No. 10 Big Green Take on Vermont Wednesday on NBC Sports Network
- Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2012 - 7:06 PM - Hanover, N.H.
- Thompson Arena (4,500)
- All-Time Series: Vermont, 47-25-5 (78th Meeting)
- Last Meeting: Nov. 27, 2011 (Road) - L, 5-3
- Streak: 0-4-0
NBC Sports Network
PxP: Steve Schlanger
Color: Pierre McGuirre
Chris Garret (PbP)
FOR COMPLETE WEEKEND COVERAGE:
Dartmouth squares off with former ECAC Hockey rival and travel partner Vermont Wednesday night at Thompson Arena in a game broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network. The Big Green snapped a three-game winless stretch (0-2-1) with a 5-2 non-conference victory Saturday night against visiting Bentley.
The game will be broadcast live to a national audience on the NBC Sports Network with Steve Schlanger handling the play-by-play duties and Pierre McGuire on color analysis. Check your listing for channel.
NOTE: Due to the nature of the national broadcast, the live webstream of the contest on Big Green Insider will be unavailable Wednesday night.
These two programs have a long tradition of playing one another dating back to the first contest on Jan. 15,1931 (Dartmouth, 10-1). Wednesday marks the 83rd all-time meeting between the two with the Catamounts owning a 47-25-5 advantage in the series. Vermont has won the last four contests and five of seven against the Big Green since making the jump to Hockey East for the 2005-06 season.
LAST TIME vs. THE CATAMOUNTS
These two met last season in a matinee the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Eric Robinson markers in each of the first two periods saw the teams head to the dressing rooms tied 2-2 after 40 minutes. The Green took the lead on a Doug Jones tally four minutes into the third before Vermont stormed back with the last three to earn the 5-3 victory.
The 'Cats come to Hanover with a 3-7-3 record after a weekend series in Orono with the Black Bears. Holding on for a controversial 2-1 win Friday, Vermont played Maine to a 2-2 draw Saturday night. The Friday win was the first road victory of the season for the Catamounts, who are now 1-3-3 away from Gutterson Field House in 2012-13. Chris McCarthy leads the team in goals (4), assists (6) and points (10). Despite the 3-7-3 mark, freshman goaltender Brody Hoffman has solid numbers in his first season in Burlington (.915S%, 2.70 GAA).
Dartmouth has not lost in its five home games so far this season. In those five victories, the Big Green are averaging 4.2 goals per game while allowing just 1.8, more than a half a goal better than its overall averages in each. After allowing Yale to score four in a 7-4 win, the Green and White have held their last four home opponents to just five goals, including a 4-0 shutout of Rensselaer. Counting the two preseason games, the team is a perfect 7-0 at home since beginning the year.
Dartmouth's penalty kill leads the nation at 97.2% (35-for-36) this season. Yale's Antoine Laganiere is the lone player to score on the power play against the Green this season, doing so in the second period of a Nov. 2 game. Dartmouth has successfully killed off its last 26 straight PK situations since that marker; a, overall stretch of 452:25 coming into Wednesday's game without allowing a PPG.
THIS WEEK'S POLLS
Dartmouth once again moved up in the latest USCHO.com Division I men's poll this week. The Green currently sit 10th after two straight weeks occupying the No. 11 position. The latest ranking is the highest for the program since the poll came to be used for the 1997-98 season.The team is also 10th in the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine poll, up one spot from last week.
BATTLE OF THE SPECIAL TEAMS
In the last outing, Bentley came to Hanover boasting the nation's best power play at 32.6%, but was dominated by the penalty killers from Dartmouth. The Big Green's PK unit was a perfect 6-for-6 on the night, killing off two in each period.
225 FOR SECOND
The win over Bentley was the 225th for head coach Bob Gaudet at Dartmouth since taking over at his alma mater for the 1997-98 season. He ranks second only to legendary coach Eddie Jeremiah and his 308 wins on the Dartmouth bench.
Junior Matt Lindblad is back and healthy this season after missing chunks of 2011-12 with various ailments. His two goals against the Falcons matched his career high set earlier this season vs. Yale, while his third-period assist marked the fourth time he has registered three points in a game and the first time since dissing out three helpers against Vermont in Burling last November.
IS TWO TOO MUCH?
Joining Lindblad (2g/1a) with multiple points in the team's last outing were seniors Dustin Walsh (1g/1a), Mike Keenan (2a), sophomore Tyler Sikura (2a) and freshman Nick Bligh (2a). The five players with multi-point efforts matched the Green's season high set against Yale on Nov. 2.
DEFENSE WINS OUT
With numbers skewed from a 6-3 loss at No. 1 Boston College, the Green's pride on defense took a hit by allowing the season high in goals. Bentley came into Saturday night's tilt with the nation's top scoring offense, averaging 4.08 goals per game. The Big Green defense stymied the Falcons' attack for much of the night, holding them to just 20 shots and roughly two goals below their season average.
