GAMES 33/34/35
#10 Dartmouth (10-18-4) vs.
#1 Union (24-6-4)

▶ Fri.-Sun., Mar. 14-16, 2014 ▶ 7 PM
▶ Schenectady, N.Y. ▶ Messa Rink (2,225)
All-Time Series: 24-21-7 (52 Meetings)
Last Meeting: Dec. 11, 2013 - L, 3-2 (Schenectady)
Streak: 0-4-1 ▶ Postseason vs Union: 0-2

Radio: WFRD 99.3 (iHeartRadio) /
Play-by-Play: Chris Garrett
Live Stats:
Live Video: America One
Twitter: @Dartmouth_MIH
2013-14 Digital Press Box

The Dartmouth men’s hockey team heads back to the Capital District for the second straight weekend to take on top-seeded Union in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals.

The 10th-seeded Big Green will meet up with the regular-season champion Dutchmen after a thrilling 2-1 first-round series victory at Rensselaer last weekend. Dartmouth overcame a one-game-to-none deficit as well as a two-goal Engineers lead heading into the third period of Sunday’s decisive Game 3 to win the best-of-three series and move on to play Union.

The Dutchmen have been the top team in ECAC Hockey nearly all season. They ended the year on an eight-game unbeaten streak (7-0-1) to solidify their third regular-season title in the last four campaigns with 37 points and an 18-3-1 league record. National polls have the team ranked third in the country as postseason play begins. Daniel Carr leads the way with 36 points, while sharing the lead in goals with Daniel Ciampini as each have 17. Colin Stevens has been one of the best goaltenders in the nation all season, boasting a 20-4-2 record, a 2.02 goals-against average and a league-leading .927 save percentage entering the quarterfinals.

If RPI is the most common postseason opponent for Dartmouth, Union might be one of the most unfamiliar. Last season’s ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal match-up between the two teams was the first-ever in postseason play between the programs. The Dutchmen swept the series with victories of 4-1 and 5-2 en route to another Whitelaw Cup as the ECAC Hockey Championship winners.

Dartmouth has never lost a postseason series to the same opponent two years in a row. After losing a quarterfinal series to RPI in 2000, the Big Green eliminated the Engineers the following year in the same round in two games. The Green also took down Colgate in the quarters in 2002 and 2003, while eliminating Yale in the 2005 first round and again in the 2006 quarterfinals. The only time the Green have failed to defeat an opponent in the second year of consecutive playoff meetings have involved single-elimination format contests.

Junior Eric Neiley was named the ECAC Hockey Player of the Week for the second time this season after a stellar showing at Rensselaer during the first round. His five-point effort included two goals in Game 2, culminating in a game winner late in regulation, as well as a tally and two helpers in the stunning comeback victory in Game 3 to take the series.

The Big Green’s win on Sunday was heightened by the fashion in which they won. Trailing 4-2 entering the third period, Dartmouth scored three times in the final frame to storm back and take the series. Neiley, Brandon McNally and Brad Schierhorn netted the goals in the third that erased the two-goal deficit and sent the Green to the next round.


It wasn’t just a third-period deficit in Game 3 that Dartmouth faced in Troy last weekend. The Big Green dropped the series opener, 4-1, at Houston Field House to fall behind 0-1. However, for the second year in a row and the fifth time since 2003, the Green overcame a Game 1 loss to win a series in three.

The three-game win in Troy marked just the second series victory away from Hanover in program history. Dartmouth’s two-game sweep of St. Lawrence in the 2012 first-round series in Canton, N.Y., was the only previous time the Green had gone on the road for a postseason series and come away with a win. Dartmouth is now 2-6 in eight all-time road series. 

That success away from Thompson Arena has been a constant nearly all season. The team is 7-8-1 in true road games in 2013-14, while just 3-7-3 in contests played in Hanover. Dartmouth has played just three home games since the start of February, traveling for eight more on the road. In that time, the team is 5-3-0 including a weekend sweep of St. Lawrence and Clarkson, the series victory at RPI and the first shutout at Cornell since 1960.

