HANOVER, N.H. - Freshman Brad Schierhorn scored twice and rookie goalie Charles Grant made 28 saves as the Dartmouth men's hockey team eliminated Harvard with a 6-3 victory in Sunday evening's third game of the first round playoff series between the rival programs.
Three goals in each of the final two periods erased an early Crimson (10-19-3) lead and helped the Big Green (15-12-5) advance in the postseason for the third straight year. Fifth-seeded Dartmouth will now move on to play fourth-seeded Union next weekend in Schenectady in the ECAC Hockey Quarterfinals.
The first-ever postseason match-up between the Big Green and the Dutchmen will get underway Friday night at Messa Rink. In the season series between the two, the Green were 1-0-1, including a 2-2 draw on Feb. 1 in Schenectady.
After losing the series opener to the Crimson, 2-1, Friday night, the home team responded with two victories of 4-1 on Saturday and 6-3 on Sunday to advance.
If Saturday's game two was a display of the Big Green's talented top line, Sunday was an exercise in showcasing the team's depth. Four of the six goals came from players listed on the third or fourth line with Schierhorn, a fourth-liner, leading the way.
It had been 21 games since Schierhorn had last scored, finding the back of the net against Bentley on Dec. 1.
"It's great that we don't always have to rely on the top line," head coach Bob Gaudet said. "As a coach, you love the nights when your whole lineup chips in and produces.
"Schierhorn's first goal was a huge momentum swing after they took the early lead. I like that the young guys are contributing as much as they are because it's great for not only our team carrying over to next weekend and beyond, but also for their confidence as individual players," Gaudet added.
The freshman winger from Anchorage, Alaska, tied the game 2:28 into the second period after Harvard's Luke Greiner netted the opening tally in the final minute of the first. Schierhorn bookended his team's scoring as he backhanded another into the empty net with 1:46 left in regulation to seal it.
What came between those scores were four other Dartmouth players netting markers to put away the Crimson in a must-win for the Green.
Just over four minutes after Schierhorn tied the game at one, fellow freshman Tim O'Brien knocked in the go-ahead goal. That 2-1 lead stood for just 49 seconds until junior Eric Robinson swatted in his team-leading 11th of the year to put Dartmouth up by two.
Freshman Nick Bligh made it a 4-1 game as his blast from the point on a rush beat Harvard netminder Raphael Girard over the right shoulder, chasing him from the crease after solid outings in the series' first two games.
Senior Dustin Walsh all but ended Harvard's chances of a comeback with his second goal in as many nights and his 10th of the season with roughly five minutes left. The Crimson's Greiner and Desmond Bergin would score in the third, but Schierhorn's second goal and third point of the night into the empty net ended any hope of a comeback.
Senior Alex Goodship also added a career-high three points as he finished with three assists.
Of Grant's 28 saves, 16 came in the final period as the 12th-seeded Crimson looked to get back into the game and stave off elimination.
This was the second postseason series between the two Ivy League foes. In both cases, Harvard took a 1-0 lead, before Dartmouth battled back to win in three games on home ice. In 2011, the Big Green handed the Crimson the same fate in a quarterfinal match-up played in Hanover.
Dartmouth finished 12-5-1 in 18 home games this season, the best mark at Thompson since the 2006-07 campaign (12-5-2).
Game one against Union is Friday night at 7 p.m. Information regarding tickets for Big Green fans will be announced early this week. Check with DartmouthSports.com for updates.