Big Green upset bid falls short vs RPI

  • Dartmouth had a 3-1 lead going into the final period of Game 3 of its playoff serioes against RPI but couldn’t hold on for the win. the troy record — joe boyle

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 3/6/2022 8:41:00 PM
Modified: 3/6/2022 8:40:25 PM

TROY, N.Y. — The Big Green sat 20 minutes away from their first postseason series victory since 2018, and the momentum, insofar as it exists, was fully on the Dartmouth College men’s hockey team’s side.

But for the second time in 10 days, the No. 11 seed Big Green squandered a two-goal lead at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Houston Field House. Sunday’s 5-3 defeat in Game 3 of the ECAC Tournament first round ended Dartmouth’s season.

“We were in a pretty good place, but ultimately they made some plays down the stretch, and we started pressing,” Big Green first-year head coach Reid Cashman said. “We exposed ourselves.”

Dartmouth (7-22-3) led 3-1 after two periods before the Engineers caught fire in the third. All five of No. 6 seed RPI’s goals came on special teams — the Engineers were 4-for-5 on the power play, which included a late empty-netter, and were shorthanded when they scored the equalizing goal with eight minutes left.

RPI took the lead for the first time with four minutes to go, and the Big Green could not muster much offense down the stretch.

The Engineers were the aggressors early on, putting four shots on net in the first 90 seconds, but sophomore goaltender Clay Stevenson stood tall for Dartmouth, making 14 of his 25 saves in the first period. The Big Green took the lead out of nowhere on a breakaway, with freshman Matt Hubbarde picking up a loose puck near center ice and stick-handling past a pair of defenders, then firing a wrist shot into the net for the opening period’s only goal.

Dartmouth was the dominant team in the second, and the Big Green doubled their lead when sophomore Ryan Sorkin put home a rebound eight minutes into the middle stanza. Then, after RPI pulled one back on its first power play, Dartmouth got a power play goal of its own with five seconds left in the period.

Freshman Sean Chisholm was going to the ground as he released the puck, but his pass still found freshman Braiden Dorfman, who restored the Big Green’s two-goal advantage. Another freshman, Ian Pierce, also assisted on the play, so underclassmen were responsible for eight of Dartmouth’s nine points on the afternoon.

“When our team plays well, we’re pressuring, and we’re able to roll our four lines over,” Cashman said. “But to win a series, you have to play 60 minutes, and as a group, we weren’t able to do that.”

The Big Green had a 9-3 edge in shots in the second and asserted themselves in the face-off circle, winning 41 draws for the game to the Engineers’ 25.

But just as they did in the teams’ regular-season meeting in Troy on Feb. 25, when RPI scored four times in the third to win 6-3, things broke down for Dartmouth late.

On Friday night, senior Jeff Losurdo’s goal with three minutes to play gave the Big Green a 3-2 win in Game 1.

Dartmouth never led in Saturday night’s 3-2 loss in Game 2, but had multiple chances to equalize in the final seconds.

It’s the end of the line for the Big Green’s five seniors — Losurdo, Sam Hesler, Erik Urbank, Justin Ferguson and captain Harrison Markell.

“We competed every night, and I’m really proud of that,” Cashman said. “Considering the youth of our team, and this group that went through a coaching change and went through a pandemic, and the inexperience we had, I look back and think this group laid the groundwork for future success with Dartmouth hockey.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at brosenberg@vnews.com or 603-727-3302.




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