HANOVER, N.H. — You can do a lot of damage with a Wilson and a Winchester in your arsenal. Kyle Wilson netted the game-winning goal in the second period and Jesse Winchester had a goal, an assist and a clutch faceoff win in the final seconds as No. 17 Colgate held off hard-charging Dartmouth last night, 3-2, before 4,155 at Thompson Arena.
The Big Green, which lost its first three contests by four, three and two goals, respectively, still left with something to remember, given its dismal results to date. Dartmouth finished with a 44-21 edge in shots, as Raider goaltender Mark Dekanich had to be at his best to secure the two points.
“We’ll take it on the road,” Vaughan said. “Did we get away with one? Our guys worked hard enough to be in it, but we’re going to take it, that’s for sure.”
Colgate opened with a shorthanded strike at the 4:17 mark of the first period. Catching Dartmouth on a line change, Liam Huculak poked a loose puck around Big Green defenseman Garret Overlock at the right point and rushed the vacant left wing. Huculak forced a save from Dartmouth goalie Mike Devine (18 saves in his first varsity start), but had the composure to kick the puck into the slot for Winchester to jam home.
Overlock was also the unfortunate victim of Colgate’s second of the night at 1:04 of the second stanza, when a Winchester dump bounced over his stick and onto that of the Raiders’ Tyler Burton, who converted past Devine. The giveaway finally forced the Big Green to show some jump, which eventually manifested itself in David Jones’ power-play one-timer through at 6:54, courtesy of a deft feed out of the right corner from Nick Johnson.
“We were just so much better tonight; we were in tune,” Gaudet said. “We played hard, we played with passion, we played disciplined. We made a couple of mistakes that cost us, but literally, it was a couple of mistakes … I’m talking about the entire game.”
Wilson re-established the two-goal cushion at 17:04 with a quality power-play finish, turning to roof a right-dot wrister over Devine’s glove. It proved to be a key conversion. J.T. Wyman brought Dartmouth back to within a goal by driving home an Eric Przepiorka rebound at 10:10 of the third. Dekanich (42 saves) had to make quality saves on Dartmouth’s Sean Offers, Wyman, Rob Pritchard and Johnson over the final eight minutes to keep Colgate in the lead.
Jones had a last-ditch semi-breakaway stopped when he was tackled by Raider defenseman Nick St. Pierre for a holding minor with 4.1 seconds left. Winchester won the ensuing faceoff from Przepiorka to Dekanich’s right, and Colgate had its victory. “I agree that after the second (Raider) goal, we started to play with a little less thought and started to play instinctively,” Gaudet said. “But it’s also dictated by Colgate, and Colgate’s a pretty good hockey team.”
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.