HANOVER, N.H. – A Max Kaufman redirect 20 seconds into overtime was the sudden and abrupt end to Saturday’s night game at Thompson Arena in front of nearly 3,500 fans.
It gave visiting Vermont (4-9-1) a 2-1 win and bragging rights over the Dartmouth men’s hockey team (2-5-0) in the Battle of I-89 for the fourth straight year.
“They (Vermont) grinded it out,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said afterward. “We had a really good start and would have liked to be up by more than just the one goal in that first period, but they kept it close.
“The second period got away from us, but we had chances to put it away in the third period and just weren’t able to finish it off,” Gaudet added.
The Catamounts snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, while the Big Green dropped their first game at home this season and saw its winless stretch move to three. The contest marked the team’s return from a two-week hiatus for exams and a lack of game speed was visible in the middle frame.
After Alex Jasiek scored a power-play goal just 7:39 into the game, it looked like the rust from the break was gone. The junior slammed home a rebound in the slot after a Corey Kalk shot had ricocheted off the backside of freshman Matt Baker standing at the top of the paint. Both were credited with assists on the play with Baker’s being the first of his collegiate career.
It would stay that way until the early stages of the second when Alex Esposito ripped a wrist shot from inside the blueline that found its way into the top corner of the net.
That would be the only real hiccup of the night for sophomore Adrian Clark in the Dartmouth crease. The second-year netminder — making just his third career start — turned aside a career-high 37.
Clark was the final line of defense, but was aided by good play in front of him all night from his teammates. That was evident in Dartmouth’s ability to kill off a five-minute major penalty assessed to sophomore Daniel Warpecha near the midway point of the third. Clark ended up making six saves on the kill, but the Big Green’s top PK unit came up huge with several more blocks as they were pinned in for upwards of two and a half minutes.
“Clark did a great job for us tonight,” Gaudet said. “We did some things well and we did some things that we need to work on getting better at. It’s still early enough in the season to work on those things.”
Eventually the game would go to overtime — the 15th all-time OT contest between the two former conference foes in 83 meetings dating back to 1931 — where Kaufman ended it quickly on his redirect of a Craig Puffer feed.
UVM’s penalty kill was one of the best in the nation coming into game, but surrendered one PPG in two Dartmouth opportunities. The PK of the Green and White was a perfect 3-for-3.
Clark finished with the high save total as Vermont outshot the home team, 39-23, with only one shot credited between the two in OT. Stefanos Lekkas made just 22 saves in earning the win.
Dartmouth is back in action next weekend with an ECAC Hockey roadtrip at Princeton and Quinnipiac Friday and Saturday nights. The team returns home on Saturday, Dec. 9 against Bentley.