HANOVER, N.H. — Union used a penalty-fueled finish to erase a two-goal deficit and snag a 2-2 ECAC Hockey League draw with Dartmouth at Thompson Arena on Saturday night.
Lane Caffaro and Matt Cook scored on cookie-cutter drives from the right dot, the latter coming with 1:45 to play, as the Dutchmen (12-12-2 overall, 5-8-1 league) capitalized on two late Big Green penalties. Union gained the point despite seeing freshman Dartmouth goaltender Jody O’Neill deny 48 shots, including 36 over the second and third stanzas and the scoreless overtime.
Peter Boldt and Rob Pritchard provided power-play markers for the 20th-ranked Big Green (11-7-3, 8-4-2).
“They shoot the puck from everywhere,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said of Union. “I thought we did a pretty good job of boxing out better than we did in the early game with them (a 5-2 win in November). They found a way at the end to score on the power play. We’d like to have those back, but it’s one of those things.”
Union coach Nate Leaman gambled when Dartmouth’s Adam Estoclet drew a hooking penalty at 17:02 of the third period, pulling goaltender Corey Milan (25 saves) for the extra attacker. The manpower advantage went six against three when Pritchard drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty just 19 seconds later.
The Dutchmen’s Lane Caffaro ripped a Jason Walters feed from the right dot to cut the gap in half at 17:36. Matt Cook repeated the feat from the same spot, again with Milan on the bench, for another extra-attacker, power-play strike at 18:15.
“I thought we played a very solid game; we played well the whole game,” Leaman said. “I was proud of our guys effort. I thought we played a heck of a game. I thought we finally got one in the third period.”
Boldt put the hosts ahead with just 10 seconds to go in the first period. Scott Fleming won a scrum in the corner to Milan’s left and fed Boldt, who flipped a 50-footer over the screened goaltender’s right shoulder.
Pritchard tipped a Doug Jones drive over Milan at 5:22 of the third for Dartmouth’s second man-up goal in five attempts on the night.
However, the senior captain also drew three minors in the third period, including a boarding call just nine seconds after Cook’s tying goal, a disadvantage Dartmouth killed off with the help of three more O’Neill saves.
“He’s got to be the best freshman goalie I’ve seen in this league in a long time,” Leaman said of O’Neill, who has stopped 95 of 99 shots in two games against Union this year. “I can’t think of one off-hand that’s better.”
Dartmouth, now tied with Princeton for third in the ECAC, visits Brown and Yale next weekend. Union is deadlocked with rival Rensselaer for ninth place and will meet the Engineers in a home-and-home series beginning on Friday.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.