A player who helped Bob Gaudet get some earlier wins in his coaching career was suddenly trying to keep the Dartmouth coach from reaching the 300-win milestone.
Former Brown player Brendan Whittet, who played under Gaudet during Gaudet’s stint from 1988 to 1997, found himself on the opposing bench on Friday in Hanover, N.H. In the end, Dartmouth pulled out the 2-1 win over Brown in both teams’ regular season opener.
“He’s a great guy, a dear friend,” said Gaudet, a few days after the big win that gave him a 300-339-81 record overall. “We had a couple of chuckles about the win after the game. I think [300 wins] just means I’ve been at it long enough, where you get a few of those milestones. I’ve had good players and it’s been a lot of fun over the years.”
Since Dartmouth doesn’t face Colgate this weekend, Gaudet is pulling for Raiders coach Don Vaughan (299-298-69) to join him in the 300-win club. The Raiders face Brown on Friday and Yale on Saturday, with hopes of getting some road wins after a split weekend against Niagara.
“Every time Donnie and I play, it’s a battle, win or lose,” said Gaudet. “I have a ton of respect for him. He’s a good family guy, a good leader and a good person.”
Looking inward, Gaudet sees a lot of good people on the Dartmouth bench. It starts with associate head coach Dave Peters and assistant coach John Rose.
“We have a lot of new faces and [Peters and Rose] have brought in some really good kids,” said Gaudet, whose team fell 2-1 in its second game of the Ivy Shootout against Yale on Saturday.
The first weekend was a good non-league test before the Big Green go official in the ECAC this weekend at Thompson Arena against Quinnipiac and Princeton. Gaudet was able to pick out a few things his team will have to work on to make a serious run at the top of the pack.
“Game conditioning needs to be better. Not in terms of physical conditioning, but rather game experience,” he said.
He’s talking about the team’s ability to be “conditioned” to do the right things at the right time per Dartmouth’s team systems. A lot of this will come with time, as line combinations and power play and penalty kill sets will change with the season, at least early on.
“We had a lot of players who were on the team four years last year and were integral parts of our team. [With the new players], there will be growing pains along the way,” he added. “I like the makeup of our team. As games come, we’re going to be able to evaluate guys and see what our strengths are.”
It helps to have a guy like James Mello, a senior preseason media and coaches all-conference goaltender who made 47 saves on 50 shots in the two weekend games.
“He was really sharp. He’s a huge part of our hockey team. He’s an outstanding athlete and such a calming influence. He’s never rattled,” said Gaudet. “As our team grows, it helps to have such a stable guy and a great leader there.”
Gaudet gave a laundry list of the players he was impressed with in Weekend 1. They ranged from freshmen Eric Nieley, Jesse Beamish, Brandon McNally and Tyler Sikura to junior Dustin Walsh to junior captain Mike Keenan to sophomore defenseman Taylor Boldt. If he’s impressed with that many after two games, things are looking up for this season.
On the spot: Union’s Mat Bodie
He’s seen teammates earn player of the week and plenty of attention, but Mat Bodie will make himself known far and wide in the ECAC come March. Just watch.
The sophomore defenseman from East St. Paul, Manitoba, and younger brother of forward Kyle Bodie, is still on a hot streak that started in Game 1 of the season. In each of his seven games, he’s scored a point from the blue line, including a sweet tuck-in goal after taking his own pass off the boards against New Hampshire, Union’s only marker that night.
His teammate Kelly Zajac was scoring in each game until UNH shut him down on Friday. He responded with a hat trick the next night against American International. Bodie, however, is in fine company. Only player of the week Austin Smith (Colgate) and Kyle Flanagan (St. Lawrence) have points in every game they’ve played, among players with at least four games thus far.
USCHO: What do you think about your point streak?
Bodie: I think it just comes from playing with great players around me. I’m fortunate as a defenseman to have high-flying forwards.
USCHO: What have you learned from older players?
Bodie: Last year, [since-graduated] Brock Matheson kind of showed me that the game of college hockey for a defenseman is just about keeping it simple.
USCHO: What was working in the first five games (2-0–3) that wasn’t working in the UNH game?
