HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey played to a 2-2 tie with No. 17 Minnesota Duluth Saturday night, but the Bulldogs won Ledyard Classic Championship thanks to a shootout victory.
Officially, the box score will go into the record books as the Big Green (4-8-2) playing the Bulldogs (9-9-3) to the 2-2 draw. The trophy will go to Duluth thanks to a 2-1 showing in the shootout that followed the five-minute scoreless overtime period.
Dartmouth pushed its unbeaten streak against ranked teams to three (2-0-1) after beating No. 16 New Hampshire Friday night and playing to the draw against 17th-ranked UMD on Saturday. Dartmouth’s final game before the break was a 5-4 victory at No. 2 Denver.
“Tonight’s pace was awesome,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “It’s good to play good teams and try to get better. They (UMD) have a bunch of guys who played in the national title game last season and the puck always seems to go to the right spot with them. Tonight was much more like a pro game.”
Billy Exell sent the teams to intermission knotted at one, scoring the first Minnesota Duluth goal with 28 seconds remaining in the opening frame after a scrum in front of the net.
Peter Krieger put the Bulldogs on top, 2-1, 6:49 into the second on a diving backhand shot in the low slot, only to be answered by sophomore Shane Sellar’s third goal in as many games two minutes and 57 seconds later.
Neither goalie budged the rest of the way as Dartmouth’s Devin Buffalo and UMD’s Hunter Shepard locked themselves into a goaltending dual. Buffalo finished the night with 39 saves and 74 for the weekend, going 1-0-1. Shepard stopped 41 on Saturday against the home team after a shutout victory against Yale on Friday.
It was by the slimmest of margins that Shepard edged out his Dartmouth counterpart and was tabbed as both the Ledyard Classic Most Outstanding Goalie and MVP.
“You’ve got to be mentally sharp the whole time they have the puck in your zone,” Buffalo said. “We like the challenge of knowing we have to play our best to have a chance. You can’t hide when you’re playing the best teams in the country.”
The game not only featured great pace, but was also was played with relatively few mistakes as only two penalties were called all night. Dartmouth was the beneficiary of both calls and played their first unpenalized game since Nov. 16, 2007 (3-3 tie vs. Colgate).
The Big Green remain home next weekend to take on No. 19 Union Friday night and Rensselaer the following evening. Both games are set to begin at 7 p.m. inside Thompson Arena.
Chris Miller - UNH
Dante Palecco - Yale
Blake Young - Minnesota Duluth
Peter Krieger - Minnesota Duluth
Matt Baker - Dartmouth
Most Outstanding Goalie and MVP: Hunter Shepard - Minnesota Duluth