HANOVER, N.H. — By being on the ball on the faceoff dot, Dartmouth is now on the cusp of advancing in the ECAC Hockey League tournament.
The top-seeded Big Green won 42 of 69 draws, two of which set up key goals in Dartmouth’s 5-1 defeat of 11th-seeded Yale in a quarterfinal opener at Thompson Arena Friday night. A victory on Saturday will send the Big Green (17-11-2) to the league semifinals at Albany’s Pepsi Arena for the third time in four years.
Tanner Glass enjoyed a four-point night to pace Dartmouth, scoring twice and narrowly missing a hat trick in the Big Green’s 11th win in 14 home contests this year.
“We got some bounces early, which kind of calmed our nerves a little bit,” Glass said. “To get up like that took a little bit of the pressure off, but not to say it was easy. They came hard and they put pressure on us early, and those bounces alleviated some of the pressure.”
Yale (10-19-3) held a 36-30 edge in shots on the night and was the better team for much of the first period, but two fortunate ricochets enabled Dartmouth to open a quick 2-0 lead.
The first came from Glass’ right boot, which – with the Dartmouth forward facing Yale goalie Alec Richards (20 saves) – deflected a Ben Lovejoy wrister at 2:08. Lovejoy’s shot came directly from a faceoff win from Dartmouth captain Mike Ouellette.
Richards was his own worst enemy at 5:18, when he mishandled a high lob from the left point by Dartmouth defenseman Sean Offers, dropping the puck into his own net.
“The first was a faceoff goal, and the second was kind of a field goal,” Yale coach Tim Taylor said. “I thought, where we played a pretty good first period, all of a sudden we’re behind the 8-ball.”
Another faceoff goal, with freshman John Gibson wristing home a win from fellow rookie Conner Shields, gave Dartmouth a 3-0 lead at 1:53 of the seconds. The Big Green essentially put Yale away with a pair of power-play goals before the second intermission, one-timers from Glass at 8:09 and Ouellette at 19:34.
Glass credited junior Grant Lewis’ presence on the man-up as key to Dartmouth’s ending an 0-for-22 slump with Glass’ second goal of the night.
“My biggest job on the power play is bringing the puck up and making sure we get in the zone,” Lewis said. “I’m not a goal scorer. I assist on more of the power-play goals than score them.”
Mike Devine finished with 35 saves for Dartmouth, yielding only a rebound goal to Yale freshman David Meckler – the Bulldogs’ fifth-overtime hero of last week – midway through the second period.
Josh Gartner made five saves in relief of Richards in the third period. Yale also skated without its second-leading scorer, Jean-Francois Boucher, who was suspended for the weekend series for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.