Big Green Weathers the Storm
go as planned for Dartmouth’s team on their trip from Cornell
to Colgate on Saturday. A huge winter snowstorm and the trip on
a very hilly Route 20 through Central New York proved difficult.
Twice during the ride, the team bus was stuck on steep hills and
smoke from the engine and tires filled the cabin. The players
and coaches evacuated the bus and stood outside on the side of
the road in heavy snowfall, one of the delays had the players
outside for nearly 45 minutes.
finally did arrive at Starr Rink around 8 p.m., an hour after
the scheduled start. The puck finally dropped around 9 p.m. and
Dartmouth handed the first-place Raiders their second loss of
the year in ECACHL play. The late arrival wasn’t due to
poor planning. The Big Green left Ithaca an hour earlier than
usual in anticipation of bad weather.
experience paints a fitting picture of what Dartmouth’s
gone through this year. No matter how well you plan, and how you
prepare, there are some things that are beyond your control. The
end of the night, a road win against the first place team, showed
why Dartmouth is particularly dangerous down the stretch. The
Big Green has shown an incredible ability to bounce back from
unfortunate circumstances this season.
injuries proved to be the hurdle for the Big Green. Hugh Jessiman
was lost for the majority of the season. Grant Lewis and Tanner
Glass missed significant time. Dartmouth’s last game before
Christmas was a 5-1 loss to Vermont, and dropped Dartmouth’s
record to 4-6-1. It wasn’t what was expected from the team
that was expected to challenge for the ECACHL title.
were a turning point for Dartmouth. The Big Green exacted revenge
over Vermont in the championship of the Ledyard National Bank
Classic, and poured in nine goals against Rensselaer in early
setback came in the form of a 1-0 loss to Union. A rivalry game
against New Hampshire four days later saw the Big Green trailing
7-3 halfway through the contest. But, as has become Dartmouth’s
trademark in recent weeks, the Big Green fought back to win that
a loss to Cornell and long bus ride in terrible weather would’ve
given Dartmouth an easy excuse, but they went out and knocked
off the league’s first place team.
learning how to play without individuals and we’re learning
how to persevere,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “That’s
what I really like about this team. They bounce back. To come
out today and have a tough day, but to find a way to win on the
road against the top team in our league is really good. It shows
the character of our team.”
character has definitely been tested this year, as Gaudet so properly
stated, not by real-life adversity, but hockey adversity. Everyone
knows about the skill level that Dartmouth has in its lineup on
a given night. There was plenty of evidence in that win over Colgate,
with two perfectly-placed rockets off the stick of Eric Przepiorka
fired just inside the post, and a Grant Lewis power-play wrister
that beat Steve Silverthorn right under the crossbar. It even
showed on a rebound goal, when freshman Nick Johnson showed poise
to hold the puck for a second before burying it into an open net.
of character and skill has seen Dartmouth take its record back
over .500 heading into this weekend’s games against Union
and RPI. The recent surge has Dartmouth just three points out
of the coveted top four spots in the standings, and that’s
where the Big Green hopes to finish, according to captain Lee
really look at the standings, but I think we want to make sure
that we’re in one of the top four spots to get a bye. I
think that’s one of our goals. Obviously we wanted to finish
first but getting that bye is huge going into that second round
of the playoffs,” he said.
our team and I’ve liked it all along,” Gaudet said.
“We’ve played good hockey and controlled a lot of
games and lost them. At some point, the guys just have to have
faith that the work ethic is going to carry them and it evens
out over the course of the season.”
has faced enough bad luck thus far that if Gaudet’s expectation
of things balancing out comes true in the coming weeks, there
are plenty of good bounces owed to the Big Green.
AND HEARD IN THE ECACHL
Front-Runners Again – Before losing to
Dartmouth on Saturday, Colgate defeated then second place Vermont
on Friday. In that game, Colgate’s lineup featured eight
seniors. Nine seniors dressed against Dartmouth. The Raiders’
senior class knows what it takes to win a championship after doing
so last year. But it’s also a group with unfinished business
as they fell short of the NCAA Tournament one year ago.
definitely have to use everything to our advantage and this year
we have a lot of senior guys with great experience,” winger
Jon Smyth said. He’s one of three juniors that dresses on
a nightly basis. “That’s something we have to bring
every night and realize that we’ve got guys in there who
know what it takes to win.”
comes from four years in the weight room. Knowledge comes from
understanding game plans and systems. Experience comes from having
been to difficult road arenas and being accustomed to the nuances
of road trips. The most valuable asset that comes with so many
games under their belts is poise and composure.
been here before, we’ve been in the playoffs and played
in tough games. We're definitely a more relaxed team,” senior
defenseman Joey Mormina said.
gained during last year’s outstanding season might have
been the difference in Colgate’s win over Vermont, which
was mired at the bottom of the standings a year ago. It should
continue to pay dividends for Colgate with home games against
St. Lawrence and Clarkson this weekend, and a huge home-and-home
series with Cornell next weekend.
a veteran team,” Vermont coach Kevin Sneddon said. “They’re
playing eight or nine seniors that have won and had a great year
last year. Knowing how to win is important.”
