HANOVER, N.H. — The sound you just heard was that of a very good hockey team getting run over by a train.
Fresh from a hard-fought, one-goal defeat of Ivy League archrival Harvard on Friday night, No. 3 Cornell came to Dartmouth’s Thompson Arena on Saturday night and couldn’t untie itself from the tracks. The Big Green, finally playing to its preseason potential, netted three power-play goals, one shorthanded strike and steamrolled the Big Red, 6-1, to get its first win of the season.
Eric Przepiorka had a goal and two assists, Nick Johnson scored twice and captain Mike Ouellette added two helpers for Dartmouth (1-4-0, 1-4-0 ECACHL).
Asked at what point things got out of hand, Cornell (4-2-0, 3-1-0) coach Mike Schafer opined, “When we got off the bus.”
“Obviously we weren’t prepared to play at the level that Dartmouth played at tonight,” Schafer added. “We just never got it going, and they never let us get it going.”
After Dartmouth’s Tanner Glass and Cornell’s Byron Bitz traded first-period conversions on the power play, the Big Green shifted its engine into overdrive, scoring five unanswered goals to pull away.
Freshman Ryan Bellows worked a give-and-go with fellow rookie Kevin Swallow at 15:57 of the first, jamming Swallow’s return pass behind Cornell goalie David McKee at the right post for his first career goal. Light-scoring Dan Shribman stretched the lead to 3-1 just 2:40 later, finishing a feed from Jarrett Sampson after Sampson split two flat-footed Cornell defensemen.
Two more Big Green power-play strikes in the second stanza ended McKee’s night, the first time the 2004-05 Hobey Baker Award finalist had been pulled from a college game. Johnson stuffed home an Ouellette rebound at 1:25, while Przepiorka took J.T. Wyman’s breakaway pass in stride as he left the penalty box and beat McKee top shelf at 4:09.
The Big Green ended the night 3-for-10 on the man-advantage after going 4-for-21 through its four season-opening losses.
“We’ve been working hard for four games, but hadn’t had it go our way,” Przepiorka said. “We just figured that if we kept doing it that, hopefully the bounces would go our way tonight.”
Johnson closed the scoring at 15:14 of the second, following a shorthanded Ouellette rush to beat backup goalie Louis Chabot. It marked the first time since 2001 that the Big Red had allowed six goals in a game.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.