First Round Road Series at SLU Awaits Big Green This Weekend
No. 9 Dartmouth at No. 8 St. Lawrence
Game 1 (30) - Friday, March 2, 2012 - 7 p.m.
Game 2 (31) - Saturday, March 3, 2012 - 7 p.m.
Game 3 (32)* - Sunday, March 4, 2012 - 7 p.m.
Dartmouth Big Green (11-14-4, 8-11-3 ECAC) vs.
St. Lawrence Saints (14-17-3, 10-11-1 ECAC)
Location: Canton, N.Y. - Appleton Arena (3,200)
All-Time Series: St. Lawrence, 53-30-3
First Meeting: Jan. 13, 1950 - L, 3-2 (Home)
Last Meeting: Feb. 25, 2012 - L, 3-1 (Home)
Streak: St. Lawrence, 1-0-1
Last Dartmouth Win: Nov. 18, 2011 - W, 3-1 (Away)
* - If Necessary
March 16, 2001: St. Lawrence 2, Dartmouth 0 (Semifinals)
March 17, 2007: St. Lawrence 5, Dartmouth 3 (Third-Place Game)
HANOVER, N.H. - Every year the regular season ends and the postseason begins there is a certain level of finality to every game.
Every shift moves a team one step closer to the end of a season and for some players, it moves them one step closer to the end of their collegiate careers.
But for the Dartmouth men's hockey team, hopes are high that that inevitable sense of finality is delayed for a little while longer as it looks to start a run toward Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City and the ECAC Hockey Championship this weekend with a first-round series at St. Lawrence.
Two games are guaranteed for Friday and Saturday night with another set for Sunday if necessary from Appleton Arena in Canton, N.Y.
Winners of the best-of-three first-round series will move on to play the top four seeds (Union, Cornell, Harvard, Colgate) in the quarterfinals after those teams earned byes.
ECAC HOCKEY TOURNAMENT FORMAT
Tournament competition features four first-round series conducted at on-campus sites Friday-Sunday, March 2-4; four quarterfinals series at on-campus sites Friday-Sunday, March 9-11; and the championship semifinals, third-place and championship games March 16-17 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
- The first-round and quarterfinals series are best-of-three games. The top four seeds (Union, Cornell, Harvard, and Colgate) will receive first-round byes.
FIRST-ROUND (Friday, March 2 -
Sunday, March 4 - Best-of-three)
No. 12 Brown at No. 5 Quinnipiac (Hamden, Conn.)
No. 11 Princeton at No. 6 Yale (New Haven, Conn.)
No. 10 Rensselaer at No. 7 Clarkson (Potsdam, N.Y.)
No. 9 Dartmouth at No. 8 St. Lawrence (Canton, N.Y.)
QUARTERFINALS (Friday, March 9 -
Sunday, March 11 - Best-of-three)
TBD at No. 1 Union (Schenectady, N.Y.)
TBD at No. 2 Cornell (Ithaca, N.Y.)
TBD at No. 3 Harvard (Cambridge, Mass.)
TBD at No. 4 Colgate (Hamilton, N.Y.)
FRIDAY, MARCH 16 (SEMIFINALS)
Semifinal No. 1 - 4 p.m.; Semifinal No. 2 - 7 p.m. (Boardwalk, Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.)
SATURDAY, MARCH 17 (THIRD-PLACE &
Third-Place Game - 4 p.m. (Boardwalk, Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.)
Championship Game - 7 p.m. (Boardwalk, Hall - Atlantic City, N.J.)
Dartmouth and St. Lawrence will meet in the first round of the ECAC Hockey Tournament this weekend in Canton N.Y. with the Big Green earning the No. 9 seed and traveling to take on the No. 8 Saints.
HOW WE GOT HERE
Dartmouth earned the No. 9 seed in this year's tournament with 19 points (8-11-3) after losing to St. Lawrence, 3-1, Saturday night in the regular season finale. The No. 8 Saints earned the higher seed with the two-goal win at Thompson in the crucial game to determine home ice between the two teams this weekend.
AGAINST THE SAINTS
These two programs met three times during the regular season with each claiming a 3-1 road victory in conference match-ups (Nov. 18 and Feb. 25). The non-conference contest was the title game of the Ledyard Classic on Dec. 31 in Hanover. Officially a 2-2 tie by NCAA standards, the Saints won the game in a shootout, 3-2.
AGAINST ONE TEAM
In the 106 seasons of Dartmouth hockey, the Big Green has played another opponent six times in one campaign just once (Vermont, 2004-05). If this weekend's playoff series goes three games, the team will match that total against the Saints this year (1-1-1).
In the long and storied history between both of these programs, this weekend will mark the first time that they have played one another in a postseason series. Twice before they have met as two of the final four ECAC Hockey teams remaining, playing in the semifinals in 2001 (SLU, 2-0) and again in the consolation game in 2007 (SLU, 5-2). Dartmouth has yet to beat St. Lawrence in the postseason.
Dartmouth reached Atlantic City last season and the league's final four after knocking off Harvard in a three-game series in the quarterfinals. Finishing with the No. 3 seed and a bye into the second round of the league's playoffs, Dartmouth played host to Harvard March 11-13 at Thompson Arena.
