HANOVER, N.H. – In his last game at Thompson Arena, senior Corey Kalk left it all out on the ice.
Kalk’s goal at 2:13 of the third period stood up as the game winner as the fifth-seeded Dartmouth men’s hockey team defeated 12-seed St. Lawrence, 2-1, Sunday night in Game 3 of the ECAC Hockey First Round series.
The Big Green (15-15-2) are now 7-0 all-time in Game 3’s played at Thompson Arena.
The home team advances to the conference quarterfinals for the seventh time in the last eight years and will play Harvard in Cambridge next weekend. Game times will be 7 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday tilts, while, if necessary, a Game 3 would be at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Dartmouth is headed to Harvard because of the biggest goal of Kalk’s career. Freshman Matt Baker won a defensive zone faceoff to his left that Kalk was the first player to reach from his position across the circle.
Shaking off one defender inside his own blueline, Kalk then toe-dragged around another in the neutral zone to gain a step coming into the offensive end. Pulling the puck from his backhand to his forehand, the senior and Maple, Ontario, native managed to shield a backchecking defender with his body and slip the puck between the pads of Saints (8-27-2) goaltender Arthur Brey.
“I drove to the back post and put the puck on the five hole with a vengeance,” Kalk said. “Their goalie (Brey) is good low, but, like every goalie, he tends to open up his five hole when you get close. We got two like that last night and we kept going for it tonight.
“In any series, the closing game is the toughest one,” Kalk continued. “We stuck to our belief to the end.”
That belief in the game plan worked out pretty well for Kalk and his teammates.
“Corey had a good, veteran game,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “He made some nice plays coming out of our end and on the forecheck and he’s crafty offensively. He found ways to get on the offensive side of their defensemen and took it to the net.”
Kalk factored into the earlier Dartmouth goal as well, pushing the puck back to the point where Connor Yau and Will Graber exchanges passes and swapped places on the blueline, setting up Graber for the one-timer goal on the 5-on-3 power play.
Graber’s ninth goal of the season gave Dartmouth a 1-0 lead at 6:33 into the middle period. It seemed like penalties would be at a premium, but two costly errors by SLU allowed the home team the two-man-advantage that proved to be a huge boost for the Green and White.
The Saints did not go quietly into the offseason as Jacob Pritchard tied the game at 18:48 of the second. Alex Gilmour gained possession on an aggressive forecheck, pushing the puck to Pritchard’s stick alone in the slot, sending the teams to the locker room even at 1-1.
That was the only time senior Devin Buffalo would allow a puck in his net. Also playing in his final home game, Buffalo anchored his team’s defense, stopping 26, including 10 in the third period with St. Lawrence’s back against the wall and looking to get the equalizer.
Buffalo’s strong play and the tallies from Graber and Kalk helped Dartmouth to a 10-7-1 mark at Thompson Arena this season, giving the senior class three seasons of double-digit wins at home in their four years in Hanover.
Check back with DartmouthSports.com this week for information — including tickets — regarding the first-ever postseason meeting between the Big Green and Harvard in Cambridge.
🎥 Game 3 was a classic! Dartmouth beat St. Lawrence, 2-1, to win the first round series, 2-1. Check out the highlights from a back-and-forth affair that came down to the final seconds! pic.twitter.com/ekAQcVIyeH— Dartmouth Hockey (@Dartmouth_MIH) March 5, 2018