HANOVER, N.H. – Junior defenseman Andy Simpson scored with 1:36 remaining in regulation to help the Dartmouth men’s hockey team earn a hard-fought 3-3 tie against No. 14 Yale in front of 4,267 fans at Thompson Arena Saturday night.
For the second straight evening, those loyal Big Green (7-16-4, 6-12-2 ECAC) fans that came out to support the team in the final home weekend of the regular season were treated to free hockey as both contests needed overtime.
After Yale’s Mike Doherty gave the visitors their first lead of the night exactly halfway through the final period, Simpson’s one-time shot from the point in the final minutes forced the extra frame.
“That was a great college hockey game,” head coach Bob Gaudet said. “We had great support both from the students and the local community tonight which made the atmosphere in here unbelievable.
“From start to finish, both teams played really well and the outcome is what each deserved. I was especially pleased with how we responded to falling behind in the third and kept battling to get back in it,” Gaudet continued.
The defending national champions from Yale (14-8-5, 9-7-4 ECAC) controlled much of the play in the sudden-death period, but were thwarted on each of its five chances by the play of sophomore and reigning ECAC Hockey Goaltender of the Week Charles Grant.
Grant once again had to be sharp as the Elis threw 42 shots his way in 65 minutes of action. The second-year netminder turned aside 39, including nine in the third and the five in overtime. At the other end of the ice, Yale’s Alex Lyon stopped 24 in the tie.
The draw gives Dartmouth 14 points in the ECAC Hockey standings, jumping into a tie with Harvard for 10th place. The Bulldogs remain in a bitter battle for the final first-round bye with 22 points, just two back of fourth-place Cornell.
The Big Green held a 2-0 lead through the early minutes of the second period. Grant Opperman finished off a 2-on-1 rush with linemate Brandon McNally 3:55 into the game, while Tim O'Brien netted his fourth of the year 3:03 into the middle stanza.
However, the Bulldogs would not go quietly as Pittsburgh native Jesse Root and Amherst, N.H., native Cody Learned scored two quick goals in succession at 4:38 and 5:29, respectively, to knot things up at 2-2.
For Simpson, the game-tying goal was his fourth tally of the year and his third straight game with a point. Eric Neiley won the draw back to Rick Pinkston at the point, who made the lateral pass across the blueline to Simpson for the one-timer through a screen.
Neiley finished the game with a pair of assists, his fifth multi-point effort of the season.
Dartmouth is now unbeaten in its last four games (3-0-1) and has picked up 7-of-8 league points in the last two weekends, creating buzz around the team as the postseason tournament looms just two weeks away.
Both teams were 0-for-3 with the man-advantage.
After defeating Yale, 4-1, in December and earning the tie Saturday, it marked the first time since the 2005-06 season in which the Bulldogs failed to beat the Big Green. That year saw Dartmouth win all four match-ups, including a two-game first-round sweep of the Elis.
After the conclusion of the contest, the team honored the three members of the Class of 2014 on Senior Night. Taylor Boldt, Nick Lovejoy and Cab Morris all suited up for their final regular season home game on Saturday.
The Big Green return to action next weekend when they travel to Cornell and Colgate to close out the regular season.