HANOVER, N.H. — Sure, Bob Gaudet is a college hockey coach, but he’s a parent, too. And if there’s a fact parents everywhere know, it’s that a little timeout can be a productive thing.
The adjustments and reminders Gaudet threw into an unusually-timed timeout at 4:41 of the second period Sunday enabled fifth-seeded Dartmouth to shake off pesky, 12th-seeded Yale, 5-1, in the deciding game of their best-of-3 ECAC Hockey League first-round tournament series. Down 1-0 and slowly falling under the spell of the Bulldogs (5-25-2) again, Gaudet used the break to change his forecheck and remind his Big Green (19-11-2) to be patient.
The response: Five unanswered goals by five different skaters, with three coming on power plays assisted by defensemen Garret Overlock and Grant Lewis.
“We decided we wanted to switch up our forecheck and try to get a little more pressure on them, and I think it worked out well,” Overlock said. “It was also good for us to just remind ourselves to stay composed, not get too uptight. There was plenty of time left in the game and the goals were going to come.”
Yale also played a role in its undoing. A thin defensive corps became more so when Matt Cohen left the game with a concussion courtesy of a hard Hugh Jessiman check midway through the first period. The loss of Matt Craig to a 10-minute misconduct shortly after Dartmouth’s timeout and Rob Page to a hooking minor three minutes after that left Yale with just three true blueliners when the game changed.
“Our already-depleted defense corps got more depleted,” Yale coach Tim Taylor said. “Blair Yaworski took a half-dozen shifts as a defenseman, and to put a freshman forward into that position in a big game like this, that’s hard. I’m not making excuses, but obviously we came unraveled there in the second.”
With Page in the box, Nick Johnson corralled an Overlock rebound and tucked a backhander under fallen Bulldog netminder Josh Gartner (52 saves) at 9:04 of the second to tie the game. Fellow freshman David Jones netted the eventual game-winner on the man up at 16:35, beating a Yale defender and Gartner on a solo rush fed by Lewis and Overlock.
Lee Stempniak’s four-on-four breakaway at 18:45 gave Dartmouth its first two-goal lead since Friday’s 7-2 win. Eric Przepiorka — who clanged the right post behind Gartner in the first stanza — and Mike Ouellette added third-period goals for the Big Green, while Dan Yacey recorded 18 saves in the Dartmouth net.
And it all began because Gaudet the coach did something Gaudet the parent might have done with a child not acting in its own best interest.
“I wouldn’t normally do that during the middle of the game or that early in the game, but I thought Yale was playing really, really solid hockey,
“I thought they were doing a lot to limit what we were doing. … I thought if we got a bit more aggressive in everything we did — moving the puck, forechecking — that’s what I wanted to do.”
Dartmouth begins a best-of-3 ECACHL quarterfinal at fourth-seeded Vermont on Friday night.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.