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Comeback Ends in OT Loss at Quinnipiac, 3-2, for No. 8 Big Green

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By John and Matt Risley

HAMDEN, Conn.  - Winnetka, Ill., natives Matt Lindblad and Tim O'Brien scored two goals in the final minutes to help No. 8 Dartmouth force overtime, but Jordan Samuels-Thomas netted the winner 3:30 into the extra frame to earn the 3-2 win for No. 5 Quinnipiac.

The loss was just the second in ECAC Hockey play this season for the Big Green (4-2-1), who came into the contest second in the standings to the now 9-0-0 Bobcats. QU is now unbeaten in its last 13 (12-0-1), the best mark in the nation this season.

Charles Grant was strong in the Big Green goal on the night, stopping 32 shots in more than 63 minutes of action at High Point Solutions Arena.

Bryce Van Brabant put fifth-ranked Quinnipiac up 2-0 at 8:04 of the third period, but was answered almost immediately by Lindblad just 44 seconds later. A first-period goal from Travis St. Denis midway through the first was the game's lone score until the Van Brabant marker.

The junior winger Lindblad knocked in a loose puck at the top of the crease after being set up by linemates Tyler Sikura and Dustin Walsh in the offensive.

Walsh's assist on the play was his fifth of the season and the 50th point of his career. Sikura's helper was his team-leading 12th of the year to give him 20 points in just 14 games, also a team best.

With 3:34 left in regulation and trailing by two, O'Brien stepped up and banged in a rebound to tie the game. The marker was the first for O'Brien since scoring Dartmouth's opening goal of 2012-13 back on Oct. 26 against Yale in Providence.

Geoff Ferguson's initial shot was knocked back into the fray by sophomore Eric Neiley before the puck eventually settled on the freshman forward's stick for the tying goal.

Grant's play in the final minutes, fighting off several Bobcat shots in the low slot, helped the Big Green force the overtime period where Samuels-Thomas ended it with his well-place wrist shot under the crossbar.

Eric Hartzell earned the win for the Bobcats, stopping 27 in the game, including 13 in the third period.

The penalty kill returned to form, holding QU to an 0-for-3 night, while the Dartmouth power play was 0-for-5.

The game was shown live on NESN, the third TV contest of the season for the Big Green.

There will be a short turnaround for the Green as they will be in action Saturday afternoon at Princeton at 4 p.m.