For the second straight night, Union had at least 40 shots on goal.
And for a second night in a row, an opposing goalie frustrated the Dutchmen.
Friday night, it was Harvard’s Ryan Carroll making 47 saves in a 4-1 Crimson win. Saturday, it was Dartmouth’s James Mello who turned aside the Dutchmen. He stopped 39 shots, leading the Big Green to a 3-1 upset of the ECAC Hockey-leading and 13th-ranked Dutchmen at Messa Rink.
Despite the loss, the Dutchmen (7-2-3 ECACH, 13-6-5 overall) remain in first place, one point ahead of Cornell, St. Lawrence and Yale. St. Lawrence beat Yale, 4-2, while Cornell lost a 3-1 non-league decision to North Dakota. Union and Yale meet Friday night in New Haven, Conn.
“It’s tough dropping our first two league games,” Union co-captain Brock Matheson said. “At the same time, it’s a good reality check for us. It’s a good reminder that we have to show up every night.”
Carroll and Mello combined to stop 86 of 88 shots for a .977 save percentage. That put a sudden speed bump into what has been a remarkable season for the Dutchmen, who have lost two straight for just the second time this season.
“It’s frustrating,” said forward Adam Presizniuk, who scored the Dutchmen’s lone goal with 9:27 left in the third period. “But a lot of the shots the goalies were seeing this weekend [were from the outside]. We’ve got to get guys to the net and create second chances. In the third period tonight, we did a better job to create some havoc and get some chances. But overall, I didn’t think we did a good job this weekend.”
Union coach Nate Leaman isn’t concerned about the team getting the number of shots on goal it did this weekend. But the Dutchmen need to do a better of job of making the shots count.
“We’re getting quality scoring opportunities, but we’re not burying our chances right now,” Leaman said.
Mello, a sophomore, was making just his third career start. He started Friday’s game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and made 19 saves in a 2-1 loss.
Mello was particularly outstanding in the third period against Union as he protected Dartmouth’s 3-0 lead. He stopped 15 shots in the third. His best save of the period came with 13:27 left, when he went down to make a glove save on a Jason Walters slap shot from the slot.
“He played terrific tonight, even in the third period,” Leaman said. “I thought we had a great third period. It’s definitely what we want to see at home, to go out and work to win the third period. He stood tall. A lot of pucks on the goal line. He found ways to save it.”
The Big Green (3-9, 5-14) took a 1-0 lead on right-point drive by Joe Stejskal over goalie Corey Milan’s glove at 7:46 of the first period.
Milan didn’t come out to challenge the shot.
“It was a straight shot from the point,” said Leaman, who, when asked a follow-up question if Milan should have stopped it, didn’t comment.
Scott Fleming made it 2-0 at 7:43 of the second. He got away from the checking of Jason Walters in the slot and redirected a pass from Adam Estoclet, who was in the right corner, past Milan. Estoclet made it a three-goal lead on a power-play goal 27 seconds into the third period.
The loss will knock Union down in the national polls. But Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet, whose team snapped a four-game losing streak and entered the game 1-7 in the last eight, looks at the bigger picture with Union.
“I don’t think it hurts Union that much in the big scheme of things,” Gaudet said. “They’ve been cooking along real well.”
Dartmouth 1 1 1 — 3
Union 0 0 1 — 1
First Period — 1, Dartmouth, Stejskal 1 (Deeds, Jones), 7:46. Penalties — C. Goggin, Dar (boarding), 1:06; Cain, Uni (slashing), 3:36; Coburn, Uni (slashing), 8:36; Jo. Gaudet, Dar (holding), 12:48; Wakita, Uni (ob.-tripping), 17:12.
Second Period — 2, Dartmouth, Fleming 9 (Estoclet), 7:43. Penalties — M. Groggin, Dar (interference), 2:53; Welsh, Uni (interference), 10:00; Mello, Dar, served by Lee (slashing), 15:52; Jones, Dar (boarding), 17:26; Schreiber, Uni (hooking), 19:44.
Third Period — 3, Dartmouth, Estoclet 7 (Reber), :27 (pp). 4, Union, Presizniuk 8 (Walters, W. Simpson), 10:33. Penalties — Buote, Uni (cross-checking), 2:01; Lee, Dar (slashing), 11:04; Stephens, Dar (tripping), 11:38; Presizniuk, Uni (cross-checking), 11:38; Smith, Dar (roughing), 14:13; Bodie, Uni (roughing), 14:13.
Shots on Goal — Dartmouth 10-7-6 — 23. Union 11-13-16 — 40.
Power-play opportunities — Dartmouth 1 of 6; Union 0 of 6.
Goalies — Dartmouth, Mello 1-2-0 (40 shots-39 saves). Union, Milan 6-3-3 (23-20).
A — 2,096. T — 2:05.
Referees — John Murphy, Chip McDonald. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Glen Cooke.
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Categories: College Sports