HANOVER, N.H. – Following an historic third-period comeback in Sunday night’s deciding Game 3 of its first-round series at Rensselaer, the Dartmouth men’s hockey team must now turn its attention to top-seeded Union in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals beginning Friday.
For the second year in a row, the Big Green and Dutchmen will meet in the second round of the league’s postseason tournament with a berth in the semifinals on the line. All games are scheduled for 7 p.m. puck drops.
Last season, fifth-seeded Dartmouth traveled to fourth-seeded Union and was dealt a two-game sweep by the eventual conference champion and NCAA Tournament participant.
How the Green and White earned the trip to Schenectady also had similar roots with a three-game series win in the opening round. In 2013, Dartmouth dropped the opening game of its home series with Harvard before storming back to drop the Crimson, 4-1 and 6-3, in the subsequent contests to take the best-of-three match-up.
After falling behind one game to none to seventh-seeded RPI, the 10th-seeded Big Green clawed back into the series with a thrilling 3-2 victory on Saturday night, setting up Sunday’s classic.
Trailing the Engineers, 4-2, heading into the third period, the visitors mounted a fevered comeback bid with three goals in the frame. After Eric Neiley and Brandon McNally scored in the period’s opening 10 minutes to tie it up at four, sophomore Brad Schierhorn netted the eventual winner with just 2:14 showing on the clock.
Tim O’Brien intercepted a clearing attempt at the blue line and put a perfectly placed pass on the stick of Schierhorn at the bottom of the left circle for the winning goal and a berth in the quarterfinals. The win was the first for the Green when trailing after 40 minutes in more than two years, dating back to a 5-4 overtime victory at Colgate after falling behind 4-1 after two periods.
For the fourth straight season, the team won a playoff series and now will face off with the league’s regular-season champion and two-time defending tournament winners from Union. The 2013 match-up was the first-ever in the postseason between the Big Green and the Dutchmen, the remaining ECAC Hockey team to have never faced Dartmouth in the tournament setting.
Like Rensselaer, Union swept the season series in 2013-14, winning 7-2 in Hanover on Nov. 1 and 3-2 in Schenectady on Dec. 11.
ALL-TIME VS. UNION IN POSTSEASON PLAY:
2013 Quarterfinals (0-2)
No. 5 Dartmouth at No. 4 Union
Game 1: L, 4-1
Game 2: L, 5-2
No. 10 Dartmouth at No. 1 Union
Game 1: Friday, March 14 – 7 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, March 15 – 7 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, March 16 – 7 p.m.