Daniel Carr supplied the offense, Colin Stevens stopped all the shots and Union got a big penalty kill when it needed it the most.
Carr scored twice late in the third period, with one coming on a penalty shot, Stevens made 32 saves and outdueled Dartmouth netminder Charles Grant and the Dutchmen kill off a pair of concurrent minor penalties as they took a 3-0 victory over the Big Green in Game 1 of the ECAC Hockey tournament quarterfinals.
The top-seeded and third-ranked Dutchmen (25-6-4) can clinch a trip to Lake Placid for next weekend’s championship round with a win tonight at 7. If necessary, Game 3 is Sunday at 7 p.m.
Carr had been stopped twice in the first period on spectacular glove saves by Grant. With 2:37 left in the game, with Union clinging to a 1-0 lead thanks to a Michael Pontarelli power-play goal early in the second, Carr got a breakaway, was hauled down by Grant Opperman and was awarded the penalty shot.
Carr didn’t do anything fancy as he skated in on Grant. He simply fired a wrist shot past Grant’s stick side for Union’s first successful penalty shot since Glenn Sanders against Harvard on Jan. 4, 2003.
“[Grant] has a pretty quick glove,” said Carr, who scored an empty-net goal 1:11 later. “On the penalty shot, I saw him cheating a bit, and I just found a hole. I got the penalty shot because of a great play by Daniel Ciampini and Mike Vecchione to send me on that.”
Stevens made 32 saves to post his second straight shutout, and the team’s third consecutive blanking. It’s the first time in the program’s Division I history that Union has had three straight shutouts. Union has a shutout streak of 189 minutes, seven seconds. Stevens’ streak is 129:07.
His biggest save came on Eric Neiley during a Dartmouth power play in the third. Neiley was alone on the left wing when he one-timed a shot. Stevens was rapier-like with the glove save.
“I saw him over there,” said Stevens, whose sixth shutout of the year broke the team record of five he shared with Troy Grosenick and Kris Mayotte. “I read the play, and just tried to come out and challenge.”
Tenth-seeded Dartmouth (10-19-4) got that power play with 7:55 left when Shayne Gostisbehere was called for holding Tim O’Brien, followed by a roughing penalty on Vecchione for knocking him to the ice. At the time, Union was on a power play.
The Dutchmen successfully killed off both penalties.
“It’s huge,” said center Max Novak, who blocked a couple of shots during that penalty kill. “Any shot can go in [during] a 1-0 game, and they could have tied it up. For our penalty kill to be working like that was really big for us.”
It gave Union a big lift.
“Max, Charlie Vasaturo and Mat Bodie did an excellent job,” Carr said. “Mat was probably out there for 21⁄2 minutes. That was outstanding. There’s a reason he’s the captain. It’s for situations like that.”
For the game, they were 5-for-5 on the penalty kill.
Union center Eli Lichtenwald missed the game with what coach Rick Bennett said was a middle-body injury. Bennett said Lichtenwald’s status was “week-to-week, day-to-day, take your pick.”
Dartmouth 0 0 0 — 0
Union 0 1 2 — 3
First Period — None. Penalties — McNally, Dart (hooking), 7:18; Taylor, Uni (tripping), 8:54; Lovejoy, Dart (slashing), 10:55; Boldt, Dart (high-sticking), 14:05; McNally, Dart (boarding), 20:00.
Second Period — 1, Union, Pontarelli 10 (Vecchione, Gostisbehere). 1:12 (pp). Penalty — Roy, Uni (interference), 17:53.
Third Period — 2, Union, Carr 18 (penalty shot), 17:23. 3, Union, Carr 19 (Gostisbehere), 18:34 (en). Penalties — Vecchione, Uni (tripping), 6:11; Beamish, Dart (goaltender interference), 11:28; Gostisbehere, Uni (holding), 12:05; Vecchione, Uni (roughing), 12:05; Opperman, Dart (hooking), 17:23.
Shots on Goal — Dartmouth 6-15-11 — 32. Union 18-13-11 — 42.
Power-play opportunities — Dartmouth 0 of 5; Union 1 of 5.
Goalies — Dartmouth, Grant 9-12-3 (41 shots-39 saves). Union, Stevens 21-4-2 (32-32).
A — 2,054. T — 2:11.
Referees — Harry Dumas, Andy O’Brien. Linesmen — Jim Briggs, Joe Testa.