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Big Green Continues Steady Turnaround, Falls to UMD in a Shootout

  • Dartmouth College forward Matt Baker (14) and Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepard and defenseman Matt Anderson watch the puck flip above the Bulldogs' crease Saturday during the teams' meeting in the final game of the 29th annual Ledyard Hockey Classic at Thompson Arena. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College wing Shane Sellar waits on a faceoff Saturday during the Big Green's shootout loss to Minnesota-Duluth at Thompson Arena. The teams tied, 2-2, before the Bulldogs won the shootout, 2-1. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Minnesota-Duluth's Billy Excell scores his team's first goal Saturday during a 2-2 tie with Dartmouth College. The Bulldogs won a shootout, 2-1, to capture the 29th annual Ledyard Bank Classic at Thompson Arena. Dartmouth goaltender Devin Buffalo finds himself under teammate Clay Han during the play. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College goaltender Devin Buffalo watches a Minnesota-Duluth shot carom off the crossbar Saturday during his team's 2-2 tie in the final game of the 29th annual Ledyard Holiday Classic at Thompson Arena. The Bulldogs won a shootout, 2-1, to claim the event's title. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »

  • Dartmouth College's Alex Jasiek is flanked by Minnesota-Duluth goaltender Hunter Shepherd and defenseman Matt Anderson during Saturday's final game of the 29th annual Ledyard Classic at Thompson Arena. The teams tied, 2-2, and UMD won a shootout, 2-1. Shepard was the tournament's most valuable player. (Valley News - Tris Wykes) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Purchase a reprint »


Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, December 30, 2017

By Tris Wykes

Hanover — Technically, Saturday’s Ledyard Classic men’s hockey final between Dartmouth College and Minnesota-Duluth was a 2-2 tie. The No. 17 Bulldogs then won a shootout, 2-1, at Thompson Arena to claim the event’s title.

The Big Green? It was left with a continued sense that its season is turning around.

Following an 0-5-2 stretch that began in mid-November, Dartmouth has gone 2-1-1 in its last four games. A one-goal loss at Denver earlier this month fed into an upset of the second-ranked Pioneers a night later. Friday’s victory over No. 16 New Hampshire blended into the UMD game, when Shane Sellar pulled the hosts into a tie midway through the second period.

“The pace was awesome,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, whose team is 4-8-2. “It’s good to play good teams and try to get better. (UMD) has a bunch of guys who played in the national title game last season and the puck always seems to go to the right spot with them. Tonight was much more like a pro game.”

Big Green goaltender Devin Buffalo made 39 saves and stayed hot since returning from a five-week injury layoff that concluded during the Denver series. The senior said he could sense UMD’s speed by watching it shut out Yale on Friday, and that he quickly discovered the Bulldogs would shoot from anywhere at any time.

“You’ve got to be mentally sharp the whole time they have the puck in your zone,” Buffalo said. “We like the challenge of knowing we have to play our best to have a chance. You can’t hide when you’re playing the best teams in the country.”

The Bulldogs (9-9-3) played without six players, five of whom are at the World Junior Championships and another who was ejected for a hit to the head Friday. Goaltender Hunter Shepard shone for the visitors, making 41 saves and being named the tournament’s most valuable player.

“Playing with four defensemen from the start was a first for me,” said UMD coach Scott Sandelin. “But I liked that our guys battled in what wasn’t a pretty game by any means. I’m amazed we didn’t get a single power play, but that’s the way it goes.”

Yep, you heard right. Dartmouth didn’t commit a foul. It was the first time that’s happened for the Big Green since 2007. The Bulldogs had two penalties but Dartmouth couldn’t score on either man advantage.

The hosts scored after just 24 seconds, Kevan Kilistoff and Daniel Warpecha producing consecutive shots and rebounds off a rush up the right side. Charlie Michalowski finished the play off with a shot into the net as a defender flew into it as well, knocking the whole frame off its pegs.

The Bulldogs forged a 1-1 tie 28 seconds before the first intermission. The sequence began in the corner to Buffalo’s left and ended with the netminder sitting in the low slot with teammate Clay Han draped over him. Billy Excell banged the loose puck inside the left post.

UMD went up, 2-1, seven minutes into the second period. Buffalo made a save but coughed up a prime rebound. He got no help afterwards, however, as Tim Shoup lost Bulldog Peter Kriger coming off the side wall and he scored a step ahead of the pursuing defenseman.

Sellar tied the game three minutes later on a similar play, jamming home a rebound atop the crease. No one on the Big Green gets more excited after scoring than the bow-legged Pennsylvanian, who leapt into the corner glass to celebrate.

UMD took five shots to Dartmouth’s one during a 5-minute overtime period and the shootout had a fun air to it. Shepard stopped Alex Jasiek and Corey Kalk, with a Collin Rutherford goal sandwiched in between. Krieger and Kobe Roth scored for the Bulldogs.

Dartmouth closes the season with 15 consecutive ECAC games, beginning with Union and Rensselaer this coming weekend. Quinnipiac and Princeton visit after that as part of a stretch in which seven of the Big Green’s next nine games are at home. It closes the conference campaign with four of its last six contests on the road.

“We have to continue to grow,” Gaudet said. “We haven’t played many league games and we need to do some damage in the ones coming up. We just want to play consistently good hockey and give ourselves a chance.”

Notes: Dartmouth’s lineup was the same as during its Friday victory over New Hampshire, which lost to Yale, 4-2, during Saturday’s first clash. ... The Big Green has been outscored, 20-10 during the first period this season. ... Senior Corey Kalk played his 97th career game, tops among Dartmouth skaters. Tim Shoup is next at 94 and then it drops off to Alex Jasiek at 73. ... The Duluth News Tribune referred to Dartmouth as the “Green Wave” in an article previewing the tournament. That nickname actually belongs to Tulane. ... Dartmouth’s Matt Baker, Yale’s Dante Palecco, UNH’s Chris Miller and UMD’s Blake Young earned all-tournament honors. ... Buffalo, who is from Wetaskiwin, Alberta, said he returned to campus after a week at home by flying out of Edmonton. The 17-hour trip went through Toronto and Boston before a bus ride back to Hanover.

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