Big Green Set to Host Princeton and #1 Quinnipiac In Final Weekend
No. 18 Dartmouth (13-10-4, 9-8-3 ECAC) vs. Princeton (9-14-4, 7-10-3 ECAC)
▶ Friday, Mar. 1, 2013 ▶ 7:00 PM ▶ Hanover, N.H.
▶ Thompson Arena (4,500)
▶ All-Time Series: Princeton, 93-84-15 (193rd Meeting)
▶ Last Meeting: Jan. 5, 2013 (Princeton) - L, 2-1
▶ Streak: 0-1-0
No. 18 Dartmouth (13-10-4, 9-8-3 ECAC) vs. No. 1 Quinnipiac (23-4-5, 16-1-3 ECAC)
▶ Saturday, Mar. 2, 2013 ▶ 7:00 PM ▶ Hanover, N.H.
▶ Thompson Arena (4,500)
▶ All-Time Series: Quinnipiac, 11-7-1 (20th Meeting)
▶ Last Meeting: Jan. 4, 2013 (Hamden) - L, 3-2 (OT)
▶ Streak: 0-2-0
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Chris Garret (PbP)
FOR COMPLETE WEEKEND COVERAGE:
Dartmouth will welcome Princeton and No. 1 Quinnipiac to Thompson Arena for the final weekend of the 2012-13 regular season. Friday's match-up with the Tigers will mark the final game of the Ivy League slate for the Big Green who currently rank tied for second with 10 points in nine games. Saturday against the Bobcats is the final game of the season before postseason play and will also serve as Senior Night for the team's five most-tenured student-athletes.
LAST TIME OUT
The Big Green are coming off another 1-1 weekend after splitting its North Country road trip with Clarkson and St. Lawrence. A 4-0 shutout loss to the Golden Knights was followed by a 3-2 win at Appleton Arena to spoil the Saints' Senior Night.
WHERE WE RANK
Despite the loss to Clarkson and the one-goal win at St. Lawrence, Dartmouth was able to jump up one spot in the latest USCHO.com Division I Poll to the No. 18 position this week. In the latest USA Today/USA Hockey Poll, the Big Green are still on the outside of the rankings' top-15, receiving votes for the fifth week in a row. The team's 16th straight appearance in the USCHO poll continues to set a program record.
Coming into the final weekend of the season, the Green and White are in the mix for a berth in the NCAA Tournament. The Pairwise rankings used to mimic the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee and change with the completion of each contest across the country has Dartmouth tied for 12th with Denver. The national postseason accepts 16 teams.
With one weekend left in the regular season, only Quinnipiac knows where it will finish in the standings having already locked up the regular season title. Dartmouth could finish anywhere between second and ninth, but needs just one point in either game or some outside help to secure home ice for at least the first round.
SCOUTING THE TIGERS
With 17 points, Princeton enters the final weekend in ninth place in league standings. A 7-10-3 mark has the Tigers battling with Cornell as each have the same point total, while trailing Brown for the final home ice position. Junior forward Andrew Calof continues to lead his team with 35 points, nearly a fifth of the team's total scoring output this season. In goal, senior Mike Condon has seen a majority of the action, posting a 7-9-3 mark in 20 appearances. In those games played, Condon has posted a 2.54 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
LAST TIME AGAINST
In the Jan. 5 meeting between these two teams, Dartmouth held a 35-16 advantage in shots, including holding the Tigers to three in the first and two in the third. However, two goals in the first 2:35 of the second period proved to be the difference in the home team's 2-1 win inside a sold-out Baker Rink.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE
Friday marks the 193rd meeting all-time between the two Ivy League foes. Princeton owns a narrow 93-84-15 advantage over the Big Green in those contests.
The Bobcats were once again tabbed as the No. 1 team in the nation for the third time in as many weeks with the latest release of the USCHO rankings. With just one loss in 20 league games to this point (16-1-3), Quinnipiac locked up the Clearly Cup as regular season champs two weekends ago. The top team in the Pairwise, the Bobcats are as close to a lock for the NCAA Tournament as any team in the nation and are playing for the top spot in the national tournament in three weeks. A balanced scoring attack, led by senior Jeremy Langlois' 27 points (11g/16a), the squad relies more heavily on a solid foundation of team defense. Senior goaltender Eric Hartzell has been the foundation of that defense with a 1.49 goals-against average and a .935 save percentage in posting a record of 23-3-5.
LAST TIME AGAINST THE
When these two teams met last on Jan. 4 in Hamden, Quinnipiac was ranked No. 5 and the Big Green were No. 8. The Bobcats took a 2-0 lead late into the third period only to see Dartmouth chip away with two goals in the final minutes to force overtime. A Jordan Samuels-Thomas tally with 1:30 left in the extra frame gave the home team the win.
ALL-TIME AGAINST QU
The Bobcats hold an 11-7-1 advantage in the 19 previous meetings, including victories in the last two match-ups. Since joining ECAC Hockey for the 2005-06 season, Quinnipiac is just 1-5-1 at Thompson Arena. The Bobcats did win a non-conference game in Hanover, 2-1, early in the 2004-05 season, their final year in Atlantic Hockey.
