one goal to show for it, due to Colgate’s cramming of the slot and Silverthorn’s outstanding performance.
“He stopped everything we threw at him,” said Gaudet.
It took a stroke of magic from Stempniak to finally break that seal. Stempniak completed the hat trick with an empty-netter thanks to Pete Summerfelt’s third assist of the evening.
“Our backs were against the wall and they will be again tomorrow,” said Gaudet.
The puck drops at 7 p.m. in Thompson Arena for the third and final game of the playoff series between the Dartmouth Big Green and the Colgate Raiders.