TROY, N.Y. – Playoff hockey always has an extra sense of intensity and that’s what was on display Friday night inside Houston Field House between the 10th-seeded Dartmouth men’s hockey team and seventh-seeded Rensselaer.
Unfortunately for the Big Green (8-18-4), game one of the 2014 ECAC Hockey Championship first-round series against the Engineers (15-14-6) went the way of the home team, 4-1.
Dartmouth will now look to overcome a 1-0 series deficit in the first round of the league’s postseason tournament for the second straight season after beating Harvard in three games in 2013 following a game one loss.
Game two in this year’s best-of-three series is set for Saturday night at 7 p.m. with the Green and White looking to extend its season and force a decisive third game on Sunday evening.
Though he finished the night with 33 saves, Big Green sophomore goalie Charles Grant had to battle for 59:23 of action as he was bombarded with shots from all over the ice, including 18 in the first period alone.
Early on it was the Ryan Haggerty show as the Engineers forward netted a pair in first 10:01 of the opening frame. He scored his first of the night at 4:39, just 14 seconds into a power play. Haggerty’s second was the result of a defensive zone turnover in the slot and a well-placed backhand shot under the bar from the right faceoff dot.
After a reviewed goal by Jacob Laliberte at the 2:09 mark of the second was deemed not to have gone in as the result of a kicking motion, the Big Green found themselves down three.
An interference call against RPI’s Bo Dolan sent Dartmouth to the power play, where junior Jesse Beamish finally got the visitors on the board. After Josh Hartley and Andy Simpson exchanged passes at the point, Beamish buried a loose puck into top right corner of the net over Scott Diebold’s glove at 8:53.
Rensselaer’s Zach Schroeder wasted little time in putting his team back up three, sneaking one in off Grant’s elbow just 1:06 into the third. That would wrap-up the scoring as the Engineers held on for the 4-1 victory.
Both teams were 1-for-6 with the man-advantage in the game as each was called for six minors.
Diebold was strong in RPI’s net, finishing the night with 29 saves and surrendering just the Beamish tally.
Four instances in program history have seen Dartmouth fall in the first contest of a series only to come back and win the next two. The Big Green accomplished the feat in 2003 (vs. Colgate), 2004 (vs. RPI), 2011 (vs. Harvard) and 2013 (vs. Harvard).