Dartmouth Heads South to Take on BU Wednesday Night in Boston
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2013-14 Media Materials
The Dartmouth men’s hockey team is back in action Wednesday night against Boston University at Agganis Arena. Faceoff between the Big Green and Terriers is set for 7 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT
For the second straight game, Dartmouth played to a draw Friday night. Against No. 20 Vermont in Burlington, the Green and White earned a 1-1 tie inside the unforgiving confines of Gutterson Fieldhouse. Dartmouth took a 1-0 lead in the late stages of the second period and was able to hold off a resurgent Catamounts team to salvage the non-conference tie.
The Terriers will host Dartmouth Wednesday night, playing their fourth ECAC Hockey opponent of the season and their second in as many games. BU fell, 7-4, to Harvard on Saturday night, dropping to 7-9-2 overall this season. The game with the Crimson saw the teams go a combined 5-for-12 on the power play with the Terriers converting on three of their four chances. This season, sophomore defender Ahti Oksanen leads the team in scoring with 14 points on a team-best 11 assists to go with three goals. Classmate Danny O’Regan, a San Jose draft pick, has six goals, the best mark among all BU players. Despite being whistled for 18 PIMs against Harvard, the Terriers are one of the least penalized teams in the country this season (10.1/50th), while also boasting the seventh-best power play (23.3%) and the 15th-best penalty kill (84.3%). Sophomores Matt O’Connor (6-4-2/2.83/.924) and Sean Maguire (1-5-0/2.64/.923) have split goaltending duties under first-year head coach David Quinn, a former Colorado Avalanche assistant and the BU associate head coach during the 2008-09 championship season.
ALL-TIME AGAINST BU
Former ECAC rivals, these two historic programs have not met since Jan. 15, 2008, a 3-2 Dartmouth win in its first-ever trip to Agganis. All-time, BU holds the 45-28-2 advantage, including a 21-15-1 mark in Boston. The last win for the Big Green against the Terriers prior to 2008 was a 4-3 victory Jan. 6, 1982 in Hanover.
CHUCK THE GOALIE
Bouncing back from his most difficult start of the season, sophomore netminder Charles Grant stopped 33 shots against Vermont Friday night in Burlington. Grant had to make more than 30 saves for the third straight game and the fifth in his last six starts as he recorded his second tie of the year and fourth of his career.
The lone Big Green goal against the Catamounts came off the stick of freshman winger Grant Opperman. The Minnesota native beat UVM’s Brody Hoffman between the pads with a turnaround snapshot at the 16:13 mark of the second period to give the visitors the 1-0 lead. For Opperman, it was his fifth point of the year on Dartmouth’s first goal, tying with Brad Schierhorn for the team lead.
Dartmouth’s streak of consecutive games played against ranked teams ends Wednesday night as BU is currently not in either poll this week. The Green had previously played four straight ranked teams (No. 10 Union, No. 5 Providence, No. 17 Northeastern, No. 20 Vermont) and will also take on this week’s 20th-ranked team in UNH on Saturday night in Manchester.
HOCKEY EAST AGAIN
The appearance of BU on the schedule marks the fourth-of-five straight games against Hockey East teams for Dartmouth. Never before in the 107-year history of the hockey program has the team played five straight non-conference games against opponents from the same league. Last season, the Big Green played Hockey East teams in four-of-five games with a contest against Bentley breaking up the stretch.
CLOSE GAMES LATE
Since coming back from Thanksgiving with a home game against Harvard on Nov. 30, Dartmouth is 2-3-2. In those seven match-ups, the Big Green have outscored their competition and are a +1 overall. All three losses have been by just a goal, while also earning a 2-1 win against the Crimson, a 4-1 win at No. 8 Yale and ties with Vermont and Northeastern.
HARTLEY ADDING OFFENSE
Freshman defender Josh Hartley continued to get his name on the scoresheet with an assist against Vermont. Hartley followed up a career game against Northeastern which saw the British Columbia native score twice with the second helper on Opperman’s goal against the Catamounts. Hartley joins sophomore Ryan Bullock as the only two Dartmouth defensemen with point streaks this season after he had a three-game stretch with a goal or an assist in November.
Head coach Bob Gaudet announced Friday before the game with Vermont that team captain Tyler Sikura will be out 4-6 weeks with a knee injury and is expected to return to the lineup sometime in mid-February. For Sikura, the absence from the lineup against Vermont was the first of his career. Second-line center freshman Troy Crema is also out of the lineup with a lower body injury and missed all three games that followed the winter break. Senior Eric Robinson has been out since the second week of the year and will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.
With Sikura and Crema out, sophomore Connor Dempsey and Nick Bligh centered the team’s top two lines. Bligh picked up the primary assist on Opperman’s goal, while Dempsey was one of the best players on the ice throughout the game for either team despite not registering a point.
As a result of moving the lines around and the injuries to players, cousins Kyle Nickerson and Nick Lovejoy played together on the fourth line in Burlington. For Lovejoy, a natural defenseman, it marked just his third game at the forward position after playing wing at Quinnipiac and Princeton in November. Lovejoy’s older brother, Ben, was named the First Star of a game that same night for the Anaheim Ducks in a 5-2 win against Edmonton. Ben set a new Ducks franchise record for the fastest two goals by a defenseman as he netted his first career two-goal game in a span of just 2:43 at the end of the first period.
Dartmouth is 0-3-2 this season in five overtime contests. In 2012-13, the Big Green were 0-1-5 when heading to extra time. The last time the Green and White won a game in OT was Jan. 21, 2012, going 0-5-9 in sudden death contests.
BLIGH ON THE ROAD
Bligh has three points this season with all three coming on the road. The second-year center scored his only goal and assisted on another at Brown before picking up a helper at Vermont.
Dartmouth will play UNH in the ‘Battle For the Riverstone’ in Manchester Saturday night at Verizon Wireless Arena at 5 p.m.