HANOVER, N.H. — Batteries are known to lose their power in the frigid air of a New Hampshire winter. A pair of jumper cables or a good extension cord, however, and everything’s as it should be.
Dartmouth plugged in its power play to the tune of a 3-for-9 performance, while its penalty killers held Cornell without a goal in 10 chances last night, turning it all on for a 5-1 ECAC Hockey League win before an electric Thompson Arena crowd of 4,311.
The win gave the Big Green (11-7-3 league, 15-10-3 overall) third place in the ECACHL with one game to play, and also earned Dartmouth its first share of the Ivy League championship since 1980, when coach Bob Gaudet was the Big Green’s goaltender.
“It’s not something the guys focus in on at the start of the season, quite honestly, but as the season progresses,” Gaudet said. “You start clicking off some of the goals you want to achieve, (and) that comes into sight. They were driven to do it.”
The penalty killers got it started for Dartmouth, snuffing four power plays by the Big Red (10-7-4 league, 14-10-4 overall) in the game’s first 20 minutes. The Big Green turned that around to the tune of man-up goals from T.J. Galiardi and J.T. Wyman for a 2-0 lead by the second intermission.
Following a Tanner Glass rebound goal just 45 seconds into the third, Nick Johnson potted Dartmouth’s third power-play strike of the night for a 4-0 lead at 8:26. Cornell’s Byron Bitz and the Big Green’s Rob Pritchard accounted for the game’s final markers.
The Big Red’s man-down failures came against the run of recent history, coach Mike Schafer said. Cornell had been playing well shorthanded over “the last 10-12 games,” although the visitors entered the night ranked 50th (out of 59 Division I schools) in shorthanded effectiveness.
“It’s frustrating,” Schafer said. “The power play’s been playing well. You’ve got to capitalize on your scoring chances in a game like that. We had five-on-threes, a couple of good looks in the first and second period. It’s opportunities lost.”
The Big Green could do a lot of people themselves included a favor by locking down a first-round league tourney bye with a win over Colgate tonight. For one, Dartmouth hasn’t failed to reach the league semifinals during Gaudet’s tenure when it has had the week off.
With the Dartmouth women one win from hosting their league tourney semis and finals at Thompson next weekend, a bye week for the men would take a lot of pressure off the rink.
While an ECACHL championship has eluded Dartmouth, the Ivy crown no longer does.
“I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever won,” said Glass, who also had a goal and an assist. “Every (Ivy) game that comes up in your schedule, you take a second and realize, ‘It’s an Ivy League game; we’ve got to bear down, boys, and get it done.’ We finally managed to string enough of them together to get finally pull a share of the Ivy League.”
Mike Devine stopped 34 shots for the Big Green, while Troy Davenport recorded 16 stops for Cornell.
The Big Red can make it a three-way Ivy championship tie with a victory at Harvard tonight.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.