- The Crimson opened the series with a 3-2 win on Friday, but a 4-3 overtime victory by the home team in Game 2 helped force a decisive final game. Tied 1-1 headed into the third period, Dartmouth scored three times in the final period, including two from then-freshman Matt Lindblad to move on to the semifinals.
- Once they reached Atlantic City, the Big Green were bounced by Cornell, 3-0, in the semifinals before taking out Colgate, 5-3, in the Consolation Game.
SIX TIMES SWEETER
Against Clarkson, Dartmouth matched its season-best scoring output with six goals. Aided by four first-period goals, the Big Green held on late in regulation, surviving a furious comeback bid by the Golden Knights to take the game, 6-4.
STRONG ROOKIE CLASS
A league-best seven Dartmouth freshmen had points this season in league games. Those seven players also helped make up the top scoring freshman class in the conference with 25 in 2011-12. In all, the Big Green rookies combined to score 61 total points (25g/36a), which is nearly 24 points better than the league average (37.33) for the 12 teams' freshmen classes.
With three assists this past weekend, senior Doug Jones (Marietta, Ga.) moved all alone into eighth all-time at Dartmouth with 78 for his career. Jones' two assists Friday against Clarkson helped him leap Bill Kelleher '97 and Michael Turner '72 who each had 76 during their careers. Dennis Murphy '80 and Mike Ouellette '06 are tied for sixth with 80 apiece and are next inline for Jones.
Freshmen Tyler Sikura (Aurora, Ontario) and Eric Neiley (Warminster, Pa.) each recorded three points in the first period against Clarkson as part of a four-goal outburst by the team. Both Sikura and Neiley had a goal and two assists in the opening period. Neiley matched his career high with three points, while Sikura eclipsed his previous best mark of two points in a contest (three times).
LINDBLAD BLENDS IN
Overshadowed by Neiley and Sikura's three-point night and McNally's two goals, sophomore Matt Lindblad (Winnetka, Ill.) scored once and assisted on another in the first period Friday against Clarkson. The second-year forward scored the opening tally 5:24 into the game before helping to set up Neiley with the second of the night just 5:07 later.
FROM INSURANCE TO WINNER
Connor Goggin's (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) goal from the point 11:14 into the third period gave Dartmouth a 5-2 lead, giving them a bit more breathing room after Clarkson scored twice in the second. That goal quickly turned from the insurance marker to the game winner after the visitors scored twice in 26 seconds soon after to make it a one-goal game late in regulation. Goggin now ranks second on the team with two game winners this season.
SOPHOMORE SLUMPS ARE FOR SLACKERS
Lindblad and fellow sophomore Eric Robinson (Foxboro, Mass.) proved that the sophomore slump doesn't always apply. Lindblad finished the season the team's leader in assists (15), while Robinson led the team in goals (12) and was tied with Jones for the team lead in scoring (23).
Playing in their final home weekend of their careers, head coach Bob Gaudet split time in goal over the two games between senior James Mello (Rehoboth, Mass.) and Jody O'Neill (Nepean, Ontario). Mello stopped 35 shots, allowed four goals and earned the win over Clarkson, while O'Neill stopped 21 and allowed just two, but was saddled with the loss against the Saints the following night.
SAY GOODBYE SENIORS
With the loss against St. Lawrence guaranteeing the Saints home ice in the first round, Saturday night marked the final game at Thompson Arena in the careers of 10 members of this year's senior class, the largest in the league.
SCHUSS IN THE LINEUP
Senior Kyle Schussler (Winnipeg, Manitoba) made his season debut in the Dartmouth lineup Friday against Clarkson. It was the first time Schussler had seen game action since his sophomore year and marked just the fourth game of his career. He began the night taking a cross-checking penalty on his first shift just 2:46 into the game. However, Schussler finished the night strong with two big open-ice hits before blocking a shot from the point the next evening against SLU. A true defenseman, Schussler played wing on the fourth line both nights.
OH, THE DIFFERENCE A
Dartmouth and Harvard finished the regular season with the same number of victories against ECAC Hockey foes (8). However, Harvard (8-5-9) finished third in the league standings and earned a first-round bye on the strength of tying a league record for ties in a single season with nine. Seven teams had more wins this season than the Crimson, but five of those teams are behind them in the standings due to the draws.
CHANCES WITH THE PP
Dartmouth finishes the season as the lone team in Division I (58 programs) to not have at least 100 power plays this season. The Big Green were awarded the man-advantage just 98 times all season, failing to reach triple digits. Bemidji State's 107 opportunities rank as the second fewest in the nation this season.
|HOW THEY MATCH UP||INDIVIDUAL LEADERS|
|DARTMOUTH||ST. LAWRENCE||DARTMOUTH||ST. LAWRENCE|
|GOALS||79||84||POINTS||Robinson/Jones (23)||Flanagan (35)|
|GOALS AGAINST||91||110||GOALS||Robinson (12)||Flanagan (14)|
|GAA||3.14||3.24||ASSISTS||Lindblad (15)||Cleary (22)|
|POINTS||214||234||PIM||Keenan (52)||Drewiske (48)|
|STREAK||L1||W1||GW||Sikura (3)||Carey (3)|
|HOME||7-7-2||7-9-1||WINS||Mello (3)||Weninger (13)|