HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team played to a 2-2 tie with Army West Point Friday night in the second game of the Ledyard Classic at Thompson Arena.
The Big Green (4-5-3) advanced to the championship game against UMass Lowell with a 1-0 shootout win at the expense of the Black Knights (9-6-2). The River Hawks dispatched of Colgate, 3-2, in the earlier game to set up the first meeting between the Big Green and UML since Dec. 11, 2005.
Junior Corey Kalk scored the first goal of the game and then followed up with the lone goal of the shootout. For the winger from suburban Toronto, it was a welcomed return to the lineup after missing the last two games and not playing since Dec. 2 at Clarkson.
However, the games missed due to injury and the three-week holiday break did little to slow Kalk as he now has three goals in his last three games played, plus the shootout winner.
“You play for 65 minutes and we know it’s going to be a tie,” Kalk said afterward. “But sometimes it’s nice to go out there and feel like you won. They can do it in the NHL so why can’t we from time to time?”
If Kalk was the hero on one end for the ice for Dartmouth, then it was his classmate and Big Green netminder Devin Buffalo who was the backbone of the game at the other.
Buffalo stopped 32 shots in 65 minutes of action and all three in the shootout to earn the tie. That doesn’t tell the story of just how good the Alberta native was for the home team on Friday night.
“I thought Devin was outstanding tonight for us,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81. “He was especially good in the first period when Army was carrying the play and we were just a step behind. It helps when that happens to know you have an experienced guy like ‘Buff’ back there to calm everyone down and get back to our game.”
Kalk netted his fourth of the season at 17:23 on the power play with assists going to Troy Crema and Connor Yau. Freshman Cam Strong pulled even with Crema for the team lead in goals with his fifth of the season just 46 seconds later, finishing off a faceoff play from Carl Hesler and Cam Roth.
The Black Knights would not let a two-goal deficit last long as Blake Box scored with 1.3 seconds left in the second period and Conor Andrle pulling the Cadets even just 45 seconds into the third.
The game is officially a tie, but the shootout result sends Dartmouth through to its fifth Ledyard Classic title game in the last six years.
The home team was 1-for-3 on the power play, while West Point was 0-for-2. Shots read 34-31 in favor of Army.
Army and Colgate will play the consolation contest at 4 p.m. Saturday prior to the 7 p.m. championship tilt between the hosts from Dartmouth and UMass Lowell. The later game marks the second time these two have met for the tournament crown with the Big Green claiming a 10-2 win in the 2002 final, powered by five-point performances from Hugh Jessiman ’06 (4-1-5) and Lee Stempniak ’05 (0-5-5).