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Courtesy: Dartmouth

Men's Hockey Set to Open Regular Season at Ivy Shootout

Courtesy: Dartmouth
Release: 10/25/2012
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DARTMOUTH (0-0) vs. YALE (0-0)
• Friday, Oct. 26, 2012 •  4 PM •  Providence, R.I.
• Meehan Auditorium (2,495)
• All-Time Series:  Yale, 106-87-13
• Last Meeting: Feb. 18, 2012: W, 4-1 •  Streak: 0-10-0

DARTMOUTH (0-0) vs. BROWN (0-0) or PRINCETON (0-0)
• Saturday, Oct. 27, 2012 • 4/7 PM • Providence, R.I.
• Meehan Auditorium (2,495)
• All-Time Series: 73-63-8 (B) and 93-82-15 (P)
• Streak: 8-0-1 (B) and 4-0-1 (P)

Radio:
WFRD 99.3 (Friday Only)
Play-by-Play:
Chris Garrett  Color: N/A
Live Stats and Audio:
DartmouthSports.com
Live Video:
BrownBears.com
Twitter:
@Dartmouth_MIH and @DartmouthSports

Game Notes: Dartmouth • Yale • Brown • Princeton

FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THIS WEEKEND'S GAMES, PLEASE VISIT DARTMOUTH'S GAME DAY CENTRAL

THE WEEKEND

For the third straight year, Dartmouth will start the season in the Ivy Shootout. Brown hosts for the first time and will take on Princeton in the Friday night game following the Big Green and Yale squaring off in the opening game of the weekend. Regardless of Friday's outcomes, Brown will play the 7 p.m. game on Saturday in either the championship or consolation game. In each of the first two Ivy Shootouts the last two Octobers, Dartmouth has won its first game before falling to the Bulldogs in the second. Yale hosted the first tournament in 2010-11, while Thompson Arena was the host site a year ago.

WHO'S BACK?
Dartmouth returns five of its top six scorers from a season ago. Included in that mix is sophomore Tyler Sikura, who finished tied for the team lead with Doug Jones '12 with 25 points a season ago. Now juniors, Eric Robinson and Matt Lindblad were statistical factors a year ago. Robinson led the Big Green with 12 goals last winter, while Lindblad's 18 assists in just 26 games were also a team-high.

THE BIG GREEN ARE BIG AGAIN
This year's team will be one of the largest Dartmouth squads in recent memory, earning the team's namesake. The collection of 28 players average just shy of 6-foot-1 in height and right at 200 pounds in weight, proving to be one of the largest teams in ECAC Hockey.

SKILLED SOPHOMORES
At the end of the 2011-12 regular season, no other freshman class in the league had accumulated as many goals as Dartmouth's first-year players in league contests. The seven players combined for a total of 25 goals in the 22 ECAC Hockey games. Leading the way was Brandon McNally, a player that scored all 10 of his goals against conference foes, a figure that led the league. In the four postseason games, the then-freshman class also posted impressive numbers, totaling four goals and 10 assists for 14 points.

RETURNING SCORERS
No other team in ECAC Hockey will have as many returning forwards that have scored 10 or more goals in a season during their career than Dartmouth's five this year. Robinson, Sikura and McNally all reached double-digit goal figures in 2011-12, while Lindblad and senior Dustin Walsh each did so the year before. As a freshman, Lindblad netted 13 in 2010-11 with Walsh scoring 10 that season as well. Princeton also has five players coming back with 10 goals or more in a season, but that figure also includes defenseman Michael Sdao.

Teams with 10+ Goal Scorers Returning:
Dartmouth - 5

Princeton - 5
Harvard - 4
St. Lawrence - 3
Yale - 3
Quinnipiac - 3
Union - 2
Colgate - 2
Brown - 1
Cornell - 1
Clarkson - 1
Rensselaer - 0

WELCOME BACK
The 2011-12 season was one to forget for the younger Walsh brother. Dustin played in the first five games of the year, scoring seven points (2g/5a), before suffering an injury that sidelined him for the next six. A return to the lineup in late December resulted in three more games and three more points (1g/2a), but was once again cut short with a re-aggravation of the same injury that ended his junior season altogether. In all, Walsh had 10 points (3g/7a) in just eight games for a 1.25 points-per game average.

SIOUX CITY CONNECTION
Three incoming players will not need to work very hard on developing on-ice chemistry, as they were teammates on last season's Sioux City Musketeers of the United States Hockey League. Freshmen Tim O'Brien, Geoff Ferguson and Brett Patterson all suited up for the team in 2011-12. Senior captain Mike Keenan played for Sioux City from 2007-09, registering 43 points (7g/36a) in 107 games with 222 PIM.

NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING
Freshman Nick Bligh was the lone ECAC Hockey representative and just one of 10 NCAA student-athletes to be featured on NHL Central Scouting's Preliminary List for the 2013 Entry Draft. The list is comprised of players from the major junior leagues across the continent, high schools and colleges that are eligible for the upcoming draft entering the 2012-13 season. Once completed the list is sent to NHL team scouts for the purpose of tracking those top prospects throughout the course of the year. A product of the South Shore Kings (EJHL), Bligh scored 22 goals and had 65 assists for 85 points in his lone season of juniors (43 games), helping him earn an invite to the Winnipeg Jets Development Camp this summer.

ECAC HOCKEY PRESEASON POLLS
The league's preseason coaches and media polls were released in late September. While the 12 head coaches from across the conference voted the Big Green seventh, the media tabbed the program to finish 10th in the upcoming regular season standings.

Coaches Poll Media Poll
1. Union (8) 1. Union (18)
2. Cornell (3) 2. Cornell (11)
3. Harvard (1) 3. Harvard
4. Quinnipiac 4. Quinnipiac
5. Yale 5. Yale
6. St. Lawrence 6. St. Lawrence
7. Dartmouth 7. Clarkson
8. Rensselaer 8. Colgate
9. Colgate 9. Rensselaer
10. Clarkson 10. Dartmouth
11. Princeton 11. Princeton
12. Brown 12. Brown

D-MEN PAIRINGS
This year will have a different look for the team's back-end pairings with the departures of Connor Goggin '12 and Jim Gaudet '12 to graduation. Goggin paired with Keenan for all but one game last season, while Gaudet and now-junior Taylor Boldt were a fixture for all 33 games. The lone pairing that returns intact from a year ago are sophomores Rick Pinkston and Andy Simpson. Pinkston returns to the lineup after suffering a season-ending arm injury in the playoff round with St. Lawrence. Also making a return of sorts is junior Nick Lovejoy who joined the N.H. Junior Monarchs midway through last season for the opportunity to gain more playing time.

NEW-LOOK TENDERS
Gone are James Mello '12 and Jody O'Neill 12 and in their places are freshmen goalies Charles Grant and James Kruger. Those two goaltenders will join junior Cab Morris, a player that made six starts a year ago, posting a 3-2-1 record with a 3.10 goals-against average and a .890 save percentage.

PRO PLAYERS
When the 2012-13 NHL season gets going, seven former Dartmouth players will appear on league rosters. No other team had more former student-athletes suit up for NHL teams last season than those seven former Big Green players. Clarkson and Cornell tied Dartmouth for the league lead as both also produced seven players. Union's Jeremy Welsh became the first former Dutchmen to make the league, signing on to play the final game of the season with the Carolina Hurricanes at the conclusion of his team's run to the Frozen Four. Quinnipiac remains the only program in the league without an alum to skate in the NHL.

Dartmouth's NHL Players:
Lee Stempniak '05 - Calgary Flames
Ben Lovejoy '06 - Pittsburgh Penguins
Tanner Glass '07 - Pittsburgh Penguins*
David Jones '08 - Colorado Avalanche
T.J. Galiardi '10 - San Jose Sharks
Nick Johnson '08 - Phoenix Coyotes*
J.T. Wyman '08 - Tampa Bay Lightning
* - Signed in the offseason, yet to play with team
^ - Assigned to Syracuse (AHL) during lockout

ECAC Hockey Programs Former Players in the NHL in 2011-12
7 - Dartmouth, Clarkson, Cornell
4 - Harvard, Brown, Colgate, Princeton
2 - St. Lawrence, RPI, Yale
1 - Union
0 - Quinnipiac

SENIORS
After a season that saw 10 seniors on the roster, the 2012-13 team features just five players in their final year of eligibility. Keenan and Walsh are joined by classmates Jason Bourgea, Mark Goggin and Alex Goodship, three players that can both score and play on the team's grind lines, pick up on the penalty kill and against some of the other team's top talent.

NO LONGER A FAMILY AFFAIR
The Big Green went from two pairs of brothers and a father-son player/coach combination in 2011-12 to no family ties this year. With the graduation of Connor and subsequent move to the AHL, younger brother Mark is left as the lone Goggin on the roster, with the same said for Dustin as older brother Nick graduated and now plays in the ECHL. After six straight seasons of coaching at least one of his sons, head coach Bob Gaudet is now the only member of the family on the current roster with Jim's graduation last June.

10 IN 11
Tim O'Brien finished his final season with Sioux City strong, scoring 10 points in his final 11 games. In that stretch, he scored eight goals and had two assists. His eight goals were the result of four two-goal games against Waterloo, Dubuque, Fargo and Sioux Falls. He was also a +12 in that time.

