HANOVER, N.H. — Dartmouth seemed headed for a comfortable victory over Brown Saturday afternoon after holding a 3-0 lead at each intermission, but that was before the Bears broke out of a five-period scoreless slump with a flourish.
Brown leading scorer Hayley Moore’s extra attacker goal with 19.6 seconds left completed the Bears’ comeback and forced a 3-3 tie. The result kept Brown (11-9-3, 9-3-3 ECACHL) within striking distance of first place in the league standings.
On the game-tying goal, Brown controlled the draw and had a shot blocked, but the Bears picked up the loose puck and put another shot on net. Freshman goalie Carli Clemis made the initial save, but Moore tapped the puck home.
The game did not head to overtime without controversy. Clemis appeared to have the puck covered, and an animated discussion between the Dartmouth bench and the officials about the slow whistle preceded the final faceoff of regulation.
The onset of overtime brought the return of the aggressive and dominant Big Green that produced the 3-0 lead in the first period. In the first three minutes of overtime, Dartmouth managed six shots on goal. None found their mark, however, and a checking penalty assessed to senior Danielle Grundy with just under two minutes remaining put the home team on the defensive for the remainder.
“We talked about staying focused after the first period, but we didn’t,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak “They came out strong in the second period, and we panicked a little bit.”
Dartmouth (9-9-3, 6-6-2 ECACHL) came out of the locker room in the first period looking ready to take on the world, as Brown was overmatched for the first 10 minutes. The Big Green was aggressive to the puck on defense, forcing a number of turnovers in Brown’s defensive end and refusing to allow the Bears to carry the puck unfettered into the offensive zone.
Brown coach Digit Murphy noticed the flatness in her team hours before the game.
“I called them on it at the team dinner, and maybe in hindsight that wasn’t such a good idea,” she said. “It became sort of a self fulfilling prophecy.”
Freshman Maggie Kennedy, who has been on a scoring tear of late, began the realization of that forecast with a power play goal at 5:57, assisted by junior Meredith Batcheller and classmate Shannon Bowman.
Dartmouth continued the rush with an even-strength tally just over five minutes later. Junior Caroline Ethier dragged the puck out of the corner and hit Julia Bronson in front. Despite heavy contact from a Bear defenseman, Bronson dribbled a shot through sophomore netminder O’Hara Shipe’s five hole.
Kennedy stretched the lead at 12:08, assisted by Batcheller and sophomore Nicole Ruta. A wrist shot from the point was saved by Shipe, but the rebound was batted down and flicked across the goalmouth to Kennedy, who stuffed the puck in the far corner from close range.
Murphy’s pregame motivating tactics left something to be desired, but one in-game decision looked prescient in hindsight. Just over halfway through the first period, she subbed in freshman goaltender Nicole Stock for Shipe.
Shipe had given up three goals, but her play wasn’t deserving of too heavy criticism. She had made only nine saves but her goals allowed had not been soft. She was getting peppered with shots, and Brown was struggling to clear rebounds from the front of the net. The switch, however, seemed to refocus the Bears, and the face of the game changed dramatically following the substitution. Stock ultimately stopped all 24 shots she faced.
“Stock’s a right catch, which screws up the other team a bit,” Murphy said.
After the first intermission, it was as if the teams switched uniforms. The Big Green struggled to break out and failed to match the level of defensive intensity that kept the Bears pinned in their own end for the first chunk of the game. Brown controlled play for much of the second period but did not draw closer on the scoreboard.
“It seemed like the puck kept bouncing over our stick,” Murphy said.
Brown started a charge in the third, however, catalyzed by Stock’s assertive play outside her crease. Brown found success on the breakout by reverting to the program’s signature tactic of sending a flier up the ice to spread out the Dartmouth forecheck.
Senior Keaton Zucker finally broke the ice for Brown with a power play goal at 5:49 of the third period, and senior Margaret Ramsay’s goal at 12:49 cut the deficit to 3-2 and made a game of things.
To set up Ramsay’s goal, Kathryn Moos sent a pass from the left circle through a collision in front, and found her on the far post. That tally set the stage for Moore’s late-game heroics.
Dartmouth next takes the ice on Friday at 7 p.m. against Quinnipiac. The Bears have a long time to savor their dramatic comeback. They next play Yale on Valentine’s Day at 7 p.m.