HANOVER, N.H. – Sophomore Will Graber scored with 9.9 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Dartmouth men’s hockey team a 4-3 win against Quinnipiac Friday night at Thompson Arena.
A tie game late, it looked like the Big Green (6-9-2, 4-5-1 ECAC) were destined for another overtime contest against a league opponent. A great individual effort along the boards from Graber led to the winner as cycled the puck himself and kept it away from the Bobcats (8-12-3, 4-7-1 ECAC), before his centering feed redirected off a defender’s skate and changed course into the goal with just under 10 seconds left.
“I was trying to hit Corey (Kalk) in front and the puck hit off the defenseman’s skate,” Graber said. “It wasn’t really intended to be a shot, but I’ll take it. I was a little bit surprised, but happy.”
Playing in his 100th career game, senior Corey Kalk put together his best outing of the season, scoring once and assisting on two more, including the winner, for a season-high three-point night.
The two teams traded goals early on as Quinnipiac’s Tanner MacMaster started the scoring at 10:27. Just 66 second later, Kalk netted his fourth of the season on a shot from behind the net that hit off the back of the QU netminder Andrew Shortridge and settled over the line.
The Bobcats regained the lead just 55 seconds later as Odeen Tufto beat Devin Buffalo on a rebound. However, the lead was short-lived as Daniel Warpecha notched his fourth of the season — and first since Nov. 4 — with 35.5 remaining in the opening frame to send the teams to intermission tied at two.
A minute and 20 seconds into the middle period, Dartmouth took its first lead of the night thanks to freshman Collin Rutherford’s second tally of the season. Rutherford finished off a nice passing play from Kalk and Connor Yau on the power play to put the home team up a goal, 3-2.
However, in a back-and-forth contest, it was a lead that the Green and White managed to hold for just about 13 minutes as Quinnipiac came on strong starting in the second. Another MacMaster goal tied things at 3-3 with 5:47 left and continued the trend of a high-scoring affair.
That trend, though, was bucked in the third period as Buffalo and Shortridge locked into a defensive battle. Buffalo stopped all 15 shots the visitors threw on net in the third, keeping them off the scoreboard and allowing his teammates to move the puck down the ice in the final seconds to score the winner.
The penalty kill continued its strong second-half play, killing off all five power-play opportunities the Bobcats had in the game and pushing its streak to 12 straight dating back to the Denver game on Dec. 16. The Rutherford goal was the lone tally on Dartmouth’s three man-advantages.
“We killed ourselves momentum-wise with penalties in the second period,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “They didn’t score on them, but teams gain momentum when they’re on the power play that much. We did a really good job on the penalty kill and we weathered the storm and found a way to win. We didn’t give them a lot of point-blank scoring chances.”
After posting just one save in the first 10 minutes of play, Buffalo battled through tips, redirects and second-chance shots the rest of the way to finish with 28 stops, just one back of Shortridge. The Big Green netminder also got a ton of help from his teammates in front of his as Dartmouth blocked 27 shot attempts in the game with Brendan Less (5) and Cam Strong (4) leading the way. The Bobcats blocked just 13 shots.
In all, 10 players from the home team registered points in the first win against Quinnipiac since Feb. 28, 2015, snapping a six-game winless streak. However, A 0-0 tie in Hamden last month, coupled with Friday’s victory now has the team from Hanover on a two-game unbeaten streak against the Bobcats.
The Big Green close out their homestand Saturday night against Ivy League and ECAC Hockey rival Princeton. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m.