HANOVER, N.H. — After leading Dartmouth all season as a senior tri-captain, Sarah Clark led the Big Green to an Ivy League title on Saturday, scoring the game-winning goal with 5:09 to play as Dartmouth topped Brown, 3-2.
“I think people were really worried about us after that little slide,” said Clark, whose Big Green had dropped four of its last five before this weekend’s sweep. “To come out and sweep our hardest series was very important to us.”
“I think we had a goalie and two senior captains that really stepped it up,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak, whose team showed signs of fatigue following Friday’s 3-2 win over Harvard. “Clarkie and Wheatley really had a great weekend, and especially tonight. We had to put them out there in some key situations and they did an awesome job.”
Brown coach Digit Murphy was unavailable for comment following the loss.
The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the game’s eighth minute on a low shot from junior Jessica Link. The Clifton Park, N.Y., native took a pass in the slot from Amy McLaughlin and slid it along the ice past Dartmouth goalkeeper Kate Lane.
Dartmouth answered four minutes later, taking advantage of a distracted Katie Germain. The Brown netminder had lost her stick during the course of play, and was using a skater’s stick. Just after Lindsey Glennon handed Germain her stick back, Dartmouth’s Kirstin Anderson launched a shot from the blue line, which senior tri-captain Lydia Wheatley redirected past Germain for the equalizing tally.
After being outshot 12-8 in the first period, Dartmouth picked up the intensity in the second, outshooting the Bears 9-8. However, a combination of stalwart goaltending by Germain and unfortunate positioning from the Big Green resulted in nothing but tantalizing near misses. The result was the same at the other end, as Lane stopped all eight Brown shots, leaving the score knotted as the teams headed into the third period.
The final stanza started the same way that the second had ended, with heart-stopping near misses and rock-solid goaltending on both sides. Then, with 9:15 to play, Gillian Apps, the heroine of last night’s 3-2 win over Harvard, struck again, beating Germain on her stick side to put Dartmouth up 2-1.
Any thoughts of a second Apps game-winner were negated, however, as a bench minor against Dartmouth led to a Brown power-play goal. Sophomore Margaret Ramsay knocked down a shot from classmate Keaton Zucker, redirecting it past Lane to tie the game. With just over five minutes to play, the Bears were re-energized.
That energy disappeared quickly, however, as Dartmouth took back the lead and the momentum on the next faceoff. Katie Weatherston found Clark, who lifted the puck just over the goal line for the go-ahead tally.
“I was getting in there on the forecheck, and I was first to the puck” said Clark, “and I decided I might as well just throw it at the net.”
“It’s a clich,” Hudak said, “but if you put the puck to the net, good things will happen. That’s basically what [Clark] did.”
The Bears protested that Germain had caught puck before it crossed the line, but referee Stacey Livingston was in position on the play, and awarded Dartmouth the goal. From there, Lane and the Dartmouth defense took care of business, and the Big Green wrapped up its third Ivy League title in four years.
For the game, Lane made 26 saves, while Germain stopped 21 for Brown.
“It’s such a great feeling,” said Wheatley, who played on the 2001 and 2002 Ivy championship teams. “The team’s back. We’re not dealing with issues like people being hurt or people leaving. We really worked as a team, and that’s what we need, and that’s what’s been our calling card forever, so it’s great to get back to that.”
Both Dartmouth and Brown close out regular-season play next weekend. Dartmouth finishes its Ivy schedule at Cornell next Saturday, before playing its last regular season game against Colgate on Sunday. The Bears return home to Meehan Auditorium for a weekend series against Princeton and Yale. All four games start at 2 p.m.