HANOVER, N.H. - Dartmouth men's hockey sophomore Jesse Beamish scored midway through the third period to tie things up, but a late goal from Harvard proved to be the difference in a 2-1 game one victory for the Crimson Friday night in the ECAC Hockey first-round match-up at Thompson Arena.
The 12th-seeded Crimson (10-17-3) take a 1-0 series lead with the one-goal win over the Big Green with game two set for Saturday night at 7 p.m.
Dartmouth (13-12-5), the league's five-seed, hit the post twice and Harvard goalie Raphael Girard made 18 of his 39 saves in the final period to keep his team in a game that saw the momentum swing in favor of the home squad down the stretch.
After Beamish tied the game at one 9:47 into the final stanza, Dartmouth turned up the pressure as it sought to score the go-ahead goal. However a turnover at center ice and an opportunistic play by Harvard's Brian Hart on a transition break led to the freshman winger burying his own rebound at the 17:15 mark for the late 2-1 advantage.
The Green responded with a barrage of shots in the final minutes, eventually finishing with 19 in the period and 40 for the game. But, Girard stood tall in his crease all night, helping the 12th-seeded Crimson take the opening game of the series.
"I thought we had the puck a lot of the night and I can't be upset at the way we played,'' head coach Bob Gaudet said. "We've got to continue to get pucks to the net and to get there looking for rebounds. We have to fight through the traffic and find a way to bury it.
"I don't think we have to change anything drastically, we just have to change the outcome," Gaudet added of Saturday night's crucial game two.
Beamish has had a knack of scoring big third-period tallies for his team this season. He netted the winner at home against the Crimson back on Jan. 12 and scored the game-tying goal last weekend against Princeton that helped Dartmouth earn a point in the standings and a fifth-place finish.
He benefitted on this night as his sixth of the year was set up nicely by freshman Tim O'Brien and sophomore Charlie Mosey on an up-ice rush. Beamish buried the rebound as Girard's lone mistake of the night was kicking O'Brien's shot into the slot and onto the tape of the waiting sophomore forward.
Goaltender Cab Morris did all he could to give his team a chance to win, stopping 22 shots in the game.
Neither team capitalized on special teams as both were 0-for-2 on the power play.
In a quarterfinal match-up between these two programs in 2011, Harvard also took a 1-0 series lead before Dartmouth answered back with two straight wins at home to move on to Atlantic City and the league semifinals.