DURHAM, NH – Contrary to Friday’s game against Boston College, goals were ready and available early in the first period for the UNH men’s hockey team (4-2-1, 2-1). Just 23 seconds into the game, sophomore forward Angus Crookshank netted the opening goal after a deep shot from junior forward Charlie Kelleher deflected off the Dartmouth goalie’s pad into Crookshank’s stick. Crookshank proceeded to score on a practically wide-open net.
Soon after, Dartmouth tied the game without the referees realizing. Senior forward Ryan Blankenmeier netted one after a scrum in front of the net. Despite Dartmouth celebrating and UNH sulking, play continued until the refs took a moment to review the play during a timeout.
Neither team was hesitant on the physicality front, with both teams dishing out crushing hits. UNH junior forward Kohei Sato was on the receiving end of two different blows, the second of which kept him lying on the ice for about 10 seconds. Thankfully Sato returned to the ice a few minutes after being evaluated by UNH’s medical staff. On that play Dartmouth was charged with a holding and boarding penalty, making for a 5 on 3 opportunity.
Late in the 5 on 3 power play, junior forward Patrick Grasso sent a slap shot from in front of the net past the Dartmouth goalie. The goal happened after a full minute of UNH passing the puck around, patiently waiting for the right opportunity.
The celebration was short lived as Dartmouth retaliated with a goal seconds later. Junior center Matt Baker sent a tip into the net following a bunching in front of the net. Taylor’s vision was affected by the multitude of bodies in front of the net, similar to the first goal.
Dartmouth began to take control of the game in the second period, extending the lead to 4-2 and winning the shots battle 13-9.
Sophomore forward Jeff Losurdo scored on a Dartmouth power play, ripping one from the right faceoff circle.
Soon after, Baker scored his second goal of the game. He deflected a slap shot from defenseman Brendan Demler off of Taylor’s shoulder and into the net.
Ty Taylor settled down in the third period, preventing the Big Green from extending their lead late.
Late in the period, UNH head coach Mike Souza decided to pull Taylor for an extra attacker. Things kept rolling after Dartmouth’s captain, Demler, was charged with his third penalty of the game. The ‘Cats took advantage of the six on four chance, with Max Gildon scoring the equalizing goal.
Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet was not worried about his team’s issues with penalties, as this was their second game of the season. “We’re playing a team that’s played seven games while we are in our second… If you check back on our statistics we are at, or near the bottom in the country in penalties over the last two years. Tonight, I thought we played really well, but we got hurt by penalties.”
The Big Green had a total of eight power plays against them. UNH scored on three of them.
Seconds later, fans thought the deficit had been eclipsed. Liam Blackburn netted a goal from directly in front of the net, but the call was overturned because Dartmouth’s goalie was prevented from being able to reestablish his position in the net.
Once overtime hit, the nightmare continued as Dartmouth was charged with two consecutive penalties setting up a five-on-three power play in UNH’s favor. Kelleher took advantage of the mistake and five-holed the Dartmouth goalie for his second game winner of the season. Kelleher commented postgame on his late game heroics. “It’s just being in the right place at the right time, and I was lucky enough to put it in.”
The Wildcats continue play next weekend as #2 UMass travels to Durham, N.H. for a 1:00 p.m. bid on Sunday, Nov. 10.