No. 5 Dartmouth (13-11-5, 9-9-4 ECAC) vs.
No. 12 Harvard (9-17-3, 6-14-2 ECAC)
▶ Friday, Mar. 8, 2013 ▶ 7:00 PM
▶ Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 ▶ 7:00 PM
▶ Sunday, Mar. 10, 2013 ▶ 5:00 PM* ▶ Hanover, N.H.
▶ Thompson Arena (4,500)
▶ All-Time Series: Harvard, 124-59-11 (194 Meetings)
▶ Last Meeting: Feb. 10, 2013 (Cambridge) - T, 1-1 (OT)
▶ Streak: 3-0-3
* - if necessary
|Live Stats||Live Audio
Chris Garret (PbP)
FOR COMPLETE WEEKEND COVERAGE:
The Dartmouth men's hockey team begins its second season Friday evening as the ECAC Hockey First Round gets underway against Harvard at Thompson Arena. The Big Green earned the fifth seed in the postseason tournament and will take on the 12th-seeded Crimson in the league's opening round.
Fans interested in watching this weekend's games can do so through the league's website. America ONE Sports will carry all four first round playoff match-ups this weekend.
BY VIRTUE OF A
The Green earned the fifth spot after tying St. Lawrence with 22 points in the standings and winning the tie-breaker with the Saints by virtue of having a better record against the conference's top four teams.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Dartmouth needed a win on the final night of the season to secure a first-round bye, but a 4-1 loss at the hands of No. 1 Quinnipiac ended that scenario as the Big Green finished just outside the league's top four. A 2-2 tie with Princeton on the final Friday of the regular season helped set up the Saturday situation with the Bobcats.
WHERE WE RANK
For the first time since early November, the Green and White are on the outside of the USCHO Division I Poll's top-20. The 0-1-1 final weekend of the 2012-13 season snapped the team's run of 15 straight polls being ranked by USCHO. In both national polls this week (USCHO & USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine), Dartmouth is receiving votes.
- The Crimson finished last in the ECAC Hockey standings this season for the first time in program history. Knocking off top-ranked Quinnipiac last weekend in overtime was immediately followed by a dramatic OT loss to Princeton after the Tigers pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. Had the Crimson held on for the tie Saturday night, they would have finished tied with Colgate and taken the 11th seed by virtue of owning the tie-breaker with the Raiders.
- Senior Alex Fallstrom ended the season as the team's top scorer with 19 points (8g/11a), while freshman Jimmy Vessey and senior Marshall Everson tied for the lead in goals with 11 each.
- Raphael Girard was the goaltender of record in all but three games and posted a 7-16-3 record as a junior.
AGAINST THE CRIMSON
In the match-up in Hanover back on Jan. 12, Dartmouth needed a late goal from sophomore Jesse Beamish to snap a 2-2 tie for the one-goal victory. A month later, the two played to a third draw in the last four meetings with a 1-1 tie in Cambridge.
ALL-TIME AGAINST THE
With 194 previous meetings with Harvard, it ranks tied with Princeton as the second-most common opponent for Dartmouth in 107 seasons of hockey. Only Yale's 209 match-ups with the Big Green rank higher. In those games, the Crimson hold a 124-59-11 advantage over its Ivy League foe from the Upper Valley.
This weekend marks just the second all-time series meeting between the two teams more than 50 years of ECAC Hockey play. The 2011 quarterfinal series in Hanover was the first time the two met in postseason play outside of the league's final weekend (semifinals and third-place game). The first match-up against Harvard in the playoffs came back in 2001 and is one of five postseason meetings since. The Crimson are 5-2 in seven all-time games against the Green in postseason play, but Dartmouth has won the only series between the two programs (2011/2-1)
Lake Placid, N.Y.
No. 3 Harvard 3, No. 5 Dartmouth 2 (OT)
No. 2 Harvard 5, No. 3 Dartmouth 3
No. 6 Harvard 2, No. 4 Dartmouth 1
No. 4 Harvard 10, No. 1 Dartmouth 1
No. 10 Harvard at No. 3 Dartmouth
Game 1 - L, 3-2
Game 2 - W, 2-1 (OT)
Game 3 - W, 4-3
AS A 5-SEED
Dartmouth earned the No. 5 seed for just the third time in 2012-13. In 2000-01 and in 2004-05, the Big Green took down first-round opponents (RPI and Yale) to meet up with Vermont the following round. In 2001, Dartmouth advanced by the Catamounts with a 3-2 overtime win in the Preliminary Game only to fall to St. Lawrence (2-0) and Harvard (3-2, OT) in Lake Placid. In 2005, after knocking off the Bulldogs in the opening round, Dartmouth would fall to Vermont in three games with each contest decided by just one goal.
AGAINST A 12-SEED
Harvard will be just the third 12-seed to square off with the Green in postseason play. In 2005, the Big Green defeated No. 12 Yale in three games. The most recent occasion was when then-third-seeded Dartmouth beat No. 12 Colgate, 5-3, in the third-place game in Atlantic City in 2011.
HOME PLAYOFF SERIES
In nine postseason series played in Hanover, the Green and White boasts a record of 8-1. The Green's only loss came in 2009 when No. 11 Rensselaer swept No. 6 Dartmouth (3-2, OT / 3-1) in a first-round series.
NOT STRONG STARTERS
The Big Green are just 7-8 in series openers. Included in that figure was Harvard's Game 1 victory in the 2011 quarterfinal, taking the opener by a score of 3-2. Last year, the team split its series openers at St. Lawrence (W, 6-3) and Cornell (L, 4-3 - 2OT).
