HANOVER, N.H. — One of Dartmouth hockey’s Minnesota natives is picking a good time to go from ice cold to red hot.
Junior J.T. Wyman scored twice last night to propel the Big Green to a 3-2 ECAC Hockey League win over Union at Thompson Arena. The weekend sweep, combined with Cornell’s 2-1 loss to St. Lawrence last night, put Dartmouth (11-9-3 overall, 7-6-3 league) and its Ivy League rival in a tie for fourth in the league with six games left in the regular season.
Wyman spent much of the early season allaying an injury-forced manpower shortage on defense, but is starting to feel a return to his old offensive form. The Wayzata, Minn., native also scored in the Big Green’s 5-2 win over RPI on Friday night.
“He’s a big, strong guy who can really skate,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “It’s a little bit of a confidence thing, but he’s feeling it now. . . . J.T. really stepped up and was huge for us. I was hoping it would come, I could see it coming and it was just a step away.”
For the second straight night, Dartmouth’s opening goal came off Wyman’s stick. Kevin Swallow shook off a defender to feed Wyman in the low slot; Union goalie Justin Mrazek (34 saves) made the initial save, but Wyman gathered the rebound behind Mrazek and jammed it home.
Torren Delforte leveled the score early in the second for the Dutchmen (13-13-2 overall, 6-10-0 league), but Rob Pritchard put the Big Green ahead to stay with a rebound over Mrazek’s left shoulder at 2:31 of the third. Wyman then stretched the lead to 3-1 at 12:23, enough to overcome a T.J. Fox one-timer less than two minutes later.
Although the Delforte and Fox goals came on the power play, Union’s man-up unit came up short on its best, most crucial opportunities. Dartmouth killed a two-minute five-on-three near the mid-point of the final stanza and survived another two-man disadvantage Jon Grecu in the box, Mrazek off the ice for the extra attacker for much of the game’s final two minutes.
“I just think we didn’t convert on our chances,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “I thought we had better chances in the second period, and I thought we had the same chances as them in the third period. We just didn’t convert on our chances, and they did.”
The loss dropped the Dutchmen into a tie with archrival Rensselaer for last place in the league. Union could be Dartmouth’s best friend next weekend with wins over Cornell and Colgate at Achilles Rink.
Mike Devine made 22 saves for Dartmouth. The Big Green visits Quinnipiac and Princeton in its next ECACHL contests.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.