Harvard Comes to Thompson to Take On No. 12 Big Green Saturday
No. 12 Dartmouth (8-5-2, 4-3-1 ECAC) vs.
Harvard (5-7-1, 3-5-0 ECAC)
- Saturday, Jan. 12, 2013 - 7:30 PM - Hanover, N.H.
- Thompson Arena (4,500)
- All-Time Series: Harvard, 124-58-10 (193rd Meeting)
- Last Meeting: Feb. 1, 2012 (Cambridge) - T, 2-2 (OT)
- Streak: 2-0-2
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Chris Garret (PbP)
FOR COMPLETE WEEKEND COVERAGE:
Dartmouth will return to the ice Saturday evening for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with Harvard at Thompson Arena. The Big Green are currently on a three-game slide after one-goal losses at Quinnipiac and Princeton last weekend.
LAST TIME OUT
The Green took an early lead, but eventually fell to Princeton, 2-1, last Saturday afternoon at Hobey Baker Rink. Despite dominating play and heavily outshooting the Tigers, 35-16, the visitors fell thanks in large part to two early-second period goals surrendered in the first three minutes.
Falling behind by two in the final minutes of its game at No. 5 Quinnipiac the night before did little to diminish the fight in Dartmouth's game. Goals from Winnetka, Ill., natives Matt Lindblad and Tim O'Brien late in regulation helped the Big Green tie the game and force OT.
The current three-game slide has Dartmouth ranked 12th in the latest USCHO.com Poll after earning a No. 8 ranking and a first-place vote the previous release. The eighth-place position and first-place nod were firsts for the program under the current polling system. In the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll, the Green are also 12th after spending a week at No. 8.
VOTE FOR HOBEY
This week saw fan voting open up for the 2013 Hobey Baker Award, given annually to college hockey's best player. Dartmouth has two nominees on this season's fan ballot as both Matt Lindblad and Tyler Sikura make their first appearances.
- It had been more than a month since the Crimson scored more than twice in a game, last accomplishing the feat Nov. 16 in a 4-1 win at Cornell. That streak ended along with a six-game winless stretch (0-5-1) with a third-period comeback and overtime victory Wednesday night at No. 8 Boston University. Trailing 5-2 in the third period, Harvard scored three to force OT before Connor Morrison netted the winner with 48 seconds left in the extra frame to complete the come-from-behind win.
- Comeback wins aside, the Crimson have struggled this season to meet lofty preseason expectations and are 5-7-1 overall, while ninth in the league standings at 3-5-0 and six points. Back in the Crimson lineup will be freshman Jimmy Vessey fresh off a Gold Medal with Team USA at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship in Russia.
- Senior Alex Fallstrom and sophomore Tommy O'Regan share the team lead in scoring with 10 points each, while Vessey's five goals are the most by any player this year. Raphael Girard has played the majority of time in goal, posting a 5-7-1 mark to go along with a .906 save percentage and a 3.19 goals-against average.
In 2011-12, these two teams played as tight a season series as two programs could. A 3-3 tie in Hanover on Black Friday was followed by a 2-2 draw in Cambridge on the final day of January.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE
Saturday night's meeting marks the 193rd all-time between the two dating back to Feb. 2, 1907 when Harvard defeated Dartmouth, 3-2, in Cambridge. In all, the Crimson own a distinct advantage in the series, leading 124-58-10. However, the Big Green have just one loss to their Ivy League foe in the last seven meetings (4-1-2).
HOME SWEET HOME
For sophomore Eric Neiley, playing at Princeton is a homecoming of sorts. Just 45 minutes from his hometown of Warminster, Pa., Neiley has been stellar in two career games at Hobey Baker Rink, scoring three times. His third of the season got the Big Green off to a 1-0 lead 6:05 into Saturday afternoon's game. In his lone appearance at Princeton as a freshman in 2011-12, Neiley scored twice in a 3-3 tie with the Tigers.
After allowing just one power-play goal in the first 12 games of the year, Dartmouth has surrendered three in the last three outings. While holding high-powered Quinnipiac without a man-advantage goal, both Princeton and UMass scored key markers with the Big Green down a player in one-goal wins. However, the PK unit has not fallen far, dropping from first to second in the nation in that time with a still-impressive 93.0% success rate (53-57).
Sophomore Tyler Sikura has matched his season-best scoring streak of seven games with assists against the Bobcats and Tigers last weekend. In just 15 games, the second-year forward has a team-best 21 points and two separate runs of seven straight contests with points. He opened the year on a similar streak before a pointless night at No. 10 Cornell before starting his current stretch. He has amassed nine points in the current run (3g/6a).
LINDBLAD JOINS IN
Matt Lindblad also has a seven-game point streak going after a goal and an assist on the road last weekend. Since missing that Nov. 17 game in Ithaca, the junior winger has registered a point in each match-up. His scoring run of seven games includes 11 points on three goals and eight assists.
Lost in the shuffle surrounding Dartmouth's 4-1 win over then-No. 2 New Hampshire on Dec. 30 was that five of the six defensemen dressed that night for the Big Green registered points. Four players had assists and Ryan Bullock picked up his first career goal and point in the win. The lone d-man not to appear on the scoresheet was captain Mike Keenan, the player that leads all Dartmouth defenders in scoring this season with eight points (2g/6a).
Coming into the weekend, Dartmouth had yet to lose a game when Nick Lovejoy was dressed and in the lineup (5-0-2). However that ended with road defeats this past weekend. Originally not in the lineup at Princeton, an injury to Andy Simpson in warmups thrust the junior into the rotation after quickly getting dressed during ice resurfacing.
The losses to UMass and Quinnipiac were the first consecutive defeats of the season, a figured that reached three with another at Princeton on Sunday. The two most recent losses were also the first back-to-back defeats by a single goalie this season as well as freshman Charles Grant was in net for both.
TAKEN FOR GRANT-ED
Grant may have been charged with the loss at Quinnipiac, but the first-year netminder's play did nothing to warrant criticism. For the third time this season, Grant was tasked with making more than 30 saves in a game, turning aside 32 in the 63:28 of action in Hamden.
COMPARE AND CONTRAST
It wasn't until Jan. 21 last season that the Green and White reached the eight-win mark, a comeback victory at Colgate in their 18th contest of the season. This year, the team reached that same figure on Dec. 30 in just its 12th match-up.
Saturday's game will start at 7:30 p.m. rather than the normal 7 p.m. start time due to the women's hockey game against Princeton scheduled for a 4 p.m. puck drop at Thompson Arena.
LIVE FREE AND WIN
Dartmouth is 7-1-0 at home this season. Outside of the borders of New Hampshire, the Big Green are just 1-4-1 with the lone win coming against Brown in the Ivy Shootout on Oct. 27 in Providence.
The two losses on the road marked the first road sweep of the Green in nearly two years. The last time the team lost two road games in a single weekend came on Feb. 18-19, 2011 at Colgate (5-3) and Cornell (3-2, OT).