HANOVER, N.H. — Thanks to a three-goal outburst in the second period, Dartmouth will advance to the ECAC quarterfinals after a 6-3 win Sunday over Harvard.
The three tallies in the middle stanza, all by the third and fourth line, came within a span of 4:58 at the beginning of the period. Dartmouth added three more goals in the third period.
As a mostly slow-paced first period was winding down, Harvard got on the board first with just 32 seconds on the clock. Senior Luke Greiner collected the puck in back of the Dartmouth net before skating out front with it and waiting patiently until snapping a shot over Dartmouth goalie Charles Grant’s left shoulder into the back of the net.
Dartmouth came out with more urgency in the second period. Just 2:28 into the period, the Big Green evened the score when freshman Brad Schierhorn banged in a loose puck past Harvard goalie Raphael Girard. It was Schierhorn’s first goal since Dec. 1 against Bentley, a stretch of 21 games.
Just over four minutes later, Tim O’Brien gave the Big Green its first lead of the night when he picked up a rebound and slid the puck past Girard. Mike Keenan and Charley Mosey picked up the assists.
Only 49 seconds later, at the 7:26 mark, junior Eric Robinson batted a waist-high feed from Alex Goodship into the back of the net giving Dartmouth a two-goal cushion. Schierhorn picked up the other helper.
After the game, when asked what sparked the second period rally, Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said his message was simple after the first.
“I think we passed up on a few shots and didn’t get the puck in deep,” said Gaudet. “I just told them we needed to get it in deep.”
The Big Green increased its lead to three just 3:37 into the third period when freshman Nick Bligh blasted a slap shot up high beating Girard cleanly. The goal was set up by a nice drop pass from Connor Dempsey. That fourth goal chased Girard from the game in favor of backup Peter Traber.
Harvard cut the lead back to two when Greiner took the puck into the zone from right to left before blasting a wrist shot against grain past Grant. The senior’s second goal of the night cut Dartmouth’s lead to two, but that was as close as the Crimson would get.
Dartmouth regained its three-goal lead with just over five minutes to play in the game. After a failed odd-man rush, Dustin Walsh fired a shot from in back of the net that he purposely banked off Traber and into the back of the net. Matt Lindblad and Rick Pinkston assisted on the goal.
At the 17:05 mark, with their goalie pulled and on a power play, Harvard’s Desmond Bergin snapped a wrist shot from the blue line that beat Grant, who was screened on the shot.
However, with 1:46 to play in the game, Schierhorn iced the game with an empty-netter, his second goal of the game and third point of the night.
It was the second time in three years that Dartmouth has overcome a loss in the first game of the series to come back and defeat Harvard in the best-of-three format of the ECAC tournament.
With the loss, a very trying season came to an end for Harvard.
Crimson coach Ted Donato talked about the lost momentum after the game.
“We felt like we had the game heading in our direction up 1-0 after the first period, but then a couple tough bounces didn’t go our way,” said Donato. “Two in a row there off the glass that ended up in the net.”
He described a challenging season with all the off-ice issues.
“I was proud of the way we finished,” added Donato. “We played better the past three to four weeks of the season, but we didn’t end up where would have liked.”
During the regular season, Dartmouth went 1-0-1 against Union, their opponent next weekend. The Big Green won 3-2 on home ice back in November before the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie last month in Schenectady, N.Y.
Dartmouth captain Eric Robinson said even though his team has had success against the Dutchmen this season, they know it will be a challenge next week.
“They’re a very disciplined, well-coached team that very rarely makes mistakes,” he said.