HANOVER, N.H. — When the week begins with a full moon and ends with Friday the 13th, things like this happen:
-A seemingly watertight defense surrenders an early two-goal lead.
-An innocent dump-in deflects off a goaltenders stick and into his own net to tie the game.
-The apparent game-winning goal in overtime is first waved off, then allowed.
All in a night’s work, at the end of an odd and thrilling night, for No. 19 Dartmouth in its 5-4 ECAC Hockey defeat of No. 6 Cornell at Thompson Arena on Friday.
The Big Green’s Joe Gaudet tipped a Doug Jones feed over the shoulder of Big Red goaltender Ben Scrivens and off an upper net support post at 1:05 of overtime for the winner, which referee Bryan Hicks first disallowed before reversing his call following a conference with his three counterparts.
“I thought we were playing really good hockey from the drop of the puck,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “It’s one of those things; you look up, you’re down 2-0, a couple of things go against you, they make a couple of plays. I just thought we needed to keep on playing.”
The Big Green (13-8-3 overall, 10-5-2 league) did just that to further bolster its position among the top four teams in the ECAC with five games to play.
The game began to turn with Dartmouth freshman Jim Gaudet’s bizarre first collegiate goal at 10:42 of the second period. With the Big Green trailing 2-1, Gaudet lugged the puck out of his zone to the red line and lobbed it down the ice to the right of the Cornell net.
Big Red netminder Ben Scrivens (26 saves) raised his stick to knock the puck down. Instead, he deflected it into his own net to complete Dartmouth’s comeback from an early two-goal deficit.
“The goal that kills us,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer lamented. “That gives them life.”
The Big Red (15-5-4, 10-4-3) got some back on an Evan Barlow rebound at 16:10, but Joe Gaudet scored his first of the night on a power-play tip at 17:37 and Connor Shields followed with a crease jam at 18:42 for Dartmouth’s first lead of the night.
The Big Green opened the final stanza with three straight penalties, and Cornell’s Mike Devin made Dartmouth pay with a 50-foot blast past Big Green goaltender Jody O’Neill (24 saves) to level the contest at 4-4 at 5:43. An exciting, evenly played game finally turned the hosts’ way when Cornell’s Keir Ross drew a high-sticking minor with 58 seconds to play after giving the puck away to Dartmouth’s Adam Estoclet at center ice.
Jones again fed Joe Gaudet for the winner two seconds after Ross returned, spinning around at the left boards to fire a pass to the front of the net that Gaudet tipped home, but only confirmed after Hicks consulted with his fellow officials as well as the goal judge behind Scrivens’ net.
“It looked like it went over the guy’s shoulder, then (off) the post and the inside pad of the net, I think,” Joe Gaudet said. “That was a good call by the ref. Usually they’re pretty stubborn about reversing their calls.”
Joe Devin and Colin Greening scored in the first 5:15 of the game to get Cornell started. The Big Red, who have won just two of their last seven games, visit Harvard tonight.
Rob Pritchard also scored for Dartmouth, which now holds a five-point lead on St. Lawrence for fourth place in the league entering a home date with Colgate this evening.
Greg Fennell covers Dartmouth hockey for the Valley News of West Lebanon, N.H.