NEW HAVEN, Conn. – The line of Shane Sellar, Will Graber, and Quin Foreman was virtually unstoppable for Dartmouth Friday night at Yale.
The trio combined for four goals, including Foreman’s first career hat trick, as the Big Green rolled to 6-4 win over the Bulldogs at Ingalls Rink.
With the win, Dartmouth clinched fifth place in ECAC Hockey and a home series in the first round of the league playoffs. The Big Green lead sixth-place Colgate by two points, but own the tiebreaker over the Raiders due to more conference wins. The loss dropped Yale into ninth place, one point out of home ice.
Foreman added an assist to give him a four-point night, while Sellar (one goal, two assists) and Graber (three assists) also had multi-point nights, and goalie Devin Buffalo made 31 saves for the win.
Joe Snively had two goals and two assists for Yale, while Ryan Hitchcock added a goal and an assist. Snively’s three-point night pushed him over the 100-point mark for his Yale career.
“Tonight was one of those nights where every loose puck seemed to find our sticks,” Foreman said. “Over time, [our chemistry] has developed. We’ve been together since early December now. The first few weeks it was a little rough, but over the last three weeks it’s just all come together.”
Outside of the trio’s offensive talents, Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said the three underclassmen play an intelligent game and are reliable defensively.
“They’re really strong on the puck but they’re smart hockey players,” Gaudet said. “They really know where to put the puck; they know when to put the puck in deep and they know when to make a play. These guys are excellent defensive players, but are excellent offensive players too; it’s a pretty good combination.”
While the Big Green’s top line dominated the scoring most of the game, Clay Han’s first goal of the season early in the second period might have been the biggest of the night for Dartmouth.
The Big Green led Yale 3-2, but the Bulldogs had several chances to tie it in the opening minutes of the period. Buffalo stopped Snively on a partial breakaway, and then slid across the crease to deny Brett Jewell’s attempt.
Dartmouth (13-13-2, 11-9-1) regrouped and scored when Han ripped a shot from the top of the left circle to make it 4-2.
“That was a big, big goal for us,” Gaudet said. “That was a great play by Clay to finish that. They were coming. At 3-2, they’re a shot away from tying it up and now we go up by two.”
Foreman completed the hat trick later in the period, backhanding a rebound into the net at 11:25. That marked the end of the night for Yale goalie Sam Tucker, who was replaced by Corbin Kaczperski after allowing five goals on eleven shots.
“The reason we lost tonight is because we didn’t defend well,” Bulldogs coach Keith Allain said. “Individual mistakes, those things happen.”
It was Allain’s first game back with Yale after spending the last several weeks with Team USA at the Winter Olympics in South Korea. Allain said he got home at 4 p.m. Friday and hadn’t slept in 36 hours.
“It was a great group of guys and a really fun coaching staff to work with,” Allain said of his Olympics experience. The United States was knocked out of the competition with a shootout loss to Czechoslovakia earlier in the week.
Alex Jasiek’s power-play goal put Dartmouth up 6-2 14:37 into the second. Hitchcock scored early in the third to make it 6-3, but the Bulldogs couldn’t convert a big chance later in the period.
Back-to-back penalties against the Big Green gave Yale 1:53 on a five-one-three power play midway through the third. Allain pulled l Kaczperski for the extra skater, but Yale couldn’t score despite numerous chances, including a Snively shot that rang off the crossbar.
The trio of Kevan Kilistoff, Brendan Demler, and River Rymsha killed off the majority of the penalty, as Yale (14-13-1, 9-11-1) held the puck in Dartmouth’s zone.
“It was great to have our captain back,” Gaudet said of Kilistoff, who hadn’t played since Jan. 20. “Those are the type of things he does that does. It’s unnoticed because a lot of times because it’s not going to end up on the scoresheet as much.”
Snively scored second goal of the night on a power play 13:43 into the third to make it 6-4, but that was as close as Yale would get.
Dartmouth led 3-0 midway through the opening period, but Yale scored twice in the closing minutes to make it 3-2.
Sellar started the scoring, putting a rebound past Tucker to make it 1-0 Big Green at 6:13 in the first.
Foreman took advantage of a Yale turnover in front of the Bulldog net to give Dartmouth a 2-0 lead at 10:12. Foreman scored again just over a minute later, but a Phil Kemp blast from the point and a Snively one-timer pulled Yale to within one goal.
“I think we had some good coaching adjustments, especially in the neutral zone, that kind of shut down a few of their top guys,” Foreman said.
Each team concludes regular season play on Saturday.