HANOVER, N.H. — With a couple of lucky bounces and a couple of goals from unlikely sources, No. 3 Dartmouth came from behind and edged Yale 3-2 at Thompson Arena on Friday night.
Dartmouth (22-3-0, 15-2-0 ECACHL) was without forward Gillian Apps and the team’s top scorer, Kazmaier finalist Cherie Piper, due to a separated shoulder. However, the Big Green turned to freshman Nicole Ruta for a spark and senior Krista Dornfried for the game winning touch.
Yale (12-14-1, 10-7-1 ECACHL) started strong off the opening face-off as sophomore Kristin Savard took advantage of the Big Green’s inability to clear the puck and beat goalie Kate Lane in front just 20 seconds into the game. Dartmouth quickly responded on the power-play at the thirteen-minute mark when junior Katie Weatherston found an open net from point-blank range after perfect execution of swinging the puck.
Yale held a 2-1 lead for most of the second period behind another goal by Savard and a solid effort by freshman goalie Shivon Zilis, who made 29 saves on the night. But in the period’s final minute, Ruta tied the score and the momentum shifted to the Big Green.
On a blue-line shot by Dartmouth defenseman Alana BreMiller, the puck ricocheted off of a Yale defender and bounced to the stick of Ruta, who was streaking across to crash the net. The freshman showed great poise and wrested a shot high on the stick-side to even the score.
“We didn’t flip it out of the zone,” said Yale coach Hilary Witt. “[Ruta] made a nice play, and with 40 seconds to go, that just killed us.”
In the third, both teams attacked the net, putting a combined 20 shots on goal. Lane was able to make all nine of her saves, and Zilis was almost equal to the task if not for the quick hands of Dornfried.
At the 10:25 mark of the last period, Dartmouth defenseman Meredith Batcheller lobbed an arching shot towards net. Before Zilis could make an easy glove-save, Dornfried snatched the puck out of the air with her hands, dropped it onto the ice, and poked it across the crease for the game winner.
“If you work hard, you get some bounces going your way,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak. “I thought [Dornfried] made a great play in front of the net.”
The 3-2 score would hold up for the rest of the game. Yale pulled its goalie for an extra attacker for the last 1:09 of the contest, but the puck took Dartmouth bounces out of the zone multiple times to prevent the Bulldogs from mounting a sizable offense.
“They did a good job adjusting without their missing players,” said Witt of Dartmouth. “They have good speed out there, but we did a great job on our penalty kills. We just can’t make any turnovers against them.”
The Bulldogs will head north on Saturday to face Vermont. Dartmouth will play one last regular season game in Hanover and recognize its seniors before facing off against Princeton.
The Big Green will continue to play without Apps and Piper, who are questionable for next week’s games against No. 6 Harvard and Brown as well. In an effort to have a healthy team for the playoffs, Hudak is playing it safe.
“We’re not going to try to get anyone in there too soon,” Hudak said. “We don’t want to put any players in jeopardy with the playoffs coming up.”
Dartmouth currently sits in second place in the ECACHL standings, trailing rival Harvard by a single point.