Following Saturday's game with the Bobcats, the Dartmouth men's hockey program will honor five members of the team as part of the annual Senior Night. Captain Mike Keenan, assistant captain Dustin Walsh, Jason Bourgea, Alex Goodship and Mark Goggin will all be recognized for their contributions to the team during their time in Hanover.
2 AGAINST 1
For the second time this season, Dartmouth will skate opposite the No. 1 team in the country. On Nov. 24, the Big Green headed to Chestnut Hill to take on defending national champion and then-No. 1 Boston College at Conte Forum. The Eagles broke a two-period tie with three goals in the third to earn the 6-3 victory. No other program in ECAC Hockey has played the top-ranked team twice this season and no one else has played a team ranked No. 1 other than Quinnipiac.
STENGTH OF SCHEDULE
No other team in the league has played the type of schedule Dartmouth has to this point. Saturday will mark the fourth game for the Big Green against teams currently ranked in the top five spots of the Pairwise. Dartmouth has split games with Boston College (L, 6-3) and New Hampshire (W, 4-1) and will play its second of the season against Quinnipiac. The Wildcats were No. 2 in the nation when they were bested at Thompson on Dec. 30.
TWICE IS NICE
Freshman winger Tim O'Brien notched his first two-goal game Saturday night against St. Lawrence, finding the back of the net twice in the second period. Prior to that showing, O'Brien had never registered two points in a game this season.
Senior captain Mike Keenan's blast from the point 3:46 into the third period proved to be the winner as it gave his team a 3-1 lead. It was the first game-winning goal of his career as he was playing in his 101st contest in a Dartmouth sweater that night having reach the 100-game plateau the night before at Clarkson.
WELCOME TO THE PARTY
It took 11 games, but freshman Connor Dempsey finally picked up his first career point with an assist on O'Brien's second goal.
Dartmouth is 10-3-0 in 13 games played at Thompson Arena this season. Those 10 wins rank tied for second in the league with Rensselaer (10-2-2). Quinnipiac's 13 home wins are the most by any team in ECAC Hockey, but its .763 winning percentage in Hamden ranks just third. RPI (78.5%) narrowly edges out the Big Green's (76.9%) home winning percentage this season as the best in the conference.
Dartmouth will head into these final two games trying to seek a bye despite having major contributors miss large portions of the season with injuries. When looking at the team's group of top-six forwards (Walsh, McNally, Robinson, Sikura, Lindblad, Neiley), there has been 25 man-games lost to several injuries throughout the year. Brandon McNally continues to miss time since suffering an upper-body injury on Jan. 18, while Eric Robinson has not played since a similar injury against Cornell on Feb. 15.
THAT'LL COST YA
A late-game scrum at St. Lawrence resulted in six additional PIMs for the Big Green. That pushed their single-game average to 10.2 allowing Brown to take over as the least penalized team in the league. It marked the first time all season that Dartmouth will enter a weekend without owning the lowest per game PIMs average.
A FIRST TASTE
Freshman goaltender James Kruger made his first collegiate appearance in the game at Clarkson. Coming in to relieve Cab Morris, Kruger allowed one goal and made 12 saves in 33:21 of action. It was the first time this year that head coach Bob Gaudet made an in-game goalie move.
SECOND STRAIGHT TIME
For the second straight year, Dartmouth was on the wrong end of a 4-0 shutout at Clarkson's Cheel Arena. In each of the last two games played in Potsdam for the Big Green, the Golden Knights scored three times before adding an empty-netter to seal the four-goal victory. Taylor Boldt remains the last Dartmouth player to score a goal at Cheel, doing so 15:54 into the third period of a 7-1 win back on Nov. 12, 2010. That is also the only goal of Boldt's three-year career to this point.
By virtue of an overtime win against Princeton last weekend, Yale locked up the 2012-13 Ivy League Championship. It was the third title in four years for the Elis, while a win against the Tigers on Friday could lock up at least a share of second with Brown for Dartmouth.
AS THE POSTSEASON
Since the start of the 2000-01 season, few teams have had the continued success that Dartmouth has enjoyed. The Big Green are within reach of its 10th top-five finish in the league standings, second most in that time (Cornell, 12). If the team can make it to the league's final weekend of play, it will mark the eighth appearance in that time.
Playoff scenarios will be more clear after Friday night and set following the conclusion of Saturday's games. Dartmouth could earn a bye, host a first-round game or be on the road as the league's No. 9 seed based on the current standings and scenarios.
The Green and White have not lost a game at St. Lawrence since Feb. 21, 2009, a stretch of six straight contests. Included in that figure is last season's first round sweep of the Saints, marking the first time in the building's six-decade history that the home team failed to win a game in a playoff series.
Friday's game will feature a different policy for those looking to buy day-of-game tickets. All ticket sales will end at 7:30 p.m. or when a sellout is reached, whichever happens first. Be sure to buy your tickets in advance and arrive early. As always, student seats are limited. The first 850 Dartmouth students will be admitted free of charge, so they are encouraged to get there early. No ticket sales or student admission will be allowed after 7:30 p.m.