The 2012-13 Dartmouth men's hockey team currently sits second in the ECAC Hockey standings, something few predicted coming into the season. The major knock against the team was that it was too young and lacked experience. That is true as the Big Green are the youngest group in the league this year with a combined 18 underclassmen (10 freshmen, 8 sophomores). RPI's 17 underclassmen rank as the second most, however the Engineers currently occupy last place with just one point in league play this season.
A major part of that youth movement is Sikura. The sophomore center assisted on two goals against Bentley, including Lindblad's tying marker in the second. His 10 points (4g/6a) in league games rank as the best this season by any player in ECAC Hockey. As a freshman, Sikura tied for the team lead with 25 points (11g/14a) in 34 games. This year, Sikura already has 15 points (6g/9a) in just the first 10 contests.
No other team in the country plays a more disciplined game this year than the Big Green. The team averages just 8.4 penalty minutes per outing, fewer than any other program in the nation (59 Div. I programs). The six penalties and 12 PIM against Bentley matched a season high for the home team. However, Dartmouth is actually 6-0-0 when being whistled for the same number or more penalties than its opponents and 0-2-2 when being called for fewer infractions.
Not to the same extent as last year, but the Green have suffered their share of injuries this season, losing 15 man-games to different ailments so far. Junior defender Taylor Boldt became the latest player to miss time due to injury, sitting out the 5-2 win against the Falcons, snapping his 76-consecutive games played figure to start his career. Sophomore winger and two-way standout Eric Neiley has missed the last two, but is expected to be back in the lineup Wednesday.
After a hit at Brown knocked freshman Nick Bligh out of the lineup for five games, the Milton, Mass., native finally made his Thompson Arena debut Saturday. Bligh got his nerves out of the way early, picking up his first career point on classmate Brad Schierhorn's third goal of the year just 6:15 into the night. Bligh added another helper on the team's fifth goal, a Brandon McNally power-play marker with 1:15 left.
THREE IN THIRD
Tied 2-2 heading into the third period, Dartmouth used three goals in the final frame to pull away from the non-conference foe for the win. The last time the Green scored three or more in the third came in Game 1 of last season's ECAC Hockey Tournament First Round series at Appleton Arena when they netted four in a 6-3 victory against St. Lawrence.
A GLIMPSE OF THE NHL FOR A NIGHT
Five former Big Green players will be back at Thompson for an on-ice ceremony Wednesday evening as Lee Stempniak '05, Ben Lovejoy '06, Tanner Glass '07, David Jones '08 and Nick Johnson '08 return for a postgame autograph session on the concourse. In all, no other ECAC Hockey program could claim to have more alums in the NHL last season as Dartmouth's seven (TJ Galiardi, JT Wyman).
POWER PLAY SUCCESS
With the PK getting all the attention, it's easy to overlook the success that Dartmouth has had with the man-advantage the last two weeks. The team is 3-for-9 the last two games, including 2-for-6 on Saturday. That showing against Bentley helped the Green jump from 31st in the nation to 17th with a 19.5% (8-41) figure this year.
NOT REALLY 4TH LINE FRESHMEN
Schierhorn and Bligh along with classmate Jack Barre were grouped together for the second straight game last time out. All three contributed on the scoresheet as Bligh led with two assists, while Schierhorn's goal in the first period gives him a freshmen-best three in 12-13. Barre's second assist of the year set up Lindblad in the slot midway through the middle period with the tying goal.
SEEING 18 ENOUGH
Starting in goal for the first time since losing at Colgate, junior netminder Cab Morris got the nod against Bentley. For the third time this season, the Wilmette, Ill., native finished the game with 18 saves. In six starts this season, Morris is averaging 22 saves per game as the defense in front of him has been limiting shots on goal.
With a defensive pairing of junior Nick Lovejoy and freshman Geoff Ferguson, Dartmouth is 4-0-2 following Saturday night. Ferguson picked up his first career point with an assist on Lindblad's game winner, while Lovejoy finished with a game-high four blocked shots and was key on the team's penalty kill.
In the midst of a five-game non-conference stretch, Dartmouth will play at least three Hockey East schools with the possibility of a fourth. Match-ups with Boston College, Vermont and New Hampshire are set in stone on the schedule with the second day of the Ledyard Classic on New Year's Eve seeing the team play either UMass or Bemidji State of the WCHA.
AGAINST HOCKEY EAST
Including this season's loss at No. 1 BC on Nov. 24, the Green and White are just 7-16 against Hockey East programs since the current layout of the league came to be in the 2005-06 season.
Road wins over Union and RPI have allowed Quinnipiac to overtake Dartmouth in the standings as it is 6-0-0 (12 points) against ECAC Hockey opponents. The Big Green's 4-1-1 record (9 points) have them second and will not play a conference game again until meeting up with the Bobcats on Jan. 4 in Hamden.
CHaD TOY DRIVE
Fans attending Wednesday's game are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for the team's annual CHaD Toy Drive. Tables on the concourse will be marked as a drop-off destination for fans bringing the toys starting as soon as doors open an hour prior to puck drop.
Following the game, fans will have the opportunity to meet the five NHLers on the concourse and get their FREE Dartmouth Hockey NHL Alumni Poster signed.