HANOVER, N.H. — Next up for Boston University: Sophomore goaltender Karson Gillespie will attempt to walk on water. He’s no miracle worker, but Gillespie was the right guy in the right place for the 18th-ranked Terriers last night, making 40 saves in a 5-1 win over Dartmouth at Thompson Arena.
Making just his third career start in net, his second of the year and first since a 31-save blanking of two-time NCAA champ Denver last month, Gillespie came within minutes of another clean sheet. That makes one goal against in 120 minutes this year. No wonder everyone was singing Gillespie’s praises post-game.
“We had some good chances, but he played with a lot of control,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “He made some really big saves. He made some look easier than they were, because we had some high-quality chances.”
Belying a team returning from a two-week exam break, the Big Green dominated first-period play only to trail 1-0 at the buzzer. Brad Zancanaro did the damage on the scoreboard, but Gillespie’s 13-save netminding made the true difference.
It began when the Saskatchewan native denied the Big Green’s Ben Lovejoy and Mike Ouellette in short succession after an early two-man BU advantage. Gillespie also stoned J.T. Wyman on back-to-back bids and added key stops on David Jones, Jarrett Sampson and Eric Przepiorka before Zancanaro’s second-chance rebound beat Big Green goalie Sean Samuel at 15:21.
“(B)etween us not defending well in front and turning the puck over in the attacking zone when we didn’t have to, we gave them a lot of chances, and Karson had to come up big,” Boston University coach Jack Parker said. “If we don’t get great goaltending in the first period, it’s a completely different game.”
Brandon Yip doubled the lead at 8:53 of the second, the first of his two goals on the night. But again Gillespie was the foundation of BU’s defensive house, making another 14 stops in the middle stanza and another 13 in the last to cement the victory.
The Terriers blew the game open with a three-goal third. BU’s Jason Lawrence and Brian McGuirk chased Samuel within the first minutes of the stanza, and Yip added his second of the night when freshman replacement Dan Goulding – seeing his first varsity action – fanned on Yip’s 50-foot bomb at 9:29.
Tanner Glass broke Gillespie’s shutout bid at 17:37 with a spinaround backhander for Dartmouth’s only power-play goal of the night. The Big Green entered the contest ranked fourth in the nation on the man up, but only converted one of seven chances.
“What you need is a bit of a break; quite honestly, you need a squirrelly one, a soft goal or a soft goaltender,” Gaudet said. “But the kid played very well.”
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.