BURLINGTON, Vt. — Heading into the 2003-04 season, Dartmouth was considered a mostly offensive team. As the Big Green jumped out to a seven-game unbeaten streak to open the season, however, it was the Dartmouth defense and junior netminder Dan Yacey that propelled coach Bob Gaudet’s team into the national rankings.
When the Big Green offense finally hit its stride in mid-November, the team’s momentum was interrupted by exams, Christmas break, and games against the likes of Boston College, Maine, and Massachusetts.
This afternoon, playing against Minnesota State at the Sheraton/Banknorth Classic, the Big Green offense re-emerged, scoring six goals in the second period — including five consecutive tallies — as Dartmouth beat the Mavericks, 8-5.
“They’re a very skilled team,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said of the Mavericks. “They’re as skilled a team as we’ve seen this year, no question about it. We capitalized on some good opportunities in the second period, and had really good decisions on 2-on-1s to shoot and I thought we scored some nice goals.”
“You need to play 60 minutes,” said Mavericks coach Troy Jutting. “I thought we had 40 pretty good minutes. The problem was that the 20 bad minutes more than offset the 40 good ones.”
Dartmouth enjoyed some “good minutes” early in the game, as senior Mike Turner redirected a shot by freshman defenseman Rob Jarvis past Maverick goaltender Jon Volp (15 saves) for his second goal of the year. Jarvis’ assist was the first point of his collegiate career, and junior Chris Snizek also picked up a helper for his first point of the season.
It was the first time the Big Green had drawn first blood since November 15, when Mike Ouellette scored the first goal in a 6-3 win over Princeton.
Minnesota State struck back with a shorthanded goal, as senior Cole Bassett picked up his fourth goal of the season on assists from junior Adam Gerlach and sophomore Christian Toll. Toll picked up his first point off the season with the helper, as Dartmouth gave up a shorthanded goal for the second straight game.
The Mavericks added a second tally on the power play with 4:34 left in the opening frame. Mavericks captain and leading scorer Shane Joseph bounced the puck off the board behind the net to Bassett, who put the puck past freshman netminder Sean Samuel (21 saves), who made his collegiate debut against MSU.
“I made some mistakes, and I had some bright spots in the game” Samuel said of his collegiate debut. “I definitely felt more comfortable as the game progressed.”
The Mavericks continued to pressure Samuel for the remainder of the period, but the rookie held on, his comfort level increasing, and Dartmouth headed to the locker room facing a one-goal deficit.
Dartmouth came out hard in the second period, and scored an early goal. Hugh Jessiman scored his team-best eighth goal of the season off assists from linemates Tanner Glass and Eric Przepiorka. Minnesota retook the lead immediately, however, as a shot by junior forward Brad Thompson slid past Samuel after he had made the initial save. Gerlach and Brock Becker were credited with assists on the goal.
Again, Dartmouth equalized, as sophomore Mike Ouellette scored on the power play for his third of the season. After Volp stopped an initial shot by Jessiman, Ouellette picked up the rebound and backhanded it over Volp’s stick. Przepiorka also picked up a helper for his 11th point of the year.
Less than a minute later, Dartmouth took the lead. Just after Ouellette’s goal was announced, sophomore Max Guimond scored his first goal of the year, taking an unassisted shot on a wraparound to beat Volp on his glove side.
“The puck got available in the corner,” Guimond said, “and I just took it behind the net and basically wrapped it around and scored the goal.”
With Dartmouth in the lead again, the Big Green picked up its intensity with another power play tally. Nathan Szymanski beat Volp stick side for his second goal of the tournament, off of assists from Glass and Grant Lewis. Lewis now leads the team with 10 assists.
The Big Green continued to pour it on, scoring on a breakaway with under five minutes the second. Guimond stole the puck just outside the Dartmouth blueline, fed it ahead to sophomore Darcy Marr, who passed to classmate Jarrett Sampson for the Big Green’s sixth goal of the afternoon and the eventual game-winner.
Dartmouth added a fifth straight goal with 2:21 to play, as Ouellette potted his second power play tally of the afternoon, launching a shot past Volp from the middle of the zone off a pass from Jessiman. Ouellette’s tally ended Volp’s afternoon, as Gutting put freshman Chris Clark in net for the duration of the contest. Clark held strong in net for the remainder of the period, and the second intermission mercifully halted Dartmouth’s onslaught.
During the second period, the Big Green outshot the Mavericks, 16-9, after being outshot 8-6 in the first frame. Dartmouth’s six goals were the most the team had scored in a period all season, and the five consecutive goals were also a season-best for the Big Green.
The Mavericks had an opportunity to build momentum with consecutive power plays early in the third period, and made good with 42 seconds left on the second penalty. Freshman Travis Morin beat Samuel glove side on an assist from Joseph, his second helper of the game.
Energized by the goal, Minnesota State continued to pepper Samuel, hoping to recreate the magic of the Mavericks’ 8-7 comeback win over Denver on December 20. Those hopes got a shot in the arm with 10:20 left when freshman defenseman Chad Brownlee scored his second career goal on assists from Thompson and Jon Hart.
Intent on not meeting the same fate as the Pioneers did in Mankato, Gaudet called timeout, and made a goalie substitution of his own, as Dan Yacey — who had played every minute in goal for Dartmouth prior through yesterday’s 3-3 tie against No. 9 Massachusetts — entered the game. “Changing in the third was just a momentum switch,” Gaudet said. “Yace has a way, being a veteran player, of settling things down a bit, and it just changed the momentum, but I thought Sean did a good job for us.”
While Yacey provided an experienced presence in net, it was classmate and assistant captain Lee Stempniak who gave the Big Green a lift, scoring his eighth goal of the season, tying Jessiman for the team lead. Ouellette and Szymanski assisted on the goal, as Dartmouth tied a tournament record with the team’s eighth goal of the game. UNH lit up host UVM for 8 goals in 1996.
With the lead back to three goals, Dartmouth held strong to win for the first time since the win at Princeton. The three-goal victory was also enough to give Dartmouth the tournament victory, as a 5-5 tie between Vermont and No. 9 Massachusetts left both the Catamounts and the Big Green with three-point weekends. Dartmouth’s +3 goal differential topped UVM’s +1 margin, and Dartmouth took home the hardware.
Two Dartmouth players took home individual honors as well: Jessiman was named to the all-tournament team after a five-point (2g, 3a) weekend, and was joined by team captain Brian Van Abel, who led the Big Green defensive unit with solid play throughout the weekend. Joseph was also named to the team as the Mavericks’ lone representative.
Both teams will return to their home arenas and conference play next weekend. The Big Green will host Vermont on Friday in Thompson Arena, while the Mavericks return home to the Midwest Wireless Civic Center for a pair of games against No. 4 Wisconsin on Friday and Saturday.