ORONO, Maine — Dartmouth thought it had done it again.
The Big Green had four ties in its first nine games to go along with four wins and a loss, and on Saturday Dartmouth nearly skated away with another. It would have, in fact, if not for a controversial man-in-the-crease call with one second left on the board.
Instead, No. 3 Maine, keyed by two power-play goals, edged Dartmouth 3-2 in front of a sellout crowd of 5,641 at Alfond Arena.
“It was a solid game from both teams,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “Both teams played very hard and both teams played with a lot of intensity. It was a very physical game.”
Maine enjoyed eight power plays while Dartmouth collected six, and both teams managed two goals with the man advantage.
“I like it when play gets intense like that,” said Maine forward Greg Moore. “It was chippy out there, for sure. Those games are fun to play, though. They are intense, and when you play intense, everyone looks to that as an extra edge.”
Moore scored Maine’s third goal at 12:37 of the second period, at the time pushing the Black Bears’ lead to 3-0. Moore one-timed a pass from assist-leader Michel Leveille off the left post and past Dartmouth netminder Dan Yacey (25 saves).
The only goal in a feisty first period came just as play resumed at the left faceoff circle in the Dartmouth zone.
Sophomore Jon Jankus won the faceoff to freshman Mike Hamilton in the center of the slot. Hamilton snapped a quick shot that beat Yacey between the pads to put the Black Bears up 1-0.
Three minutes later, Maine defenseman Prestin Ryan, up on the play to support a rush, attempted to leap over Yacey, avoiding contact. On his way by, Yacey appeared to stand up just enough to catch Ryan in midair, sending the senior tumbling into the corner.
Three Dartmouth players converged on Ryan, and a minor scuffle ensued. Ryan and Maine winger Dustin Penner each got two minutes for roughing, as did Dartmouth’s Eric Przepiorka and Hugh Jessiman. Jessiman picked up an extra minor for cross-checking, giving the Black Bears one of their eight power plays.
In the second period, the penalties kept coming, and this time, both teams responded with power-play goals.
The Black Bears pushed the lead to 2-0 at 6:54 of the second frame when Dustin Penner notched his third of the season, cleaning up a rebound in front of Yacey after Todd Jackson managed to poke it free from the left post.
Moore’s goal put the Black Bears up 3-0.
Seemingly in control, Maine took some penalties of its own, and Dartmouth started to claw back.
Hugh Jessiman finished off a flurry in front of Maine netminder Frank Doyle to bring the Big Green within two at 3-1 at 17:22, and just two minutes later, at 19:39, Tanner Glass netted the first goal of his career to draw Dartmouth within one.
Throughout the third period, Maine and Dartmouth traded roughing calls, and Big Green captain Brian Van Abel took a 10-minute misconduct penalty.
As the period drew to a close, Dartmouth players threw their arms up in celebration of a goal by Jessiman, but the referee started waving his hands. The goal was disallowed for a man-in-the-crease violation. A replay available to media after the game indeed showed a Dartmouth player in the crease; however, it appeared that Maine’s Troy Barnes may have pushed the forward into the blue area behind Doyle.
“I felt someone behind me,” said Doyle. “That’s all I know.”
Dartmouth falls to 4-2-4, while Maine improves to 12-2-1.