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Dartmouth Men’s Hockey Falls to Vermont in Overtime

  • Matt Baker, of Dartmouth, right, fights to free his stick from Vermont goalie Stefanos Lekkas and Kerek Lodermeier, as the puck crosses the net at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. Vermont won 2 - 1 in overtime. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Jarrid Privitera, of Vermont, celebrates after Max Kaufman scored on Dartmouth goalie Adrian Clark during overtime at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. Vermont won 2 - 1. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Corey Kalk, of Dartmouth, breaks away from Brian Kelly, of Vermont, during their game in Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. Vermont won 2 - 1 in overtime. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, November 25, 2017

Hanover — The Dartmouth College men’s hockey team is once again off to a slow start. The current campaign’s early slump deepened Saturday with a 2-1, overtime loss to visiting Vermont, a result that leaves the Big Green 2-5. The Catamounts improved to 4-9-1.

It’s been five years since Dartmouth boasted a winning record heading into the New Year, and the smart money’s on that streak stretching to six. Next weekend brings games at Princeton and Quinnipiac, an ECAC road swing during which the Big Green has won three of its last 16 regular-season contests.

After a Dec. 9 home clash with Bentley (Mass.) University, Dartmouth faces two games at No. 1 Denver, the defending NCAA Division I national champions, before New Hampshire and Minnesota-Duluth in its own holiday tournament. It’s a lot to swallow out of the gate, but Big Green coach Bob Gaudet knows there’s not much else to do except keep working hard.

“We have to battle through the fits and starts of the first part of our season,” said the 21st-year coach, whose team entered the weekend having played the fewest games of any of the country’s 60 Division I teams. “But going into the new year, I think this will be a really hardened team.”

Not only is Dartmouth hamstrung by Ivy League rules that mean it starts practice and begins games later than nonconference teams, it has a two-week break in November for final exams. Start-stop-start is no way to get momentum rolling, and it showed a bit Saturday with a somewhat ragged effort against UVM.

“There’s no way to match game speed when you’re not playing,” said sophomore forward Daniel Warpecha. “But most everybody on the team is accountable for their conditioning away from the rink and we came out great tonight.”

Dartmouth took 12 of the first 15 shots but was outshot, 36-11, the rest of the way. The hosts, while on a power play, took a 1-0 lead during the eighth minute when Alex Jasiek popped in the rebound of a Corey Kalk shot hit rookie teammate Matt Baker’s backside atop the crease.

Alex Esposito answered for UVM three minutes into the second period. Rushing up the left wing, he whipped a wrist shot over the glove of goaltender Adrian Clark and inside the far post. Clark, a sophomore who appeared in seven games last winter, started in place of senior Devin Buffalo, who’s out indefinitely with a groin injury. 

The winning goal came just 20 seconds into overtime and during a rush across the Dartmouth blue line. Craig Puffer’s blur of a pass from the right wing into the slot was redirected home by Max Kaufman as the Big Green dropped its third consecutive game and the Catamounts snapped a four-game losing streak.

“They grinded it out,” Gaudet said of UVM, which increased its lead in the teams’ series to 51-26-6. “We had several glittering chances and we didn’t put them in. Adrian did a good job in goal and our kids battled really hard.”

What seemed like it could have been a key stretch came midway through the third period when Warpecha was issued a 5-minute major penalty for boarding. Dartmouth hoped it could gain momentum from killing off that man-advantage chance, but the Catamounts took 18 of the stanza’s 25 shots.

“I’m disappointed for our kids tonight because I think they worked hard enough for the win,” Gaudet said. “On another night like this, maybe we score three.”

Notes: Dartmouth began last season 2-2-2 and was 4-6-3 heading into January. … UVM won the teams’ game for the fourth consecutive year. … Clark, making his third career start, turned away a career-high 37 shots. … The Big Green and Catamounts first played in 1931 and Saturday was their 15th overtime. … Dartmouth was 3 of 3 on the penalty kill. … Attending his first hockey game was Blake Harding Salvas, born Nov. 14 and weighing 9 pounds, 6 ounces. The son of Dartmouth sports information man Pat Salvas and his wife, Candice, had his own press row seat assignment and, unlike some of its occupants, was awake for most of the night.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com or 603-727-3227.