Brandon McNally saved his best for last. Getting under the skin of RPI players and fans alike all weekend, the junior forward was held off the scoresheet for the first two games. That abruptly ended Sunday night with a three-point effort, including the tying goal 8:46 into the third period. He also picked up helpers on Neiley’s marker and Rick Pinkston’s second-period goal.

Eric Neiley and sophomore Charles Grant were the lone Dartmouth representatives to earn 2013-14 All-Ivy League honors. The pair was named to the Ancient Eight’s second team for their play in 10 league contests and helping the Green finish second with a 5-3-2 record.

#10 VS. #1
This weekend’s match-up with Union marks just the second time since the current playoff format was adopted in 2002-03 that a 10-seed will play the regular-season champ in the quarterfinals. In 2004, St. Lawrence upset seventh-seeded Yale to move on to play #1 Colgate. All three games were one-goal affairs with the Raiders prevailing in three.

Sophomore Tim O'Brien got Sunday’s scoring started with a shorthanded breakaway goal to tie things up 6:38 into the first period. O’Brien was denied on the initial shot, but managed to score on the rebound before his momentum carried him past the net. It was just the second shorthanded goal of the season for the Big Green after Neiley netted one on Jan. 8 in a 4-2 win at Boston University.

Brad Schierhorn capped the comeback Sunday with his eighth of the season, giving the Green the 5-4 victory. For Schierhorn, it was his second game-winning goal of the season, joining Neiley who scored his second GWG of the year the night before and Tyler Sikura who had two in the final two weeks of the season. In all, seven players have scored winners in 2013-14.

Sunday’s come-from-behind third-period win was the first for Dartmouth when trailing after two since Jan. 21, 2012 at Colgate. Entering Game 3 with RPI, Dartmouth was 0-12-0 when trailing after 40 minutes and 0-10-2 this season when down following the first period. Both those figures changed as RPI held leads of 2-1 (1st) and 4-2 (2nd), but failed to hold the lead in the third. Dartmouth was also 0-8-3 when trailing after two periods in 2012-13.

The ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Month for February may not have had the same sparkling numbers as he has posted in previous weeks, but Charles Grant’s play at Rensselaer was nonetheless impressive. He posted games of 33, 20 and 35 saves. His sprawling glove save to start the third period of Game 2 allowed his team to remain in the contest and eventually win. In the deciding contest, he had his highest total of the weekend, stopping 35, including 28 in the final two periods to help spark the comeback bid.

Dartmouth’s first line of McNally, Neiley and freshman winger Grant Opperman were the team’s top performers all weekend. Neiley led the way with five points (3g/2a), while McNally (1g/2a) and Opperman (3a) were second with a trio of points. Opperman had two assists in Game 3 to go along with one on Neiley’s first tally on Saturday night.

Since the regular-season finale, Dartmouth has played with some variation of 17 skaters in its lineup rather than the usual 18. The cause of this lacking line chart is the team’s league-leading 110 man-games lost to injury this season. The game at Colgate was the first time in the 26-year head-coaching career of Bob Gaudet that he was unable to suit up a full roster, a fact he has now dealt with in four straight outings.

Playing in the Empire State will be nothing new for the Green and White this weekend as Dartmouth played road games at St. Lawrence (W), Clarkson (W), Cornell (W) and Colgate (L) in the final three weeks of the season and opened tournament play in Troy against the Engineers (2-1).

Dartmouth was the only lower seed to advance this past weekend not only in ECAC Hockey play, but also in Hockey East and Atlantic Hockey postseason action.

In addition to Neiley, classmate Jesse Beamish was the only Dartmouth player to score multiple goals in the series against RPI. The Mississagua, Ontario, native netted a power-play goal on Friday and pushed in a loose puck after Rensselaer’s goaltender misplayed it in the slot.  Beamish had three regular-season goals this year before netting a pair in consecutive postseason contests.

Game 2 at Houston Field House marked Gaudet’s 550th game behind the Dartmouth bench in his 17 seasons. The Sunday night win in his 551st game with the Big Green also came on his 55th birthday.