College Hockey:
Nanji’s late goal lifts Dartmouth over Maine to gain series sweep

— Despite a bounce-back performance after a 6-1 loss in game one on Saturday, Maine fell to Dartmouth 4-2 behind senior defender Sasha Nanji’s game-winning goal with just over three minutes to play.

The win improves Dartmouth’s record to 6-4-2 on the season as senior forward Camille Dumais followed up her four point effort from Saturday with a goal and two assists in game two.

The Black Bears’ loss extends their winless streak to seven games, dropping their record to 2-12-1 on the year. Senior goaltender Brittany Ott got the start in net for Maine and was busy once again, stopping 32 of 36 shots she faced to help the Black Bears remain competitive throughout.

The game was very much up for grabs until the closing moments thanks to a rejuvenated Black Bear penalty kill that snuffed out all nine Dartmouth power-play opportunities. Maine finished with one goal in their six chances with the extra attacker.

“We were in the box too much,” Maine coach Maria Lewis said. “Overall, I was happy with the way we bounced back from yesterday, but being on the [penalty kill] that many times hurt us. It took away our momentum.”

Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak said his team was fortunate to come away with the victory after not executing on their power-play chances.

“It was almost as if we were playing two opponents today,” Hudak said. “We were playing Maine, but we were also playing ourselves a little bit. Maine played much better, as I thought they would. They responded, they had us back on our heels a little bit, but in the end, we caught a break.”

The play in the opening period set the tone for what would be a very up-and-down hockey game.

The only goal of the period came on a Maine power play with just over 10 minutes gone in the frame.

Junior defender Kayla Kaluzny found the puck on her stick following a scramble in front of the Dartmouth crease that pulled junior goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft out of position. Kaluzny backhanded the puck into the open net, giving the Black Bears their first lead since the opening minutes of game one against Boston College last weekend.

Senior forward Brittany Dougherty and sophomore defender Brittney Huneke were credited with assists on the play.

Holdcroft finished with 19 saves on the way to her sixth win of the season.

Three even-strength goals highlighted an action-packed second period.

Dartmouth tied the score at one on a Morgan Illikainen snap shot from the left dot. The sophomore defender was assisted by senior forward Sally Komarek on the tally that made it 1-1 with 1:30 to go before intermission.

The Big Green went up 2-1 just 30 seconds later on Dumais’ fourth goal of the weekend following her hat trick from Saturday. The goal came on a bad-angle wraparound attempt that passed just inches over Ott’s glove. Dumais was assisted by fellow senior forward Jenna Hobeika.

The Black Bears tied it once again on a tip-in with 10.8 seconds remaining in the frame. Freshman forward Shawna Lesperance’s first collegiate goal was assisted by junior forward Brianne Kilgour to make it 2-2 heading into the final period.

The game looked as though it was heading to overtime, with neither team gaining much of an advantage until the final moments when Dumais took charge.

Dumais earned assists on the final two goals of the game – Nanji’s eventual game-winner with 3:07 remaining in regulation and Hobeika’s insurance goal that made it 4-2 less than two minutes later.

“It was a great to come away with two wins before the break,” Dumais said. “It definitely puts a smile back on our faces, that’s for sure.”

Senior forward Reagan Fischer also earned an assist on Hobeika’s late goal for the 100th point of her career.

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