HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team prefers the comforts of home as shown in a 5-1 win Saturday night at Thompson Arena against in-state rival New Hampshire.
The Big Green are now 3-0-1 at home this season after returning to Hanover for following a seven-game road trip in which they won just one time (1-5-1).
“It was a good effort by our guys all night,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “UNH has a lot of talent and we really played a solid defensive game. We backchecked and took away space from them in the neutral and defensive zones.
“You have to win your share of games at home and we weren’t as crisp on that road trip so it was key for us to come out early and set the tone in this one coming back into our rink,” Gaudet remarked. “I could see that coming because we had a really good week of practice. I was pleased with the intensity in front of our fans tonight.”
Goals from John Ernsting, Daniel Warpecha, Troy Crema, Grant Opperman and an empty netter from Clay Han helped lift the spirits of the road-tested Dartmouth team to their first win against UNH (8-7-2) since Dec. 30, 2012 —a 4-1 win in Hanover.
Junior netminder Devin Buffalo finished the night with 24 saves, beaten by just one shot from Jason Salvaggio, early in the third.
Ernsting scored the lone goal of the first, while Warpecha and Crema netted tallies in the middle frame. Opperman’s goal early in the third period came on the power play, helping the Big Green to a 1-for-3 mark on the man-advantage in the game.
Warpecha — a freshman winger playing alongside fellow rookie Charley Michalowski and sophomore Kevan Kilistoff — has found his scoring touch with three goals in his last four games after not finding the back of the net in the first seven contests of the season.
Han’s empty netter with 1:47 left in the game was his first collegiate goal and was the insurance marker that gave Dartmouth its largest margin of victory against UNH since a 7-3 win against the Wildcats in the Consolation Game of the 1979 Frozen Four played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
In all, 12 of the Big Green’s 18 skaters had points with Crema and Opperman finishing with a goal and an assist each.
Dartmouth did what it needed to do in holding the potent Wildcat power play in checking, taking just two penalties all night, killing both.
Shots were 33-25 in favor of the home team.
Members of the Green and White will head into winter break in their respective hometowns before returning to Hanover for the 28th Annual Ledyard Classic featuring Army West Point, UMass Lowell and Colgate at Thompson Arena on Dec. 30-31.