DURHAM, N.H. — With a 4-0 win over Minnesota State on Sunday, Dartmouth maintained its momentum entering its toughest nonconference stretch, a game against UNH on Wednesday and a pair against No. 1 Minnesota with a 10-day break for final exams in between.
Minnesota State (3-7-4) kept the game close for the first two periods, but the Big Green (9-0-0) scored a goal in every period, including two in third.
“I think the big thing for us is just to look to play 60 minutes consistently,” said Minnesota State coach Jeff Vizenor. “I thought we played a good first period. I thought we did some things pretty well, moved our feet well, and we can’t maintain it right now. That’s something we’re working at.”
Kate Lane made 17 saves for the shutout, Dartmouth’s first in five games. The Big Green had given up 10 goals in its previous four games after surrendering just two goals in its first four. Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak said the team had been adjusting to changes in its systems over that stretch.
“Now we’re taking a look at how [we] want to run [our] D-zone coverage,” Hudak said. “When you change some of those things, there are miscues, and some of the goals scored against us have been miscues on our part. We’ve turned the puck over in bad places. Today I was fairly happy with how we played.”
The Big Green offense gave the defense plenty of cushion. Tiffany Hagge found Cheryl Muranko in front of the net for a 1-0 lead just over four minutes into the game. Katie Weatherston slipped in a loose puck on a third-chance power play opportunity at 4:58 of the second period.
“Dartmouth’s just so strong and physical, and they’re so strong with their sticks,” Vizenor said. “They’re tough to move in front of the net.”
Meredith Batcheller extended the lead to 3-0 when her shot from the point slipped into the corner on the power play at 2:22 of the third period. Dartmouth went up 4-0 when Apps hit a top-shelf shot in open ice at the right faceoff circle.
Dartmouth finished 2-for-7 on the power play and outshot the Mavericks 29-17. Among the brightest spots of the day for Minnesota State was holding Dartmouth without a single dangerous scoring opportunity on a 5-on-3.
“I thought today we fought the puck a little bit,” Hudak said. “Minnesota State does a good job of not letting you have too much.”
The loss for Minnesota State was the team’s second straight after posting a six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3). The Mavericks remained winless this season against teams ranked in the USCHO.com poll, but they believe that will change, just like last season.
“We just hope we continue to get strong as the season goes on,” Vizenor said. “I think it’s going to be a fun end of the year. Last year we came back and took a bite out of Minnesota late in the season. Right now they look untouchable but we’ll see how the season goes.”