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Big Green Bunches Goals for Late Rally

  • Dartmouth College's Mackenzie St. Onge is flanked by teammates Catherine Berghuis, left, and Eleni Tebano while awaiting a faceoff Tuesday against visiting Providence. The Big Green rallied for a 3-2, nonconference victory with three goals during the third period.<br/>Valley News - Tris Wykes

    Dartmouth College's Mackenzie St. Onge is flanked by teammates Catherine Berghuis, left, and Eleni Tebano while awaiting a faceoff Tuesday against visiting Providence. The Big Green rallied for a 3-2, nonconference victory with three goals during the third period.
    Valley News - Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft and Providence forward Beth Hanrahan watch a shot carom off the netminder's pads Tuesday during the Big Green's 3-2, nonconference victory at Thompson Arena. Holdcroft made 28 saves to win her 50th college game.<br/>Valley News - Tris Wykes

    Dartmouth College goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft and Providence forward Beth Hanrahan watch a shot carom off the netminder's pads Tuesday during the Big Green's 3-2, nonconference victory at Thompson Arena. Holdcroft made 28 saves to win her 50th college game.
    Valley News - Tris Wykes

  • Dartmouth College's Mackenzie St. Onge is flanked by teammates Catherine Berghuis, left, and Eleni Tebano while awaiting a faceoff Tuesday against visiting Providence. The Big Green rallied for a 3-2, nonconference victory with three goals during the third period.<br/>Valley News - Tris Wykes
  • Dartmouth College goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft and Providence forward Beth Hanrahan watch a shot carom off the netminder's pads Tuesday during the Big Green's 3-2, nonconference victory at Thompson Arena. Holdcroft made 28 saves to win her 50th college game.<br/>Valley News - Tris Wykes

Hanover — To label what transpired during the Dartmouth College women’s hockey team’s 3-2 defeat of Providence on Tuesday as merely a comeback seems inadequate. So bad was the Big Green during the first period that the uninformed would have been forgiven for thinking the Friars were facing a high school squad. And maybe a junior varsity at that.

The visitors took the game’s first nine shots and 11 of 15 during the opening stanza. They hit two posts, and Providence’s Beth Hanrahan somehow shot the puck over a wide-open net with Dartmouth goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft stuck on the ice at the opposite post.

At times the action looked like a series of unsuccessful breakout drills, with the Big Green pinned in its own end. The hosts somehow escaped to the locker room down only 1-0.

“That first 10 or 11 minutes was the worst we’ve played all season,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak, whose team is 3-11. “Our effort just wasn’t there. I went in (to the locker room) after the first period and told them I couldn’t even begin to know what to change tactically, because we weren’t doing anything.”

Dartmouth upped its competitiveness during the second period, despite falling behind 2-0. Then the final stanza arrived and a completely different team emerged on the home bench, snapping a five-game losing streak and winning for the first time in seven instances this season when it’s trailed after 40 minutes.

“I think the game turned right off the opening faceoff of the third period,” said Providence coach Bob Deraney, whose 7-12 team lost for the first time in five games this season when it has led after two periods. “You could tell they were coming out loaded for bear, and they just out-competed us in that period.

“We’d had the momentum, but we couldn’t get it back. We needed to cash in early (in the game), because we’re not good enough that we have a large margin for error.”

Big Green forward Karlee Odland got things started when she drove hard to the net and drew a tripping penalty after 10 seconds. Teammate Kennedy Ottenbreit needed only 22 seconds of the ensuing power play to score, approaching the net from a sharp angle and roofing a shot past goaltender Sarah Bryant.

“After that we knew (winning) was possible, and the floodgates opened,” Dartmouth forward Ali Winkel said.

Seven minutes later, a shot from the point by Dartmouth defenseman Zoe Brennan deflected off a Providence player and over the shoulder of a screened Bryant, who never moved until the puck had bounced out of the netting and back into the crease. Five minutes after that, Odland drove up one side of the Friars’ zone and threw a backhand shot off Bryant that Winkel popped home at the far post.

“I just kind of hit it towards the net and hoped for the best,” said Winkel, whose team began Tuesday averaging barely more than a goal per game and having scored three in a single contest only once. “Getting three goals in the third period is amazing, and it shows what can happen when we all give 110 percent. We started making good passes, and (Providence) just kind of shut down.”

The rally gives Dartmouth a boost after a dreadful first half of its season, but the fact remains that the Big Green faces a stiff challenge in trying to earn one of eight playoff berths in the 12-team ECAC. Should the team continue on its current pace, it would post the fewest victories in the program’s 37-year history. The first varsity squad went 7-7-1 in 1977-78.

“We have to reflect and learn from our mistakes, but it’s also kind of the start of a new season, and hopefully things will work out better for us during it,” Winkel said.

Notes: Holdcroft made 28 saves in earning her 50th college victory and becoming the fifth Big Green netminder to reach that number. … Hudak has 199 victories behind the bench and will go for 200 when his team visits No. 8 Boston University (14-3-1) on Saturday. The Terriers have four players who will compete for Canada at the upcoming Winter Olympics. … Winkel’s goal was her second this season and the second winning tally of the senior co-captain’s career. … Providence’s first goal was scored after 18 seconds by Molly Illikainen, whose sister, Dartmouth defenseman Morgan Illikainen, was on the ice at the time. .

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