February 23, 2007
Getting Going with Grant

By Joe Gladziszewski

Dartmouth's season didn't start off the way the team had hoped, and that point was clearly made when star defenseman Grant Lewis tore a ligament in his ankle in the first period of the first game of the year.

ECAC Hockey League Notebook

David Jones leads resurgent Dartmouth in scoring with 35 points this season.

National TV Schedule

That's not the only parallel between the personal fortunes of Lewis and the status of the Big Green. Lewis admitted that he struggled in his first few games back in the lineup, which happened to be Dartmouth losses at Harvard and against North Dakota and Boston University in the Ledyard National Bank Tournament.

Those losses were part of a 1-5-2 stretch for the Big Green that lasted from Thanksgiving until mid-January, but since that time Dartmouth has things back on track. They're 8 2-1 in their last 11 games overall and have climbed into fifth place in the ECAC Hockey League standings, going 5-1-0 in their last six league games.

They've put themselves in a position to accomplish some goals this weekend, and know that two wins will bring large rewards. Dartmouth could gain Ivy League bragging rights, a better seed in the playoffs, and next weekend off just by picking up four points.

"This weekend is obviously huge, we're playing for the Ivy League Championship on Friday and we're one point behind Cornell in the standings and we know that a sweep this weekend will get the bye in the playoffs," Lewis said. "We know it's a huge weekend and we swept these teams earlier in the year, so we know it can be done."

Dartmouth's wins at Colgate and Cornell came in mid-November and a lot of things have changed for all three teams since then. The Big Green like how they're playing right now. In the last 11 games, they're averaging 3.54 goals scored per game and allowing 2.72 goals per game. Those numbers are improvements on their averages of 2.63 goals scored and 2.93 goals allowed in the first 16 games, when Dartmouth was 6-8-2.

"We didn't get off to the start that we wanted to but we feel like we're playing our best hockey right now and we're looking forward to this weekend and the playoffs," Lewis said.

This year's regular season bears a strong resemblance to last year's end of the campaign, which Dartmouth closed with an 8-1-1 record in its last 10 games and shared the Cleary Cup with Colgate. And while the team did make it to Albany for the league's championship weekend, it was soundly beaten by Harvard in the semifinals. The end of that story is the part that Dartmouth would like to change.


The last shall be first: Not much separates the bottom four teams in the standings, and all of them except for Union have aspirations of moving out of that level of the standings and into a position where they'll open the playoffs on home ice. They have the opportunity to leapfrog those other teams in the standings because ninth-place Rensselaer and Yale, 11th-place Brown, and last-place Union will be playing four head-to-head games this weekend.

Travel partners Yale and Brown will visit RPI and Union, with Yale opening at Union on Friday and Brown playing at Rensselaer Friday. The swap has RPI hosting Yale on Saturday and Union hosting Brown.

Depending on Friday's results, of course, Saturday's game between Yale and RPI has the potential to vault one of those teams as high as sixth in the league standings, and all four of the teams taking part in this weekend series can finish in last place.

When this quartet met in late-January, both Union and Rensselaer swept their foes from New Haven and Providence.


Great Weekend Getaway
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Cornell at Dartmouth (Fri.)
Big Red fans always have their eyes on Harvard, but Friday's game this weekend is probably more important for the Big Red's place in the standings. It matches two of the hottest teams in the league as Cornell is 5-1-1 in its last seven games and Dartmouth is 8-2-1 in its last 11.The Big Red have won just once in their last eight visits to Dartmouth's Thompson Arena.

While You're There: Murphy's on the Green has an impressive bar menu and offers an old-fashioned pub separated from the restaurant area. Be sure to examine the signs on the wall in the bar area, especially the one labeled "Gaudet's Gameroom" near a table where the Dartmouth coach regularly sits on his visits to Murphy's.

Stick Salute

Ex-St. Lawrence player John Zeiler scored his first NHL goal on Thursday night, in his third game for the Los Angeles Kings, converting a 2-on-1 play with Tom Kostopolous in the first period of LA's game against Vancouver and star goalie Roberto Luongo.

Bench Minor

Three Colgate players – Tyler Burton, Marc Fulton, and Jesse Winchester - are averaging better than a point per game this season, but the Raiders rank 44th nationally in scoring offense. Where's the help?

• Yale managed a 6-3-1 record in its 10 Ivy League games this year and could win the title outright should Cornell and Dartmouth stumble this weekend. Freshman Sean Backman has 17 goals and is two goals shy of tying the Yale rookie record, set by Tom Walsh in the 1984-85 season.

• St. Lawrence brings a three-point lead in the standings into the final weekend of league play. Senior co-captain Kyle Rank was the ECACHL Player of the Week after helping the Saints sweep RPI and Union by scoring three goals and adding an assist on the weekend.

• Dartmouth junior goalie Mike Devine has started all but one of his team's 27 games and Lewis credited him as being a part of the Big Green's turnaround.

• Union has five players with 10 or more goals for the first time since the 1996-97 season.

• Princeton freshman Cam MacIntyre had four points last weekend, with two goals against Colgate and two assists against Cornell. He entered the weekend with six points in his first 23 games.

• With 34 points already this season, Union forward T.J. Fox has already amassed the highest single-season point total for a Dutchmen player since Jordan Webb and Joel Beal shared the team scoring lead with 37 points in the 2002-03 season.

• Saturday night's Clarkson-Quinnipiac game at the TD Banknorth Sports Center is an 8 p.m. start and will be televised by ESPNU.

• Quinnipiac's 2-0 loss at Cornell was the first time that the Bobcats have been shut out all season, but by getting their 16th win of the season against Colgate, the Bobcats assured themselves of an 11th-straight winning season and ninth straight in Division I.

• Brown scored seven power-play goals last weekend in games against Harvard and Dartmouth, and Jeff Prough had five points in the two games.

• Clarkson is 16-0-2 this year when leading after two periods.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at gladdy@insidecollegehockey.com.