BURLINGTON, Vt. — Dartmouth senior goaltender Mike Devine turned in a sparking 31-save performance, and fellow upperclassman J. T. Wyman had two goals and an assist in leading the Big Green to a 4-2 over Vermont at Gutterson Fieldhouse Sunday.
The Catamounts dominated play in the first period, but it was Devine who kept his young team, which started 12 freshmen and sophomores, in its first game of the season. He made 16 saves in the opening frame before Wyman and company broke out for four goals over the final two periods.
“We weathered the storm,” said Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. “We had to regroup and mature a bit after the first period, and we got just outstanding goaltending. … Without [Devine] in the first period, it’s a big struggle, but he’s a big part of our team, and we had to lean on him pretty heavily.”
Vermont got on the board first, at 17:58 of the first period. As Dartmouth was clearing the zone, the puck bounced off an official and to Colin Vock, who fed Brayden Irwin in the slot for the goal, his first of the season.
Vermont head coach Kevin Sneddon agreed that Dartmouth did well to stay in the game after the first and added, “instead of getting better, we got worse as the game went on.”
Just as UVM jumped on Dartmouth in the first period, the Big Green returned the favor in the second, taking it to the Cats.
They scored two goals in 25 seconds, starting with an Evan Stephens shot from inside the blue line, through a maze of players in front of the net.
Wyman, one of only five seniors on the Dartmouth team (which lost eight players to graduation or early departure), made it 2-1 at 3:44. Harrison Taylor’s shot from the right point was stopped by Vermont goaltender Mike Spillane (27 saves), but Spillane left a rebound that Wyman tucked away for the lead.
“I have to give a lot of credit to our freshmen for stepping up,” said Wyman, assistant captain and a fourth-round draft pick of the Montreal Canadiens. “The first goal, we had five freshmen on the ice. [That goal was] really what swung the momentum. Then, we went out and popped in a second quick one. I think that just completely swung the game, right there.”
“We didn’t do too, too many things wrong in the second period, but the things we did wrong, ended up in the back of our net,” said Sneddon.
Colin Vock nearly tied the game, shorthanded, for Vermont with 1:58 remaining in the second. Freshman Josh Burrows sprung Vock on a breakaway with a long pass, but Devine shut the five-hole to keep the lead.
“They did a really nice job exploiting us a bit, when we got overaggressive on the power play,” Gaudet said. “They flew people [out of the zone] and Mike really erased our mistakes, and that’s a good sign of a really, really good goaltender.
Dartmouth outshot Vermont 14-4 in the period.
Dartmouth opened a two-goal lead at 9:33, when Rob Pritchard beat Spillane glove side on the power play. Wyman circled the net and found Pritchard in the slot. Pritchard took his time and put it under the crossbar.
The Big Green were 1-for-5 on the power play, while the Cats were 0-for-6 and have yet to score a man-up goal this season in 20 chances.
Wyman added his second of the game when he collected a loose puck in the high slot and wristed it by Spillane, stick side, at 14:20.
Vermont sophomore Jay Anctil tallied his second goal in as many games from the slot, rounding out the scoring at 18:02.
“There’s lessons to be had within each game, even in these tough losses,” said Sneddon, “That five minutes of hockey ruined our night, essentially, and guys completely came out of the game plan.”
Dartmouth (1-0) travels to face St. Lawrence and Clarkson next Friday and Saturday, while Vermont (0-3-1) is off next week before also hitting the road to play Northeastern and Merrimack Nov. 9-10.