BIG IN BIG GAMES FOR
Beamish's goal with 3:37 left in regulation against Princeton tied the game at 2-2 and helped Dartmouth earn a crucial point in the standings during the final weekend of play. He also helped his team earn the two points with a deflection goal late in the third period against Harvard in the first meeting of the year.
PLENTY OF SAVES
Freshman goaltender Charles Grant recorded the two highest single-game save totals this season in consecutive outings last weekend. Grant turned aside 40 against Princeton, before stopping 38 against Quinnipiac the following night as each team peppered the rookie netminder with 42 shots on goal.
Senior captain Mike Keenan scored his second goal in as many games when his shot from the point beat Princeton's Mike Condon near the end of the first period. It was the second straight Dartmouth goal to come off Keenan's stick after netting the winner in the third at St. Lawrence the week before. Both Keenan tallies were assisted by freshman Brett Patterson and sophomore Charlie Mosey.
FROM THE D
Rick Pinkston made it three straight games with a Dartmouth defender scoring as his shot from the point off a faceoff in the final minute of the second period cut Quinnipiac's lead to 2-1. It was Pinkston's fourth of the season.
MOSEY'S NOSE FOR
Held without a goal all season, Mosey chipped in with assists on three straight goals in the last two weeks. He had a helper on each of Keenan's goals, while also picking up a secondary assist on Beamish's game-tying goal in the final minutes of the Princeton game.
Dartmouth is 10-4-1 this season on home ice, while just 3-7-3 in true road games. Harvard has managed just three wins away from Cambridge this winter, posting a mark of 3-9-1 in those 13 contests.
Despite finishing the regular season as the team's top-two point producers, sophomore Tyler Sikura and junior Matt Lindblad each went the final four games of the year without registering a point. Lindblad has not picked up a point since Jan. 26 against Clarkson, a stretch of six games played and three missed due to injury.
THE 2012 POSTSEASON
The Big Green became the first team to knock off St. Lawrence via a sweep in the team's time in Appleton Arena (more than five decades). After those two wins in the North Country, Dartmouth returned to the Empire State only to suffer a sweep at the hands of second-seeded Cornell in Lynah Rink.
The Green finished the 2012-13 regular season without a win in overtime, positing a mark of 0-1-5 in games that went past 60 minutes. The last time Dartmouth was held without an overtime win for an entire season was 2009-10 when the team went 0-1-3 in OT contests.
CURRENT PLAYERS IN
The senior class is currently 6-6 during their careers in the postseason. They began 1-2 at Quinnipiac (first round) in 2010 before a 3-2 run as sophomores that saw them advance to the semifinals and third-place game. Last season they were 2-2 against the Saints and Big Red.
In that 2011 series, then a freshman, Lindblad came up big in the decisive third game with two goals in the final period to help Dartmouth move on. Seniors Dustin Walsh and Alex Goodship and junior Eric Robinson all had third-period assists as the Big Green netted three in the final 20 minutes to break a 1-1 tie for the 4-3 victory. In the Game 2 overtime victory to stave off elimination, Keenan had the only assist on Andrew Oswiak's '11 winner just 1:37 into the extra period.
OUT OF NOWHERE
At the end of the regular season, Dartmouth's penalty kill ranks as the fourth-best in the nation at 89.6%. The conclusion of the 2011-12 season saw the Green rank 52nd in the nation playing down a man at 77.6%. That 48-spot improvement is the best in Division I this year from last winter.
The Big Green are just 6-7 all-time in first round games, including a 2-4 home mark in those 13 games. That is in stark contrast to the team's 16-3 all-time home mark in quarterfinal contests.
If this series goes three games, it will mark the third Sunday game of the season for the team. Dartmouth knocked off No. 2 New Hampshire, 4-1, on a Sunday night in Hanover as part of the 2012 Ledyard Classic. The other match-up on a Sunday came after snow pushed back the road game against the Crimson to a matinee, rather than the Saturday night primetime game that was originally scheduled.
This match-up features ECAC Hockey's top two teams in terms of shot blocking. Harvard led the league with 495 blocks this season, while Dartmouth and Brown tied for second with 417 apiece. The Crimson averaged nearly three more blocks per game than the next-best team.
Opponents were able to hold Harvard to the lowest goals-per-game total of any league team this season (2.31), while also limiting the Crimson to just 26.97 shots a game, the second lowest figure. Dartmouth ranks seventh in scoring (2.76) and shots (29.69).
Harvard and Dartmouth are the second and third least penalized teams in ECAC Hockey in 2012-13. The Crimson were whistled for 141 penalties, while referees called just 129 infractions on the Big Green. Brown is the least penalized team (122).
TANDEM CUTS IT DOWN
The tandem of Grant and junior Cab Morris in the Dartmouth goal held opponents to just 73 goals during the regular season. With two veteran goalies last season, the Big Green allowed 91 goals in its 29 regular season games, 18 more than this season with a goaltending unit with a combined seven games of collegiate experience.
In the last 13 seasons (2000-01), Dartmouth has finished in the top five of the league's standings 10 times, the second-best figure by any program in that stretch. During that run of 13 years, the Big Green's average finish was fifth, also the second-best mark.
The quarterfinal round awaits the winners of this weekend's series. No. 1 Quinnipiac, No. 2 Rensselaer, No. 3 Yale and No. 4 Union all earned byes into the quarters for finishing in the top four. Teams will be re-seeded following the first round so that the highest seeded team will play the lowest-remaining seed. A Dartmouth win would guarantee that they travel to Schenectady to take on Union.