Senior Kent Gillings tallied two goals and three assists to earn MVP honors and the marquee matchup of the Ledyard Bank/Auld Lang Syne tournament turned into a blowout win for host Dartmouth, as the Big Green skated past UMass-Lowell 10-2 at the Thompson Arena in front of 3,537.
Bridesmaids no more, the Big Green (8-4-0) had finished second the last four times they had hosted the Auld Lang Syne. The win also snapped a five-game streak the River Hawks had over the ECAC.
“It was one of those games that everything we touched, something positive happened,” said Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet. “Lowell has a good hockey team, I thought they played great last night. It was a big effort from our own guys, and it was good to win our own tournament.”
UMass-Lowell controlled the early momentum, but the course of the game changed dramatically when the Big Green exploded for three markers in less than three minutes.
Gillings skated into the River Hawk zone along the right side and fired a shot at net from the top of the faceoff circle that was easily saved by sophomore netminder Chris Davidson . Davidson was unable to control the rebound, though, and as senior Mike Murray drove through the slot he pushed the puck five-hole before Davidson could close the gap at 3:01.
A little over a minute later freshman Hugh Jessiman made a nice forehand-backhand-forehand move on the left side down low before lifting the puck into the net to make it 2-0.
Dartmouth capped off its scoring in the first frame with a power-play marker at 5:50. Jessiman took a shot from the slot that bounced off the leg pads of Davidson to waiting freshman Mike Ouellette on the left side. Ouellette cleaned up the mess before Davidson could recover.
The River Hawks made a change in net shortly after the third Big Green goal, opting for freshman Dominic Smart, who had posted a 17-save whitewash the night before against Vermont. Dartmouth took the 3-0 lead into the first intermission, with UML outshooting the Big Green 15-14.
The Big Green offensive machine continued to roll in the second period. At 4:37 sophomore Lee Stempniak sent a pass from the right corner to an unprotected Jessiman in the slot for a one-timer to make it 4-0.
Dartmouth increased its lead to 5-0 with Gillings’ first goal of the evening. Senior Trevor Byrne drove to the net from the right and tried to put the puck on net. Smart went into a double-pad stack to deny any shot, but slid too far away from the net. Byrne turned in the corner and fired a pass to Gillings in the slot, and Gillings made his attempt count at 12:39, a 4-on-4 marker.
UML finally broke onto the scoresheet at 12:51 with the first of two goals on the evening from senior Mark Concannon. Concannon found himself in the perfect position to poke in a rebound from the center of the Dartmouth zone, a 4-on-4 tally that made it 5-1.
The River Hawk goal didn’t seem to faze the Big Green offense, as Jessiman completed the hat trick at 13:53 when he drove to the UML net, fighting off a defender along the way and poking the puck past the right leg of Smart for the third 4-on-4 goal of the period and a 6-1 lead.
Gillings scored his second goal of the night and fourth of the weekend after stickhandling the puck in the slot and rifling a shot at net that beat Smart stick-side at 17:24. After the seventh goal, Davidson reappeared in net for the River Hawks.
Concannon capped off the scoring late in the period, lifting a wrist shot past senior Nick Boucher from the left faceoff circle at 19:52.
Dartmouth freshman Garret Overlock picked up his first collegiate goal at 10:21 of the third period to make it 8-2. Ouellette skated in with a defenseman on him and put a shot on net that Davidson went low to defend. The puck bounced in the opposite direction from Davidson, though, and Overlock handily lifted the puck into the open net.
Jessiman scored his fourth goal of the game at 13:39 with traffic in front of the net. Senior Pete Summerfelt found his name on the scoresheet at 16:47 to make it 10-2 Dartmouth.
Boucher stopped 34 shots in net for the Big Green, while Smart made 11 saves and allowed four goals and Davidson stopped nine attempts and allowed six markers. Dartmouth saw limited success on the power-play, going 1-for-5, while UML was unable to convert any of its six chances.
The ten goals were the most scored for Dartmouth since November 20, 1993, when it beat Vermont 11-4 at Thompson.
“The game started off really well, I thought our first couple of shifts carried over from last night’s success,” said head coach Blaise MacDonald. “Then we get a power play, we move it, we get some chances. At one point we’re outshooting them 4-0, and we give up a softy. At that point, we could just sense the momentum turn.
“It was a game where our good players played as bad as they could possibly play. Guys that we need making plays, our leaders, were terrible. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a team play as poorly defensively in their own zone as we did tonight. It was almost unexplainable, what happened out there.”
The all-tournament team consisted of Jessiman, Gillings, and Stempniak for the Big Green, freshman Andrew Martin from UML for the forwards, Notre Dame junior Brett Lebda on defense, and Boucher in goal.