BURLINGTON, Vt. — Dartmouth broke open a close, emotional, penalty-filled game with four second-period goals and took the rubber match between the 13th-ranked Vermont Catamounts and Big Green Saturday at Gutterson Fieldhouse.
Nick Johnson scored two of the four in the period and assisted on another; Mike Ouellette also had two goals and an assist; and Sean Samuel stopped 18 shots to propel their team to the win.
Dartmouth (8-7-2, 5-5-0 ECACHL) triumphed in the season series with this win coupled with a win in the championship game of its holiday tournament over the Cats. The loss for Vermont (13-7-3, 7-2-2), only its third in the last 18 games, combined with Colgate’s 1-0 win at Union, drops the Cats from the top spot in the ECACHL standings.
“We played a solid hockey game,” said Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet, “fundamentally sound from start to finish. We’ve been focused on keeping it simple. I thought they did a very good job. [Vermont's Joe] Fallon is a very good goalie, and that’s a very good team we played.”
The two teams played a scoreless first period. It did not, however, have a shortage of intensity. The game was the third in the series in 28 days and it showed. At 9:40 of the period, a scrum after the whistle resulted in 52 minutes in penalties being called. When all was said and done, Vermont freshman Torrey Mitchell and Dartmouth junior Eric Przepiorka got slapped with the most severe of the infractions. Both received five minutes for fighting and game disqualifications.
Dartmouth took the play to Vermont in the period forcing Fallon to make 11 saves, while Samuel made four in the opening twenty. The scoring in the second began with a shot from Mike Ouellette, who cut into the slot and beat Fallon cleanly, glove side, seconds after Vermont had killed a prolonged 4-on-3 Dartmouth advantage. Johnson and Lee Stempniak assisted on the goal at 5:30.
Grant Lewis crept in from his point position and beat Fallon at 16:35 for the second goal, while the team were skating five-on-three — the first power-play goal of the night. Ouellette and Sean Offers got the assists, which came with just five seconds remaining in the first penalty.
Jeff Corey, who seemed to be in the box for the entire second period, took another penalty at 17:41. Johnson promptly scored on the ensuing power play at 18:07 to make it 3-0. But Dartmouth wasn’t done as Johnson tallied his second of the night with 0:31 remaining in the period.
Ouellette added his second of the game early in the third on a two-on-one, before Scott Mifsud finally gave the sellout crowd something to cheer about with his 15th of the season on the power play. Chris Myers and Kenny Macaulay (two assists) assisted on Mifsud’s goal at 12:38.
Tim Plant made the score respectable at 5-2, when he one-timed a pass from Reese Wisnowski past Samuel with six minutes left, but that was as close as the Cats would get.
“I think our team was very undisciplined from the get-go,” said Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon. “Our game plan was composure. We ran the goalie early on in the game, and then we have a skirmish after the whistle. We told our guys not to do that. We’re obviously going to have to teach them some discipline this week.”
Fallon made 29 saves for Vermont. Dartmouth was two-for-ten with 17 shots and nearly 19 minutes of time with the man advantage. Vermont was one-for-eight. In all, 30 penalties totaling 82 minutes were called in the game.
“The wind was taken out of our sails with all the five-on-threes and penalty kills,” Sneddon said, “and a lot of those penalties were warranted.
“[Dartmouth] is going to put it in the back of the net at some point. They are a talented team. I don’t know what the final [shot] tally was, but they were the better team tonight. They controlled their emotions better, they won every face-off; they won races to loose pucks. They were clearly the better team tonight, without question about it.”
Both Mitchell and Przepiorka will be unavailable to play Friday night as a result of their disqualifications when both sides travel to Cornell and Colgate next weekend. Dartmouth faces Cornell Friday, while Vermont gets Colgate.