HANOVER, N.H. — No short jokes here; just say Dartmouth was at its best last night when it was numerically challenged.
Kyle Reeds scored twice shorthanded and Rob Pritchard added a third man-down goal in overtime as the Big Green overcame Army, 5-4, in the Ledyard National Bank Classic at Thompson Arena.
Pritchard’s shortie, on a lead pass from Scott Fleming at 1:43 of overtime, sent Dartmouth (7-4-0) into Monday’s tourney final against Bemidji State, a 4-2 winner over Massachusetts.
The overtime game was the Big Green’s fourth in five Thompson dates this season, with Dartmouth winning two and losing two. Pritchard decided it by beating Army goaltender Jay Clark with a 25-foot wrister past the netminder’s blocker pad after Fleming’s lead pass clipped an Army glove but still found the Dartmouth captain in stride.
“It’s not a habit we’d like to continue,” Pritchard said of the Big Green’s penchant for extra sessions. “You never want to cut it that close, but we’ll take whatever we can get.”
A wild second period set up the finish. Down 2-1 after one, Army pulled goals from Eric Sefchik, Joey Ammon and Kyle Maggard and was in position to put the Big Green away.
Dartmouth’s response came twice from Reeds, both on shorthanded breakaways.
The first, on a nice lead pass from Matt Reber, leveled the game at 3-3, and the second, on a steal of a pass from the Black Knights’ Bryant Skarda, deadlocked the game at 4-4 with 1:51 let in the stanza.
“Every guy in our locker room has a lot of skill, and we all work hard,” Reeds said. “But on the penalty kill, if you get the right bounce, you can be off. A few bounces and some hard work playing the system on the penalty kill, and good things happen.”
Mike Hull opened the scoring for the Black Knights (4-10-1) at the 11:08 mark of the first period, redirecting a Kyle Maggard feed that clipped a Dartmouth skate in the slot.
Andrew Owsiak and Connor Shields answered in a span of 102 seconds for the Big Green, Owsiak on a fine bang-bang give-and-go with Doug Jones and Shields on a second-chance rebound of a Paul Lee bid.
Jody O’Neill finished with 23 saves for the Big Green, while Clark knocked aside 32 shots for Army.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News in West Lebanon, N.H.