HANOVER, N.H. – In his first home game back since suffering a knee injury in late December, junior and team captain Tyler Sikura made a statement on ice and on the scoresheet in front of the Thompson Arena faithful Friday night.
Sikura’s slap shot from the point on the power play just 51 seconds into overtime gave the Big Green a thrilling 2-1 win against visiting Ivy League and ECAC Hockey foe Brown.
The Bears’ Massimo Lamacchia was whistled for a hooking call on Eric Neiley with nine seconds left in regulation, giving the Green the man-advantage as the teams began the sudden death period. A drop pass from Tim O'Brien and a lateral feed from Grant Opperman put the puck on Sikura’s stick at the top of the zone, setting up the blast that beat the Brown netminder, ricocheting off the bottom of the crossbar and settling in the back of the net.
"I was so excited to see that puck bounce down, rather than up," head coach Bob Gaudet after the win. "Faith can only go so far and it can't be completely blind.
"We played some good hockey and didn't get good results, but the guys have had such resilience. I feel great about them staying on it with some real positive energy this season," Gaudet continued.
With Sikura’s second of the season came Dartmouth’s third straight win and the fourth in five games, improving its overall mark to 7-16-3. In league play, the Green and White are starting to garner attention from other teams as the 6-12-1 conference record gives them 13 points, just outside of the top eight and a home-ice playoff spot.
Brown continues to stumble as it has now dropped five of its last six games, bringing its overall mark to 10-13-3. The Bears are 7-11-1 in league games and sit ninth in the standings after the loss.
After a scoreless first period, sophomore Brad Schierhorn’s redirect of a point shot from Andy Simpson 6:16 into the middle frame finally got one of the teams on the board. For Schierhorn, it was his seventh goal of the season and his third in the last two games after netting a pair in the 6-1 win at Clarkson last Saturday.
The game would remain a 1-0 Dartmouth lead until Matt Lorito’s opportunistic power-play goal 8:17 into the final frame tied things up. Lorito corralled a loose puck in the slot and beat Charles Grant over the shoulder as the Big Green netminder tried to move left-to-right without his stick.
However, that would be the only blemish of the night for an otherwise stellar Grant, the reigning ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week. The Berwick, Nova Scotia, native turned aside 24 shots, including nine in the final period of regulation as the visitors dominated play, to earn his third win in as many games.
His counterpart in Brown’s Marco De Filippo had 20 saves in the loss, allowing the only shot of overtime to get by him.
For Dartmouth, the win was an unfamiliar result in the extra session, having gone 0-5-10 in overtime games dating back to the middle of the 2011-12 season. The last time the Green defeated an opponent in sudden-death situation was Jan. 21, 2012 at Colgate when they erased a 4-1 third-period deficit to take the 5-4 victory in Hamilton.
Dartmouth was 1-for-4 with the power play, while the penalty killers were successful on 2-of-3 opportunities Friday night.
The 2013-14 regular season home slate comes to an end Saturday night as the defending national champions from Yale come to Hanover for a 7 p.m. tilt. Following the game, Nick Lovejoy, Taylor Boldt and Cab Morris will be honored as part of senior night celebrations for the Class of 2014.