EVEN-STRENGTH SUCCESSES
No other ECAC Hockey team scored as many even-strength goals as the Big Green did in 2011-12. In 22 regular season league games, the team scored 51 of its 63 total goals (11PP/1SH) while playing even. That figure equates to 81.0% of their final total. Dartmouth needed to be good while even as its 71 power-play opportunities were the least in the league; 13 fewer than the next closest team (Cornell - 84). The Big Green not only saw the fewest PP chances go their way in ECAC Hockey, but their 117 power-play opportunities were the fewest in the nation over the course of the year, 10 fewer than the closest team (Alabama-Huntsville).  

Top-Five Teams

Team Even-Strength Goals
1. Dartmouth 51
T2. Union 48
T2. Yale 48
4. Cornell 47
5. Colgate 44
      

Top-Three Teams - EVG%

Team Goals Special Teams Goals Even-Strength Goals  EVG %
1. Dartmouth 63 12 51 81.0
2. Clarkson 57 14 43 75.4
3. Princeton 58 16 42 72.4

NOTE: Special teams goals are power-play goals and shorthanded goals combined.

MODEL OF CONSISTENCY

Although the pundits don't see Dartmouth making a run to Atlantic City this year, no one should be surprised to see the Big Green at Boardwalk Hall in March. Since the 2000-01 season, Gaudet and his staff have led Dartmouth to nine top-five finishes in the league standings, second only to Cornell's 12. When it comes to advancing in the conference tournament, the Big Green's seven appearances in the final weekend of play again rank second to the Big Red's 10 trips.

FOR THE RECORD
Since the turn of the century (2000-01), Dartmouth has not had back-to-back losing seasons. Just three times (2007-08, 2008-09 and 2011-12) have the Big Green been saddled with more losses than wins. In each instance (excluding last year), the Green and White have bounced back by finishing .500 or better the following campaign.

HE'S SICK
Playing alongside a wealth of linemates for a good portion of his freshman season, Sikura proved to be one of the team's best surprises. His first collegiate game against Brown saw the Ontario native score the game winner late in the third after picking up an earlier assist. He would eventually finish the year as the team's leader in game-winning goals and ranked second with five multi-point efforts.

EXPONENTIAL GROWTH
After a freshman season that saw him score three goals and record 11 points, Robinson stepped up his game in his second go-around in Hanover. As a sophomore in 2011-12, he led the team with 12 goals and was second on the team in total scoring with 24 points. Robinson finished the regular season strong, scoring in the last four games, including a three-point night at Brown (2g/1a) On Feb. 18.

FIRST-WEEK SUCCESS
The Big Green will look to have a better first weekend of action than last year. Despite splitting with the Bears and Bulldogs, no Dartmouth player recorded points in both games.

AGAINST McGILL
The Big Green knocked off McGill, 2-1, in their preseason opener on Saturday afternoon at Thompson. A late goal from Eric Neiley proved to be the difference as he snapped the 1-1 tie with 7:53 remaining in the third.

AGAINST NORWICH
Dartmouth took on local rival Norwich in a formal scrimmage the day after its opener with McGill. An early-game barrage was enough to help the Big Green earn the 'W' as they scored three times in the first 6:36 and held on for the 4-3 win.

SOME PEOPLE JUST GET IT
The coaches and media polls have Dartmouth in the bottom half of the ECAC Hockey standings at the end of the year, but the good folks at U.S. College Hockey Online (USCHO.com) and Inside CollegeHockey.com (INCH) think a little more highly of this year's Big Green. USCHO has the team sixth in its rankings and dubbed them the league's 'wildcard'. INCH went even further, picking Dartmouth to finish fourth and have tabbed the Big Green as ECAC Hockey's 'Breakthrough Team' of 2012-13. INCH went a step further and honored Dustin Walsh as the Best Player in the League.
            

USCHO.com INCH
1. Union 1. Cornell
2. Harvard 2. Union
3. Cornell 3. Harvard
4.Quinnipiac 4. Dartmouth
5. Yale 5. Quinnipiac
6. Dartmouth 6. Yale
7. St. Lawrence 7. Rensselaer
8. Rensselaer 8. Colgate
9. Clarkson 9. St. Lawrence
10. Princeton 10. Princeton
11. Colgate 11. Clarkson
12. Brown 12. Brown.

GUYS WITH A's
In the final days leading up to the season, Gaudet announced that Lindblad, Robinson and Walsh would all join Keenan as the team's leaders. The three new assistant captains all had 'A's' added to their sweaters just in time for the two preseason tilts.

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