Bodie: I thought we played a fairly good game vs. UNH. They had a great goalie [Matt Di Girolamo] that really shut us down. Through the first five games, it was about our team working hard and outworking our opponents, taking nothing for granted and playing good, hard team defense.
USCHO: What could the Dutchmen improve upon going forward?
Bodie: Coming out on a Friday and playing really hard for 60 minutes. The past two weekends, we’ve come out slower on Fridays, and that obviously resulted in our first loss this season.
Around the league
Brown: Mike Clemente earned an impressive fourth career goaltender of the week award for stopping 56 of 60 shots last week. Also worthy of praise was Jack MacLellan, who went 31-14 on faceoffs against both Dartmouth and Princeton.
Clarkson: ECAC Hockey goaltender of the month Paul Karpowich leads the charge here, but the power play remains potent at 12-for-44 (27.3 percent). All this has led the Golden Knights to their best start since 2006-07 (5-1-2).
Colgate: The Niagara Purple Eagles stopped Vaughan’s chase for 300 with a 2-1 victory over the Raiders last Saturday. The Purple Eagles could not stop Austin Smith from scoring his 49th and 50th goals on Friday, however. The next night, they did halt Smith (the ECAC Hockey player of the week)’s five-game goal streak.
Cornell: Joakim Ryan’s multiple-point game against Mercyhurst (two goals, assist) was the first by a Cornell defenseman since Feb. 5, a space of 11 games. The freshman’s feat was recognized with his first ECAC Hockey rookie of the week award.
Harvard: The Nov. 4 start to the season does not bode well for the Crimson, historically speaking. They went 0-5 from 2001 to 2010 in first games in November, against 3-1-1 in first games in October. Their last November opener win was on Nov. 3, 2000 (3-0 at Brown).
Princeton: The Tigers snapped a couple of series streaks recently. First, in Game 1 of their season on Friday, they snapped Yale’s five-game winning streak in that series with a 2-2 tie. However, on Tuesday night, they saw their three-game unbeaten streak against Quinnipiac snapped in a 5-2 loss.
Quinnipiac: Perhaps it was the shock at being named player of the month for October, but even in a 5-2 win over Princeton Tuesday, Jeremy Langlois was unable to reach the scoresheet for the first time in nine games. It was not for a lack of trying, as he led the Bobcats with five shots. Rookie of the month Matthew Peca’s streak, however, extended to eight games and nine points with an assist.
Rensselaer: This is the first time in three seasons the 1-6-0 Engineers weren’t able to bounce back from a rough start. Last year, they were 0-1-2 after three games, but 3-1-3 after seven. In 2009-10, they were 1-2-1 after four games, but 4-2-1 after seven.
St. Lawrence: Remember the Saints? They last played on Oct. 15 and will play Friday vs. Union. At 20 days between games, they are coming off their longest break between regular season games (not including December) since 2001-02, when they went 15 days between seeing competition (Oct. 20 to Nov. 3).
Yale: Congratulations, Nicholas Weberg. You’re officially the first Norwegian to ever score a goal for Yale in a season-opening game. That, and you’re the first Norwegian to ever play for Yale.
Top three alumni performances
First prize: Grant Clitsome (Clarkson), Columbus Blue Jackets — Wasn’t sure where he or the Blue Jackets were going this year, but a three-assist effort in a win over the Detroit Red Wings gets you on this list.
Second prize: Doug Murray (Cornell), San Jose Sharks — The former Big Red defenseman had a pretty good four-game stretch of two assists and a plus-2 rating over the last week.
Third prize: Colin Greening (Cornell), Ottawa Senators — In one four-game stretch, he doubled his points from the previous eight. He now has eight points in 13 games.
Top three recruit performances
First prize: Anthony Paskaruk (Clarkson), Brooks Bandits (AJHL) — He committed just late last week, and Casey Jones’ Golden Knights are getting a speedy, physical player with a good work ethic, according to his Brooks coach.
Second prize: Kevin Lough (Colgate), Cumberland Grads (CCHL) — This Ottawa-born defenseman had six points in six games in late October. He is a co-captain for the Grads this year.
Third prize: Michael Garteig (Quinnipiac), Penticton Vees (BCHL) — Last year’s top goaltender award winner (for Powell River) has played in 11 of the Vees’ 14 games thus far and put together a 9-2 record and a .912 save percentage.