Capitalizing on Opportunities – Cornell's
power play is responsible for more than 40 percent of its offensive
output this season. Junior forward Matt Moulson leads the Big
Red with 10 power-play goals, so it no surprise to hear his take
on the officials' increased attention to obstruction and interference.
the new officiating. So far it's gone well and it's just a matter
of adjusting to it. I think the refs are doing a good job,"
he said. "Our power play has been clicking this year and
it's a big part of our game to capitalize on power play chances."
Great Weekend Getaway
at Cornell (Fri.)
standings say that it’s the second-place team and
the second-to-last place team, but it’s more than
that this time around at Lynah Rink. Clarkson returns to
the site of last season’s playoff series upset of
the Big Red and needs to get some points in the league if
they want to host the first round of the playoffs this year.
Cornell can exact some revenge and maintain hot pursuit
of first-place Colgate, who leads Cornell by one point heading
into the weekend. CSTV will broadcast the game at 8 p.m.
You’re There: The best place for pizza near campus
is The Nines in Collegetown. Great food and a great beer
selection make it an excellent stop before or after the
most programs, earning a sixth win of the season isn’t
cause for celebration. Princeton’s 4-2 win over Bentley
on Tuesday at Baker Rink improved the Tigers' record to
6-12-1 on the year. Princeton’s sixth win
surpasses last year’s total of five, and
doubles the 2002-03 total of three.
a bizarre double standard for one scout in the Starr
Rink press box on Friday night. During the last
15-20 seconds of the playing of the “Star-Spangled
Banner” this scout commented in full voice about how
he thought it was disrespectful of some of the players to
be shuffling their skates during the anthem. I really don’t
have a problem with the players doing that. At least they
shut their mouths and remove their helmets. This guy was
also wearing a hat.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
• Vermont’s departure to Hockey East
next year means the end of the Dartmouth-Vermont
travel pairing in the ECACHL, and it will also bring an end to
the alternate hosting responsibilities of the holiday tournament,
which has bounced between Hanover and Burlington for the past
several years. Beginning next season, Vermont will host a Christmas-time
tournament every year. Dartmouth will be among the invited teams
in 2005. The Big Green plans to keep hosting a tournament in even
years, and pursue out-of-town tournaments in odd years.
plenty of local television coverage of this week’s games,
in addition to CSTV’s national coverage of Friday’s
Clarkson-Cornell game at Lynah. In Central New
York, Time-Warner Sports channel 26 will have live coverage of
St.Lawrence at Colgate on Friday
and Clarkson at Colgate on Saturday. In New England,
Comcast/CN8 will broadcast Harvard at Yale
on Saturday. Also, on Tuesday, Time Warner Sports in the Albany-area
will carry the Harvard game at Union.
key road trip against league front-runners Colgate
and Cornell was fruitless for Vermont,
which lost both games.
top players aren't performing to the best of their ability and
we're having trouble putting the puck in the net," coach
Kevin Sneddon said. "When that happens and you don't have
the confidence that we had a couple of weeks ago, it makes for
a long, kind of frustrating night."
have lost three in a row, but when faced with a similar streak
earlier this season, they went 11 games without a loss. They'll
host Rensselaer and Union this
weekend and try to start a new streak.
won both games on the North Country road trip for the
first time since 1985. Senior forward Vic Pereira had two goals
and two assists on the weekend to earn ECACHL Player of the Week
wrapped up its non-league portion of the schedule last
week with a scoreless tie against UMass Lowell and a Mayor’s
Cup victory over Providence. Brown was 5-1-1 in seven non-league
is 1-7-0 in league play after winning its first six conference
ECACHL players advanced to the second stage of Vote
for Hobey. Fans can vote among the remaining 142 players every
day until March 6.
ECACHL teams appear in this week’s INCH
Power Rankings, the most schools of any conference.
of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.