HANOVER, N.H. — In a Jekyll-and-Hyde season, it’s a good thing Dartmouth is saving its Jekyll moments for ECAC Hockey League play.
The Big Green will get a fifth crack at reaching the .500 mark overall on Saturday after disapatching Union, 5-1, on Friday night at Thompson Arena. The Dutchmen (11-11-5 overall, 4-6-3 league) never led, but they made a few fannies nervous when Torren Delforte nailed a spinaround wrister at 6:34 of the third period to halve a 2-0 Dartmouth lead.
The Big Green (9-10-1, 7-5-1 ECACHL) responded with goals from David Jones and freshman blueliner John Gibson in the next 101 seconds to regain control of the night. Mike Devine finished with 32 saves for the Big Green.
Dartmouth played Hyde-and-seek in its nonleague schedule, winning just two of seven games, but the Big Green has been haunting ECACHL foes lately with a 4-0-1 mark over its last five league affairs.
“The third (goal) was huge,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “Union was right there, both teams were playing good solid hockey, and they had some good, solid chances. To answer back so quickly was super.”
Jones scored shorthanded at 7:05 of the third on a four-on-two jailbreak to re-establish the two-goal cushion. Ben Lovejoy carried the puck into the offensive end, drifted to the left boards and dropped a pass for Jones to wrist past Union goalie Kris Mayotte (26 saves).
Gibson followed at 8:15 with a left-point wrister through traffic for his first varsity goal.
“We had a lot of good looks, especially on our first couple of power plays,” said Union coach Nate Leaman, whose Dutchmen went 0-for-9 on the man-advantage. “We had two or three right around the net, and I thought their goaltender came up big.”
J.T. Wyman and Grant Lewis scored first-period goals for Dartmouth, which kept the advantage in tact until the third. Devine secured the two-goal cushion with 24 saves over the first 40 minutes, including a mid-slot robbery of Jonathan Poirier’s one-timer 30 seconds into the middle stanza. If Devine was uncomfortable with only a two-goal lead, it didn’t show.
“It depends how the night is going,” the sophomore said. “Tonight, I wasn’t worried at all.”
Nick Johnson added a late clincher for Dartmouth, which moved into sole possession of fifth place in the ECACHL with the win. The Big Green entertain Rensselaer on Saturday, when they’ll officially celebrate the 100th anniversary of the men’s hockey program with an anticipated 300 former Dartmouth players.
Union visits Harvard on Saturday, having slipped to ninth in the league race.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.