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CANTON, N.Y. — Freshman Andy Simpson (Chesterfield, Mo.) and sophomore Matt Lindblad (Winnetka, Ill.) scored two goals in the opening eight minutes to propel the No. 9 Dartmouth men's hockey team to the quarterfinals of the 2012 ECAC Hockey Tournament with a 4-1 Game 2 win over No. 8 St. Lawrence Saturday night at Appleton Arena.
Dartmouth's (13-14-4) first-round sweep secured the program its first-ever road playoff series victory. The two losses this weekend also mean the Saints (14-19-3) suffer their first-ever home playoff sweep at Appleton in program history.
The Saints had also not lost a home playoff series since falling to Harvard in three games in the 1996 ECAC Tournament and had never been swept at home in the postseason prior to this weekend.
Senior goaltender Jody O'Neill (Nepean, Ontario) turned aside 38 shots in earning the win, his second of the weekend and third against St. Lawrence this year. O'Neill had 30 saves in the 6-3 Game 1 win.
Simpson's goal just 4:27 into the game was the first of his career as the freshman picked the perfect time to find the back of the net for the first time as a collegiate player.
Lindblad made it 2-0 just under three minutes later as he finished a very impressive passing play from freshmen linemates Eric Neiley (Warminster, Pa.) and Tyler Sikura (Aurora, Ontario) with a one-timer over goaltender Matt Weninger's blocker.
Neiley (2a) and Lindblad (1g/1a) each finished the period with two points as the Big Green led by a pair after 20 minutes.
The Saints' Greg Carey cut the deficit to one with a redirect in the slot at the 2:29 mark of the middle period to make it 2-1.
But a Doug Jones (Marietta, Ga.) goal late in the period stood after a review by the officials and O'Neill stood on his head the rest of the way to give the Big Green a series sweep for the first time since the quarterfinals of the 2007 tournament against Princeton.
Senior Nick Walsh (Shannonville, Ontario), who opened the weekend scoring with a marker in the first period of Game 1 Friday night, closed out the series with an empty-netter with 57 seconds remaining on the clock.
The Saints pushed hard in the final two periods, looking to extend their season, firing 31 shots on goal in that time. But 30 saves from O'Neill in the second and third and solid defensive play in front of the senior netminder was the difference to help Dartmouth move on.
Weninger, who was the goalie of record in all five games against the Big Green in 2011-12, stopped 18 of the 21 Dartmouth shots he faced in the game, taking his third loss to the Big Green.
Dartmouth's penalty kill dominated over the weekend, successfully killing off all 10 St. Lawrence power plays, including four in Game 2.
The Big Green will have to wait to find out who they play next weekend until Sunday night with the completion of all four first-round series.