HANOVER, N.H. — No. 2 Dartmouth struggled to get its offense going early Friday night against No. 5 Providence, but when Friar penalties provided a jump start, the Big Green scored goals in bunches.
Dartmouth (1-0) scored three goals in three minutes during the second period to break a scoreless tie and four goals in three minutes in the third period to bury the Friars (1-1-2) by a 7-2 margin.
The Big Green took 10 penalties and nearly let Providence back into the game as the Friars narrowed the deficit 3-2 in the third period, but the Friars took nine penalties themselves and let Dartmouth pull away.
“I think [my players] are a group that does a really nice job noticing when they’ve got someone’s back to the wall and not letting up,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak, who earned the victory in his head coaching debut.
Gillian Apps scored four goals and Cherie Piper tallied two goals and two assists to account for most of the damage. They leave Dartmouth next weekend to play for the Canadian national team.
“Our team just feeds on positive energy, and scoring a goal is the most positive thing you can feel on the ice,” Piper said. “When everyone’s pumped and everyone’s cheering you can keep rolling.”
Providence coach Bob Deraney said he was once again disappointed with his team’s effort. The Friars now have some soul-searching and healing to do with 11 days before their next game against Harvard.
“The person who is determined is the one who’s going to be successful, and they were way more successful than us in all aspects of the game,” Deraney said.
A power-play goal by Katie Weatherston was the spark that broke a second period scoreless tie and ignited a rally of two Dartmouth goals in 11 seconds and three Dartmouth goals in three minutes.
The inspirational goal came 5:53 into the period when the Friars gave Tiffany Hagge room to skate around by the right faceoff circle. She set up Weatherston for a one-timer in the slot that ripped through traffic to find the net.
Piper and Apps came barreling onto the ice for the second Dartmouth goal. The Big Green pressure allowed Piper to pick off the puck by the right side boards and she fired a bullet towards Apps, who directed the puck sharply inside the left post from the slot.
Providence’s immediate attempts to battle back proved costly as it let Dartmouth score a killer third goal in transition. On a bang-bang play, Dartmouth’s Alex Zagaria worked the puck up to Walton, who made a nifty play at the blue line to slow the puck and let Piper break into the zone at full speed. She went deep in on Bugden and managed to shove the puck through her five-hole as she was falling to the ice.
Providence called timeout to talk things over and nearly turned the game around. The Friars drew three penalties in a row and finally struck on the two-person advantage on the power play when Meredith Roth and Kelli Halcisak worked the puck from the points to senior Darlene Stephenson on the doorstep for the finish.
“I was disappointed we were in [the box] that much,” Hudak said. “If we hadn’t got into penalty trouble in the second period I think we would have kept rolling.”
Providence cut the deficit to 3-2 when Kristen Gigliotti earned a lucky bounce off Rush Zimmerman’s skate that went just inside the left post. It was a reversal of luck as Gigliotti had hit the post on the power play during the second period. Deraney took little solace in the comeback.
“The fact that we were still in it wasn’t a credit to us,” Deraney said.
Providence took one of its worst penalties of the game when freshman Sonny Waltrous was called for shooting the puck into the net after the whistle. It led to Apps’ second goal, moments after the power play ended, when she deflected the puck into the net off a shot from Hagge. Piper followed up by putting in a rebound of a Walton shot 14 seconds later.
By then, Providence’s effort had just about left the building. The Big Green showed no mercy as Piper set up Apps to walk in all alone for an easy hat trick. Apps added the fourth when she forced in a rebound off a shot by Alana BreMiller that the Friars failed to adequately fight for. Dartmouth went on to hit two more pipes in the last five minutes.
“We made some brutal mistakes; offsides on 2-on-1, taking penalties when we’re on the power play,” Deraney said. “You can’t do that against a team like this.”
Providence sophomore Jana Bugden stopped just 19 of 26 shots in net, but she was often left helpless as her defense let down in front of her. Dartmouth sophomore Stephanie Cochran stopped 26 shots to earn a victory in her second career start in net. The other win was against Harvard in the ECAC final — also by a 7-2 score. She was as good as advertised in playing in the angles and preventing quick Providence players like Karen Thatcher score on potentially dangerous breaks.
“I thought Steph played a solid game,” Hudak said. “She looked a little nervous in the beginning, but then she settled in like last year against Harvard. Our team did a good job letting her see the shots.”
In the end, the Dartmouth penalties were the only source of disappointment.
“Obviously before the game we tried to focus on playing hard, physical and not dirty,” Piper said. “Ultimately no matter what our team needs not to take so many penalties, to pick our spots and be aggressive and physical.”
Former Dartmouth Judy Parish Oberting, who retired this summer, was on hand after the game to offer her congratulations and a hug to Hudak. She watched a Dartmouth team that picked up right where she left off.
“It was great way to start out season,” Apps said. “We wanted to set the tone for the year, and we definitely did that.”