HANOVER, N.H. - Three second-period goals and a shutout from junior Cab Morris were the main differences for the Dartmouth men's hockey team Friday night in a 4-0 win against visiting Rensselaer at Thompson Arena.
The 18-save shutout was the first of Morris' career and stretches his run without allowing a goal to 112:00.
Now, 4-0-1 overall and 3-0-0 in ECAC Hockey play, the Green and White are the lone remaining unbeaten team in the nation and sit atop the league standings with No. 8 Union, Saturday night's opponent. Both teams have six points.
In what can best described as a grind-it-out win, the Big Green saw four different players score goals against the Engineers (1-4-2, 0-3-0 ECAC), including freshman Brad Schierhorn's first-career marker to open the night just 2:36 into the contest.
"We have a lot of skill," head coach Bob Gaudet said following the game. "But I think the best skill set we have is a great work ethic. We play the full 60 minutes and not just a shift here or shift there."
The duo of junior Eric Robinson and sophomore Tyler Sikura continue to be dominant offensive forces for the Big Green this season.
Sikura had a goal and an assist on the night for his second multi-point effort of the year and push his scoring streak to a career-best five games. His shorthanded goal 10:21 into the middle period was his second of the season, matching Dartmouth's entire output from a year ago through just two and a half weeks.
Like Sikura, Robinson is continuing his early-season surge with his sixth goal of the year. The reigning ECAC Hockey Player of the Week picked up a loose puck along the halfboards after sophomore Charlie Mosey stripped an RPI defender, causing the turnover. Robinson managed to take three quick strides before slipping the puck shortside and into the back of the net.
He has scored at least once in all five match-ups thus far and remains the country's leader in goals per game at 1.20.
Schierhorn's first collegiate goal came early on as his backhand found space under the crossbar and over the glove of RPI starting goalie Scott Diebold. It would stand up as the eventual game winner, helping the Alaska native became the first player besides Robinson to register a winner this season.
Sophomore Eric Neiley scored his second in as many games with another second-period tally. A pretty passing play led to a break that Diebold stopped, but Neiley was persistent in his pursuit, burying the rebound. Sophomores Andy Simpson and Sikura had the assists as their outlet passing led to the break.
The third goal of the period from Robinson proved too much for Diebold as RPI head coach Seth Appert pulled him in favor of Bryce Merriam for the remaining 27:33.
Dartmouth's penalty killing unit was once again on its game, not allowing the Engineers anything on five chances. After a hot start to the year, the Green and White's power-play unit was once again held in check, though, finishing the night 0-for-3.
Morris's shutout was the first of his career, but the second of the season for the Big Green, who blanked Brown by the same score two Saturdays ago in Providence with freshman Charles Grant in goal. The last time Dartmouth posted two shutouts in its first three weeks of play was back in 1953-54 when it beat MIT (11-0) and Northeastern (7-0) on consecutive Saturdays in December.
Now the eighth-ranked Dutchmen come to Hanover for a Saturday night meeting of the top two teams currently in ECAC Hockey. Union dispatched of Harvard, 6-2, Friday night in Cambridge and come to the Upper Valley on a 6-0-1 stretch after falling in its season opener for its only loss of 2012-13.