CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team saw its season come to an end at the hands of Harvard Sunday afternoon.
The fourth-seeded Crimson won Game 3 of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinal series, 4-2, to punch their ticket to Lake Placid next weekend and the league semifinals.
Harvard (15-13-4) junior Ryan Donato scored a hat trick, the true difference in the game. His third of the night was his 26th of the year.
Dartmouth (16-17-2) got the game’s opening score when freshman Collin Rutherford stuffed in his sixth of the season at the top of the paint. Classmate Quin Foreman scored the second goal at 16:17 of the third as the visitors pushed to tie the game.
However, despite the chances, the Crimson were able to hold on and punch their ticket to the ECAC Hockey semifinals next weekend.
“We battled all weekend and to the last whistle tonight,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81. “There is a locker room full of guys right now who are disappointed with the result, but I am so proud of how hard they played not only tonight, but all year.
“Eventually the fact that we played six games in 10 days was going to catch up with us and Harvard is a team that will grind away at you. That made it hard on us,” Gaudet added.
Donato — who was named a finalist for ECAC Hockey Player of the Year earlier in the day — was the difference as he took over with a power-play goal in the first, an even-strength tally in the second and an end-to-end rush in the third to cap the hat trick.
“Donato is a game changer. On a great team over there (Harvard), he is one of the best players in the nation,” Gaudet said. “We have to win as a team because we don’t have that. I love those guys in our room who have bought in and have committed to that mentality.”
Senior Devin Buffalo turned aside 25 in his final collegiate game, with 20 coming in the first 40 minutes of play. Seniors Corey Kalk and Tim Shoup also played in their final games in a Big Green sweater on Sunday with Kalk picking up a helper on the Rutherford goal.
The 2017-18 Dartmouth season will be seen as one where the team finished a game below .500. However, after starting 2-8-1 through mid-December, this year’s Big Green should be remembered for their second-half turnaround that featured 14 wins in the final six weeks. One of the hottest teams in the nation down the stretch, Dartmouth returns a wealth of scoring for the 2018-19 campaign, including nine-of-their-10 leading scorers.