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Terriers Have More Bite Than Big Green

Sunday, November 30, 2014
Hanover — The Dartmouth College women’s hockey team absorbed a few more bites than it delivered Saturday, losing a dog fight to Boston University. The teams combined for 12 penalties, among them hitting from behind, boarding, roughing and diving during the Terriers’ 4-2 triumph.

The visitors, ranked fifth in the country, led, 4-0, before Dartmouth scored twice during the final 17 minutes.

“It was a very physical game,” Big Green coach Mark Hudak said. “I was a little surprised at how much they allowed both teams to do. Against a team like that, the box is not a good place to be, but I was pretty happy with how our penalty kill played.”

Dartmouth allowed the Terriers one goal in five power-play chances, while earning both of its tallies with an opponent in the sin bin. Boston University’s shot advantage was only 25-23, but there wasn’t much doubt which was the better team. Still, Hudak wasn’t distressed. The contest was the Big Green’s first in two weeks and after the fall term’s final exams.

“I don’t think we played great today, but I wasn’t really disappointed,” said Hudak, whose team was playing its seventh game of the season against a foe playing its 15th. “I’m looking forward to the Harvard game on Tuesday to see where we’re really at.”

Boston University opened the scoring in the sixth minute, the tally coming from star forward Marie-Philip Poulin. The senior scored the tying and winning goals for Canada earlier this year in the Olympic title game and notched this one even as she tumbled over sophomore goaltender Robin Chemago in the crease.

The Terriers (10-3-2) doubled their lead five minutes later when an unguarded Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga took a pass from the right side and cruised down the slot before beating a defenseless Chemago.

Sarah Lefort gave the visitors a 3-0 advantage midway through the second period, sending a shot past Chemago on a rush up the left side and off a Poulin pass. Poulin pushed her team’s lead to 4-0 on a power play goal two minutes into the third. The Quebec native finished a series of tic-tac-toe passes with a high snap shot over Chemago, who had dropped to her knees earlier in the sequence.

Dartmouth began making the score more respectable a minute later when Lindsey Allen tipped in a center-point slap shot by Laura Stacey during a power play. Stacey put up the afternoon’s last marker herself, cranking home a one-time slap shot with three minutes remaining from the left circle and on another man advantage.

The result was Dartmouth’s third consecutive setback after beginning the season 4-0, but Hudak pointed out that the level of competition has risen significantly. New Hampshire, Union and Rensselaer, the campaign’s first three opponents, began the weekend a combined 5-30-5. St. Lawrence, Clarkson and Boston University were 18-12-5.

After visiting Harvard on Tuesday, the Big Green hosts ECAC leader Quinnipiac on Friday and Ivy League foe Princeton on Saturday. It also faces Hockey East leader Boston College and Vermont before Christmas. That’s a tough slate, but Hudak feels this season’s team is better equipped than last season’s edition, which was 2-11 before breaking for the holidays.

“We’re light years ahead of where we were last year,” he said. “Our understanding of our systems and our competitiveness and consistency are better. We’ve had one- and two-goal losses to some of the best teams in the country. We just have to find a way to score a little bit more against them.”

The offense could get a boost Tuesday, when captain Karlee Odland is expected back from a shoulder injury suffered Nov. 14. The senior has two goals and three assists in five games.

The defense, however, is hurting. Senior Morgan Illikainen played Saturday with a cast on a recently-dislocated thumb and freshman Hailey Noronha left the game in the third period and didn’t return after absorbing an unpenalized body check in front of the Terriers’ bench.

Notes: Each team’s roster features 12 Canadians and each squad has two members who played at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, the Minnesota private school powerhouse widely known as the former home of NHL superstar Sydney Crosby. … Boston University leads the teams’ series, 2-1-1. … Chemago has started every game for Dartmouth, which lost four-year starter Lindsay Holdcroft to graduation. The Slave Lake, Alberta, native has a 1.87 goals-against average and a .922 save percentage after playing just four games as a freshman.

Tris Wykes can be reached at or 603-727-3227.

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