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College Hockey:
Mello stops 31 as Dartmouth sweeps Harvard

— Dartmouth’s hockey season through nine games offered an odd contradiction: tons of offense on the road, a relative paucity of it at home.

The Big Green took care of that little detail last night, picking up from where it left off in an 8-2 rout of Harvard outside Boston on Friday with a 24-shot, four-goal first period en route to a 5-2 win over the Crimson at Thompson Arena.

One-third of the way through its season, Dartmouth (6-3-1 overall, 5-2-1 league) is the surprise leader in the ECAC Hockey League standings. As with many of its early successes, this one came with a lot of goals, a workmanlike effort in net, and a complete effort from goal line to goal line.

“Our guys played so well both games,” said Dartmouth’s Bob Gaudet, who earned his first regular-season sweep of Harvard (2-6-0, 2-6-0) as the Big Green’s coach. “We didn’t think about (the sweep); they’re four points in the standings, and we got them back-to-back. Our guys just played very, very well.”

Dartmouth pumped 17 consecutive shots on Harvard netminder Ryan Carroll (37 saves) at one point during the opening four-goal barrage, built on a 24-4 shots cushion. Senior Adam Estoclet broke through first at 12:39, burying a third-chance rebound of a Doug Jones bid. When freshman Matt Lindblad hit an open net following Dustin Walsh’s length-of-the-rink rush at 16:45, the charge was on.

Nick Walsh tipped a long Taylor Boldt wrister over Carroll at 17:27, and Dartmouth captain Scott Fleming one-timed a Matt Reber feed following a Harvard giveaway at 18:15 for the 4-0 cushion.

The Crimson hurt its own cause by drawing the game’s first three penalties, surrendering Estoclet’s goal on the power play.

“I don’t know if there was a carryover, but it looked all too familiar,” Harvard coach Ted Donato admitted. “I think they were able to pin us in our zone. We took three penalties, which allowed them to spend more time in our zone. Unfortunately for us, up to a certain point, we did a great deal of it to ourselves.”

Although the Crimson picked up the pace in the final two periods, Dartmouth netminder James Mello wasn’t required to do anything overly acrobatic in recording a 31-save win. Matt McCollem solved him early in the second period and Dan Ford scored his first collegiate goal with 39.4 seconds left in the game for Harvard.

Senior defender Evan Stephens accounted for the Big Green’s final strike late in the middle stanza. Fleming and Jones each had two assists for Dartmouth.

The win kicked off a seven-game homestand for Dartmouth, which had only played twice at Thompson prior to last night. The Big Green is off until a visit from Vermont on Dec. 12, while Harvard entertains Merrimack on Tuesday night.

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