HANOVER, N.H. — The engine revved.
The accelerator responded.
The tires squealed.
For the first time out of the showroom, just about everything about Dartmouth hockey worked in a 7-4 ECAC home-opening win over Yale at Thompson Arena on Friday night.
Tyler Sikura, Eric Robinson and Matt Lindblad all had two-goal evenings for Dartmouth (1-0-0 ECAC, 2-0-1 overall), which led after Robinson sniped a high-slot wrister past Yale goaltender Nick Maricic 4:44 into the contest to break a 1-1 tie.
Sikura added two assists, Robertson chipped in one and Eric Neiley set up three goals as the Big Green broke an 11-game winless streak against the Bulldogs (0-1-0, 1-1-1) dating back to 2008.
“You saw a pretty good glimpse of what our team hopes to do in the future,” Lindblad said. “We have a bunch of talent up front and defensively, we’re pretty solid. We keep it simple. I thought what we saw out there was a pretty good idea of what you’re going to see for the rest of the season.”
Lindblad got Dartmouth off to a fast start, potting a Neiley rebound at 3:27, only to have Yale’s Stu Wilson bank a crease pass off the stick of Big Green goalie Charles Grant (35 saves) just 30 seconds later. Robinson’s snipe was joined less than two minutes later by another Lindblad tally and Dartmouth was off to the races.
Up 3-2 in the second, the Big Green scored three times on three straight shots in three different manpower situations for a four-goal spread. Brandon McNally (one goal, one assist) solved Maricic (16 saves) in transition at 9:59, Robinson lasered a power-play blast over the Yale goalie’s shoulder at 11:11 and Sikura closed the run with a shorthanded sortie, pinging a left-dot snapper off the right post at 12:05.
Even staring at the large deficit, there were some elements of tonight’s play that Yale coach Keith Allain found superior to the Bulldogs’ 2-2 tie with Dartmouth at last weekend’s Ivy Shootout.
The final score wasn’t one of them.
“I thought that our guys fought hard right to the end, but you’re not going to win many hockey games when you give up seven goals,” Allain said. “I thought we created more chances [than last week]. I thought we were more effective throughout the game, but the scoreboard’s all that matters.”
Trent Ruffolo brought Yale back to within 6-3 in the third period, but Sikura’s counterattack conversion on a Neiley-forced turnover at the Bulldogs’ blue line sealed the deal with 6:51 to play.
Expect more of the same from the Big Green this winter, Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said.
“Today’s game is so quick; it’s an adaptation to the game,” Gaudet noted. “We’re playing a style that is quick, it’s hard, it’s aggressive, but it’s not dumb.”
Antoine Laganiere excelled for Yale, scoring twice to give him four goals in two contests against Dartmouth this season.