HANOVER, N.H. – Freshman Matt Baker scored a pair of first-period goals and classmate Quin Foreman notched the first of his career late in the second to help the Dartmouth men’s hockey team to a 3-1 win against No. 16 New Hampshire Friday night at the Ledyard Classic in Thompson Arena.
The result marked the second straight win against a ranked opponent for the Big Green (4-8-1) and their first consecutive victories against the Wildcats (9-8-1) since 1979 and 1980. Dartmouth also beat UNH at home, 5-1, last season. It was also the first time the Green and White held their in-state rivals to just one goal in successive games since 1936 (4-1) and 1942 (7-1).
“We talked to our team before the break about how the young guys need to play like veterans now that they’ve gotten some playing time,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “We made simple plays with the puck up ice, which is so important, especially against UNH, which is so good at transition.”
Baker’s first two career goals at home came just 92 seconds apart on a delayed penalty and the subsequent power play midway through the opening frame.
UNH got one back with 1:37 left in the first on a Chris Miller goal to make it a 2-1 game headed into the break. It stayed that way for nearly 20 minutes of action until Foreman’s first put the home team up a pair once again with yet another power-play goal.
Will Graber’s shot from the top of the circle redirected off Foreman’s stick between his legs and into the net. Getting the second helper on the play was Jamie McLaughlin, who was making his first appearance in the lineup this season.
The Wildcats came into the night with the second-best penalty kill in the nation at 92.0 percent, but allowed a pair of Dartmouth man-advantage goals on seven opportunities Friday, proving to be costly in the loss. The home team’s PK unit killed all three UNH bids.
“This team doesn’t need a cheerleader behind the bench because it’s so good with the small habits,” Gaudet remarked. “They’re engaged and they notice the small things. That you have to sprint to the bench on line changes, block shots, chip pucks out of the zone and battle for them down low in the offensive zone.
“Guys aren’t trying to do something fancy with the puck late in a shift and at the other team’s blue line,” the Dartmouth coach added. “That stuff gives us a chance.”
After an impressive weekend at No. 2 Denver two weeks ago, senior netminder Devin Buffalo continued his strong play with a 35-save performance to backstop Dartmouth to its second straight win over a ranked opponent.
Since returning from an injury that sidelined him for roughly six weeks, Buffalo has a .945 save percentage and a 2.01 goals against average. His 104 saves in that time are the most in the nation.
The Big Green are back in action Saturday evening (7 p.m.) against No. 17 Minnesota Duluth (9-9-2), who beat Yale, 5-0, in the first game of the tournament. UNH and Yale will play in the early game, set to begin at 4 p.m. Saturday night’s game now takes on a true championship game feel as both UMD and the Big Green won on Friday.
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