HANOVER, N.H. – Thompson Arena has been a tough place to play for visiting teams this season. That trend continued Friday night as the Dartmouth men’s hockey team defeated Princeton, 5-0.
Playing his first game on defense, freshman Will Graber scored two goals, leading the way for a Big Green (5-6-3, 2-3-2 ECAC Hockey) offensive attack that appeared to be shot out of a cannon in front of 3,949 raucous fans.
“Our young players are playing much more like veterans than I could have predicted,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “We’re escalating things because we haven’t had the growing pains we thought we might. Our young guys are strong, smart and really tough.”
The Tigers (7-9-1, 3-7-1) came into the game as one of the nation’s hottest teams with an offense that produced 32 goals in December’s seven outings, the same number of goals Dartmouth had produced in 13 games all season.
However, that goal-scoring prowess came to an end thanks to junior Devin Buffalo and his second career shutout. Buffalo finished with 32 saves, recording his second shutout of the year at home.
“Ever since I was a freshman and saw the tennis balls, I've been looking forward to playing in this game,” Buffalo said. “We knew there was going to be a lot of energy on our side and we had to contain it and use it to our advantage, which I thought we did well.”
The Green and White improved to 4-1-2 this year when playing at Thompson, making the Upper Valley one of the toughest places for opponents to play this season.
For the fourth year in a row, tennis balls rained down from the stands thanks to a member of the freshman class as Cam Strong notched his sixth of the season at 9:13 of the opening period. Corey Kalk quickly made it 2-0 on the home team’s lone power-play chance of the night just under five minutes later.
Senior Troy Crema picked up assists on the first two goals, while Kalk got a helper on Strong’s and Yau was credited with the second on Kalk’s fifth of the year.
Dartmouth built the lead to 4-0 in the middle frame with freshman Daniel Warpecha’s sixth of the season. The rookie winger now has all six goals in the team’s last seven games. Graber then added his second of the year on a rush from the blueline in before sliding a shot along the ice into the net around the goalie.
Princeton netminder Colton Phinney was pulled after the fourth goal, but Graber wasn’t done, scoring his second of the night on another half-ice rush, this time beating backup goalie Ben Halford over the shoulder.
Playing with Graber on the blueline, senior Josh Hartley picked up a pair of assists, giving the duo an impressive scoring line (2-2-4), while also holding the visitors without a goal of their own all night.
The Big Green held a 35-32 edge in shots on goal and were a perfect 1-for-1 on the power play and 2-for-2 killing penalties.
Dartmouth is back in action Saturday, hosting No. 15 Quinnipiac at 7 p.m.