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Drop of the Hat(s): Senior’s Three-Goal Night Sparks Green in OT

Valley News Staff Writer
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Hanover — The first two hundred Dartmouth College students attending Friday night’s men’s hockey playoff game against visiting Colgate were handed gray winter hats with the program’s logo on them. Nearly three hours later, several of the lids were chucked onto the ice in celebration after Brad Schierhorn’s third goal of the night earned the Big Green a 3-2 overtime triumph and a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three first-round series.

Also heaved over the rink’s glass was the protective, plastic boot worn by injured Dartmouth defenseman Ryan Bullock, who’s limping around on crutches after suffering an injury last weekend. That too, was fitting, because the Big Green prevailed despite a shorthanded lineup caused by injury and suspension.

“Brad came up big for us and our kids were really resilient for us tonight,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, whose team can eliminate the Raiders and advance to the conference quarterfinals with a victory in Game 2 tonight. If necessary, the series’ third contest will begin at 5 p.m., Sunday. “He had a wide- open net and you worry the puck’s going to take a bounce on him or something but he shot it right in the middle.”

Schierhorn entered the night with just two goals in 29 previous games this season after notching 10 last winter. The senior team captain said after Friday’s contest that he’s only recently returned to full health after suffering an injury that affected his shot in early December.

The Alaskan has scored seven goals and added a pair of assists in nine first-round playoff games during his Dartmouth career.

“He’s a money guy who had a big night for us,” said Gaudet, whose team snapped a three-game losing streak.

The hosts played without suspended standout Corey Kalk, who tied for the ECAC lead in goals during February with six. Gaudet said he sat the sophomore for a violation of team rules and did not indicate whether the team’s fourth-leading scorer would return tonight.

Also out after the game’s second shift was leading scorer Jack Barre, who was driven into the boards and exited the arena with one arm in a sling.

“The guys really pulled together and played hard,” Gaudet said. “They had to be alert on the bench because they were playing with all sorts of different combinations, but all six guys in our end defended really fiercely. Alex Jasiek had a real big blocked shot in overtime that he got with his open hand.”

Schierhorn’s winner occurred 8 minutes, 59 seconds into extra time after a deflected Dartmouth shot popped over the Colgate net and landed behind it. Schierhorn cut around the cage to grab the rubber and curled out into the right corner, from where he fed Connor Yau at the opposite point. Yau’s subsequent slap shot deflected off a defender in the left circle and caromed directly to Schierhorn on the other side of the slot, from where he fired it home.

“I didn’t waste any time on that one,” Schierhorn said. “The net was wide open and I didn’t want to miss it. I don’t change my game in the playoffs or anything. Pucks just seem to find my stick then.”

Dartmouth (15-14-1) opened the scoring in the 11th minute, Schierhorn sweeping home the rebound of a Troy Crema shot off a rush into the zone. Schierhorn went airborne and slid into the left corner after having his legs cut out from under him by sprawling goaltender Charlie Finn.

Colgate (10-21-2) pulled even at 1-1 with seven minutes remaining in the second period. Tyson Spink passed out of the right corner to Tylor Spink charging through the far circle. He ripped a shot past nearby defender Tim Shoup, over goaltender James Kruger’s glove and inside the right post.

The Raiders went up, 2-1, two minutes before the second intermission. Emilio Audi flung a backhand shot out of the right corner that Kruger appeared to have jammed somewhere in his pads as he pushed himself against the near post. After a second or two, however, he made a scrambling motion and Colgate players celebrated as the puck dropped into net.

“I talked to him between periods to see if (Colgate) had taken a run at him and the goal wasn’t even a factor with him,” Gaudet said. “He never really gets rattled.”

The Big Green forged a 2-2 deadlock nine minutes into the third period. Schierhorn jumped on a loose puck outside the Colgate blue line and fed Bligh for a rush into the offensive zone through its right side. Bligh’s low shot was kicked out at the near post by Finn, but Schierhorn followed the play and chipped the rebound in from a sharp angle as he swung past the pole.

“Colgate is a hard team to play because they gum it up and they have some elite-level players,” Gaudet said. “We know we’re in for another tough game tonight.”

Notes: The last time a Dartmouth player notched a hat trick was Nick Walsh, who had three goals and an assist against Harvard on Nov. 27, 2010. The streak reached 188 games before being snapped. … Attendance was announced at 1,529. … Colgate is Dartmouth’s second most-frequent postseason opponent, having met the Big Green 12 times. Only Rensselaer has done so more often, at 15. … Dartmouth is 7-5 all time against Colgate in playoff action. … Colgate’s Tylor Spink has 14 points in 11 games against Dartmouth. … A camera crew spent much of a day in Hanover this week, preparing a segment on the Dartmouth program that will air on New England Sports Network on March 12. The piece is an episode in a show called Bruins Academy that examines New England college teams. Former Dartmouth and current Bruins player Lee Stempniak will also be featured that night.

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

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