BURLINGTON, Vt. — The Ivy League’s rookie of the year last year and a member of the ECAC Hockey League’s all-rookie team, Dartmouth sophomore Nick Johnson can now claim a new title: jumper cable.
Playing with new linemates, Johnson broke out of a six-game goal drought by banging home a Jarrett Sampson feed at 1:23 of overtime to give the Big Green a 4-3 win over Bemidji State yesterday in the consolation game of the Sheraton/TDBanknorth Catamount Cup at Gutterson Fieldhouse. After nearly killing itself with penalties, the Big Green (6-8-0) rallied behind a late third-period Garret Overlock goal and Johnson’s extra-session game-winner.
“I didn’t have anyone on me going to the front of the net,” said Johnson, who’d had just two assists in Dartmouth’s last six games. “Sammy had some time to find me, he put it on my tape, and I just closed my eyes and one-timed it.”
Bemidji State (9-7-2) had 10 power plays on the afternoon, finally converting on the final two for its first lead of the game. Both goals came off the stick of junior Rob Sirianni, who’d been robbed of a man-up marker in the second period when Dartmouth defenseman Grant Lewis came to the rescue of goaltending teammate Mike Devine (33 saves).
Sirianni knotted the game at 2-2 at 7:59 of the third on a five-on-three abetted by Dartmouth’s second too-many-men minor of the game. Sirianni’s struck again at 11:01, making a deft weakside tip-in set up by a Matt Pope pass.
Pope, however, committed the slashing minor that set up Overlock’s center-point wrister at 18:11, opening the door for Dartmouth’s comeback. Overlock threaded a shot through traffic and between the legs of Bemidji State netminder Layne Sedevie (35 saves).
The Big Green win came on the heels of multiple lineup changes by coach Bob Gaudet, who swapped three players and moved four others around in the wake of Friday’s 1-0 loss to No. 5 Vermont. The most significant sent sophomore J.T. Wyman to Johnson’s spot on Dartmouth’s first line, with Johnson dropping back to pair with Tanner Glass and Eric Przepiorka.
“It’s not that it gets stale,” Gaudet said. “We changed the forecheck about halfway through the game, and that was not to do anything but make the guys think of anything else. And the line changes are just that. (You’ve) got to focus that much more.”
Dartmouth’s David Jones and Bemidji State’s Tyler Scofield traded first-period goals. Big Green captain Mike Ouellette scored shorthanded on a four-on-three 24 seconds into the second period, with Lewis robbing Sirianni just a half-minute later to keep Dartmouth in front.
Dartmouth resumes ECACHL play next weekend at Rensselaer and Union. The Beavers head out east again next weekend, as they resume College Hockey America play with a pair of games at Robert Morris.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.