Clear
54°
Clear
Hi 76° | Lo 60°

Men’s Hockey Floundering

Dartmouth College men's hockey coach Bob Gaudet, center, was not a happy man during the third period of last Saturday's loss to visiting St. Lawrence. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

Dartmouth College men's hockey coach Bob Gaudet, center, was not a happy man during the third period of last Saturday's loss to visiting St. Lawrence. (Valley News - Tris Wykes)

What in the world is wrong with Dartmouth College men’s hockey? I’ve heard that question nonstop in the last week and it’s certainly valid.

If coach Bob Gaudet and his players knew the answer, they wouldn’t be 0-6 overall and 0-4 in ECAC play, the program’s worst start since the 1983-84 season. That was back in the days when Dartmouth was the laughingstock of NCAA Division I, as exhibited by the 1986-87 team’s 0-17-1 start, which has to be one of the worst in the history of the sport at this level.

I was a teenager attending games in Thompson Arena back then, and the current Big Green team is infinitely more talented than those sorry predecessors. Dartmouth will undoubtably right the ship at some point, but with every loss, the hope of returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the 1980-81 season fades even more.

Of all the Division I teams to ever make the national postseason, Dartmouth has the longest drought among them. Gaudet, the goaltender on back-to-back NCAA semifinal squads in 1979 and 1980, has long been considered untouchable in terms of job security, but his teams are a combined 83-97-22 the past seven seasons, even as numerous Big Green players ascend to the NHL.

The Big Green visits Princeton (1-5, 0-4) and Quinnipiac (9-1-1, 3-0-1), last season’s national runner-up, this weekend. Then it’s home to face Harvard and back on the road to play Yale, Brown and Union before Christmas. A year ago, Dartmouth was climbing towards what would become a No. 8 national ranking and growing excitement around the program. Times have changed, and quickly.