ITHACA, N.Y. - The 2011-12 season ended Saturday night for the Dartmouth men's hockey team as it fell to Cornell, 3-1, in Game 2 of the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals at Lynah Rink. The Big Red swept the series and move on to Atlantic City after taking the opener, 4-3, in double overtime Friday.
Cornell (17-7-7) scored three times in the first period, which opened the door for senior goaltender James Mello (Rehoboth, Mass.) to come into the game off the bench and hold the Big Red off the scoreboard the rest of the night.
Mello played 49:37 in relief, making 23 saves without allowing a goal and keeping Dartmouth (13-16-4) in the game.
"I'm so proud of the way the team battled back after that early part of the game," head coach Bob Gaudet said. "They (Cornell) played well and pucks ended up in the net, but that didn't get us down. We kept coming and battled back and I am very proud of that fact.
"These seniors were great leaders in the face of so much adversity this season and they truly are a special group of guys in that locker room right now," Gaudet added.
If Friday's first period was a heavyweight bout with both fighters delivering blows, Saturday's first 20 minutes of play looked more like the Big Red seeking an early knockout. Cornell stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first 8:21 of play. Dustin Mowery scored his second of the weekend just over a minute into the game, before Locke Jillson and Sean Whitney followed with goals of their own in the next seven minutes.
Those three early tallies chased Dartmouth starter Jody O'Neill (Nepean, Ontario) from the net after three-straight games of 30 or more saves.
The Big Green finally got on the board 11:29 minutes into the game on Charlie Mosey's (Prior Lakes, Minn.) second of the season. Connor Goggin (Glen Ellyn, Ill.) and Andy Simpson (Chesterfield, Mo.) picked up the helpers after both fired shots on goal that eventually led to the rebound at the top of the crease that Mosey backhanded over the left pad of Cornell goaltender Andy Iles.
However, that was the way it would stay the rest of the night as neither team scored again in the contest.
The two exchanged offensive rushes in the final 20 minutes, but Mello and Iles were there to stop any chance of either adding to the scoreboard totals.
Dartmouth desperately sought the two goals that would pull them even in the final minutes, sending 12 pucks on Iles in the final period, but to no avail as the Big Red ran the clock out on the Big Green and held on for the 3-1 win.
O'Neill, who has been stellar in the Dartmouth goal in each of the last two weekends, stopped four shots in the early Cornell onslaught before giving way to fellow senior Mello. Iles finished the night with 27 stops.
Dartmouth was 0-for-5 on the power play in the game, including 0-for-4 in the third period alone, albeit three of those opportunities being shortened. Cornell was 1-for-5 Saturday and 2-for-12 on the weekend.