HANOVER, N.H. — The folks behind the field for this year’s NCAA Division I women’s hockey tournament couldn’t have done more if they’d taken the eight-card deck and flipped everything into the air.
Sophomore Meghan Fardelmann gathered a rebound of her own shot at 4:20 of double overtime, providing sixth-seeded Boston College a 3-2 upset of No. 3 Dartmouth in an NCAA regional before 2,344 at Thompson Arena. It marked the third successive upset of the tourney by dinner time Saturday, following surprises by Minnesota-Duluth on Friday night and St. Lawrence earlier on Saturday.
BC (24-9-2), outplayed through the bulk of the third period and first overtime, came out with speed in the second extra session. Positioned to the right of Big Green goalie Carli Clemis (28 saves), Fardelmann punched her own rebound through crease traffic, setting off a wild celebration in the right wing circle.
“In the locker room, everyone knew it was going to happen eventually,” said Boston College goaltender Molly Schaus, who made 45 saves. “It was bide our time, bide our time, then score a goal. We all have this confidence; we knew we could come out with this eventually.”
The Big Green (27-5-2) played without captain Gillian Apps, who was a last-minute scratch with an injury. It continued Dartmouth’s run of unfortunate luck with health in the NCAAs, which included a run of pneumonia that hampered several players during the Big Green’s last Frozen Four appearance two seasons ago.
Added to Dartmouth’s start was an apparent shoulder injury for sophomore defenseman Sarah Newnam, who was hunched at the waist favoring her left shoulder when BC struck for the game’s first goal. Kelli Stack raced to a loose puck in the neutral zone, eventually feeding Fardelmann for a crease jam at 1:11. Newnam returned before the first period ended.
BC doubled its lead in similarly opportunistic fashion at 16:31 of the second. Allie Thunstrom broke from the Eagles’ end and executed a perfect give-and-go with Stack, jamming home Stack’s crease feed for BC’s nation’s-best 13th shorthanded goal of the year.
“We were trying to get wide shots, then crashing bodies to the net,” Fardelmann said. “Any bodies to the net were hopefully going to get it in.”
With potentially 20 minutes left in its season, Dartmouth rallied back from the 2-0 deficit with a pair of power-play goals.
Senior Cherie Piper who played the last two months of the year on a damaged knee went end-to-end to solve Schaus at 2:03 of the third, slipping the puck through a defender’s legs before beating the BC goalie high to the glove side. Junior assistant captain Nicole Ruta blocking Schaus’ vision as Apps normally would on the man-up tied it at 6:00 with a crease redirection from Jenna Cunningham, who filled Apps’ wing spot with Piper and freshman Sarah Parsons for most of the game.
“I thought we fought back very well,” Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak said. “There are games like this where it’s not so much a lucky bounce. People get tired, mistakes are made, one team gets an opportunity to capitalize and the first team that does wins the game.”
The season’s end marks the end of five Big Green careers, most notably the Canadian Olympic trio of Piper, Apps and Katie Weatherston, who made the NCAA tournament in every one of their collegiate campaigns. Forward Caroline Ethier and defenseman Meredith Batcheller also leave, albeit sooner than they may have anticipated.
“It was an outstanding season,” Hudak said. “I’ve never been a part of a team I’ve been more proud of.”
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.