Women’s Hockey: Big Green Drops Fourth in Row
Dartmouth's Lindsey Allen takes a shot on goal ahead of St. Lawrence's Jenna Marks in the second period of St. Lawrence at Dartmouth women's hockey at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., on February 14, 2014. Allen missed the shot. (Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
From top, Mackenzie Liu, 9, Jackson Liu, 11, and Ellis DeMars, 10, all of Norwich, Vt., touch hands with Dartmouth's Robyn Chemago before the start of the third period during St. Lawrence at Dartmouth women's hockey at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H., on February 14, 2014.(Valley News - Will Parson) Purchase photo reprints »
Hanover — Push is coming to shove for the Dartmouth College women’s hockey team and the Big Green is stumbling. Friday night’s 4-1 loss to visiting St. Lawrence was Dartmouth’s fourth consecutive setback, a streak that seems likely to stretch to five today, when No. 5 Clarkson invades Thompson Arena.
With three games remaining on its regular-season schedule, the Big Green sits ninth in the 12-team ECAC, which awards postseason berths to its top eight finishers. Dartmouth trails eighth-place Rensselaer by a point and finishes its slate next weekend, with games at seventh-place Yale and 11th-place Brown.
The Engineers, against whom the Big Green holds a tiebreaking advantage because of a season sweep against them, face an even tougher road: hosting No. 3 Cornell today and finishing next weekend at Clarkson and fifth-place St. Lawrence.
“We don’t know where we’re going to end up,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak, whose team fell to 7-17-1 overall and 6-12-1 in ECAC play. “This could very well go down to the last weekend, so tonight’s result was a bummer.”
Dartmouth opened the scoring during the 16th minute on Devon Moir’s rebound goal, the first tally of the freshman’s college career. St. Lawrence (11-16-3, 10-6-3) forged a 1-1 tie just a minute later, however, then struck again in the second period and twice in the final stanza.
The hosts held a 32-21 shot advantage, but many of the chances came from sharp angles or a distance. Saints goaltender Carmen MacDonald was outstanding, often flashing her trapper to make save after save.
“She does tend to give up some rebounds with her blocker and (her torso) but she does a really good job down low and with her glove,” Hudak said. “We didn’t want to shoot that high, but we kept putting it in her glove.
“We outshot them and I think the scoring chances were pretty even, but we just couldn’t score.”
Laura Stacey, Dartmouth’s leading scorer, won a faceoff to earn an assist on Moir’s goal. However, she failed to tally for a second consecutive contest and repeatedly hung onto the puck for several seconds before shooting, drawing defenders to her in clusters.
“She puts a lot of pressure on herself,” Hudak said of the sophomore, who hurt a knee earlier this season. “She’s thinking she has to do more out there and she’s trying to do a little too much. She just has to simplify her game and let the puck do a little bit more of the work.”
St. Lawrence coach Chris Wells said that despite a pair of 4-1 victories over Dartmouth this winter, he doesn’t consider his team six goals better than the Big Green.
“They had just as many chances tonight, but they’re a little snakebit,” Wells said. “They have a couple of kids in Stacey and (Lindsey) Allen, who nobody in the league can catch when they get their speed going. We couldn’t stay with them, but we did a good job of meeting them at the place where they were going.”
Should Dartmouth miss the playoffs, it would be the second time in the last four years, an unusual bad stretch for a proud program. In the previous 20 seasons, the Big Green has reached the playoffs 19 times. The 2009-10 season was the only exception.
Hudak has taken the team to the ECAC title game four times, winning it twice. The 11th-year head coach has also guided the Big Green to the national semifinals twice.
He was an assistant for five years at Dartmouth under previous head coach Judy Parish Oberting, when they combined to lead the program to a 114-40-8 record, a .728 winning percentage, two Ivy League titles, two ECAC titles and three appearances in the national semifinals.
During Hudak’s first four seasons, Dartmouth was 90-34-8, with a .682 winning percentage. During the seven subsequent seasons, the Big Green is 113-82-20, for a .526 winning percentage.
Notes: Hudak said Karlee Odland, the team’s second-leading scorer, will not return to school this term after missing more than a week of classes and midterm exams because of her father’s recent death in an automobile accident. “She’ll come back in the spring, but her deans and professor said it would be hard for her to make up the work, especially given how she’s feeling,” the coach said. … Dartmouth played without assistant Holley Tyng, whom Hudak said was recruiting at a tournament in the Washington, D.C., area. … St. Lawrence’s roster includes players from California, Oklahoma and Italy. … Attendance was announced at 624, but appeared less than half that number.
Tris Wykes can be reached at email@example.com or 603-727-3227.