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Big Green takes Game 1 of ECAC quarterfinals



Valley News Staff Writer
Friday, March 08, 2019

HANOVER — The Dartmouth College men’s hockey team moved within a victory of advancing to the ECAC quarterfinals on Friday, defeating St. Lawrence, 3-2, in the first meeting of a best-of-three first-round series at Thompson Arena. The teams meet there again Saturday and in a third game, if necessary, on Sunday.

Dartmouth (12-14-4), which beat the Saints (5-28-2) in a first-round series last season, is the 12-team ECAC’s fifth-seeded team. St. Lawrence is the 12th-seeded school. A Big Green victory in the series would send it on to play another best-of-three series at fourth-seeded Harvard in the quarterfinal round.

“It was a good battle,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. “It wasn’t a game with a lot of flow, but we got a lead and held onto it, so it’s a good first playoff game.”

St. Lawrence surrendered Friday’s first six shots but opened the scoring during the seventh minute and on its first attempt. Ryan Garvey beat goaltender Adrian Clark with a quick shot from the lower left slot off a rush into the Big Green zone.

Dartmouth answered three minutes later when Quin Foreman lofted a pass out of the left corner and over goalie Emil Zetterquist’s glove and a defender’s stick. Drew O’Connor put the puck home at the right post.

“I was trying to stay by the net and not skate past the post, because I know Quin’s good at getting pucks through,” O’Connor said.

A 20-year old freshman, O’Connor was only 5-foot-10 when initially recruited by Dartmouth assistant John Rose. He’s grown nearly 5 inches since then but retained his agility and hand-eye coordination.

O’Connor has four goals in his last three games and is tied for the national freshman scoring lead with 14. He’s leading the Big Green with 23 points, a feat never done by a freshman in more than two decades.

“He’s a deceptively good skater who, when he gets going, he glides faster than other people skate,” Gaudet said. “He’s got great hands and can shoot it, and he’s got a scoring knack. I think he’s one of the top freshmen in the country, whether he’s recognized that way or not. I think he’s still a bit of an unknown quantity to other people.

“He’s had a growth spurt and sometimes kids get awkward after that, but he hasn’t. He didn’t get quite as much ice time early on because of his defense, but I like the progress he’s made.”

Said O’Connor: “You have to make sure you know where your guy and the puck are at all times. A couple times early in the year, he got away from me, and I tried to learn from that.”

Foreman created a 2-1 lead with five minutes remaining in the first period when he flipped the rebound of a Will Graber shot from the high slot under the crossbar, just seconds into a power play created by a Jacob Nielsen high-sticking penalty.

Dartmouth went ahead, 3-1, four minutes into the second period. Collin Rutherford blew up the right side and fired a wrist shot over Zetterquist’s glove and inside the near post. St. Lawrence’s Dylan Woolf made it 3-2 midway through the stanza when he curled out from behind the net and fired a shot from Clark’s blocker side that trickled off the netminder and across the line. Shots at that point were 23-7, Big Green, and finished 36-16.

Notes: Attendance was announced at 916. … A life celebration of former Dartmouth men’s and women’s coach George Crowe, who died in January, is scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 20 at Rollins Chapel. A reception will follow at Hopkins Center. Memorial contributions can be made at georgecrowememorial.com, aiding those who pursue ice hockey. … Visiting Thompson Arena before the game was former U.S. Olympic and New York Rangers goaltender Mike Richter, who now owns a lighting company. He was assessing the building’s lighting system, which may be replaced for next season. … Working as a color commentator for St. Lawerence’s radio broadcast was former Saints men’s coach and Dartmouth women’s interim coach Joe Marsh. Bolstering his man-of-the-people reputation, Marsh spent time kibitzing with the ice maintenance crew before the game. … The Saints started both their Swedish players, Zetterquist and defenseman Philip Alftberg. … St. Lawrence sophomore forward Keenan Suthers is 6-foot-8, meaning he approaches 7 feet in skates. … The Saints have 21 freshmen and sophomores on their 28-man roster. … Dartmouth committed no penalties… The Big Green has won consecutive games for only the second time this season. … If St. Lawrence loses the series, it will set a record for losses in a season by an ECAC team with 29. … Foreman has two points in each of his last three games.

Tris Wykes can be reached at twykes@vnews.com.