HANOVER, N.H. - Tenth-ranked Dartmouth College used a pair of first period goals to power past the second-ranked University of New Hampshire men's hockey team, 4-1, on Sunday night in the opening round of the Ledyard National Bank Classic at Dartmouth College.
UNH is now 11-3-2, while the Big Green improve to 8-2-2 on the season. The Wildcats will face Bemidji State in the third-place game of the tournament at 4 p.m. tomorrow, while Dartmouth will play UMass at 7 p.m. in the title game. UMass captured a 4-3 win over the Beavers in the opening round.
Dartmouth struck first with a pair of first-period goals. The first by Nick Bligh at 6:05 with assists from Jack Barre and Rick Pinkston. The Big Green doubled its leads as Ryan Bullock scored at 11:19 with helpers from Brett Patterson and Mike Keenan. It marked the first collegiate goals for both Bligh and Bullock. Dartmouth held a 15-8 shot advantage in the period.
UNH cut into the lead just 46 seconds into the second period as Austin Block (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) scored on the backhander with an assist from Grayson Downing (Abbottsford, British Columbia). The Big Green regained its two-goal lead with a power play goal at 12:19 of the frame. Tyler Sikura scored with assists from Andy Simpson and Matt Lindblad. The power play goal snapped a string of 36-straight successful kills, which dated back to Nov. 2 against Massachusetts.
UNH had a better of play throughout the third period, but Dartmouth scored the lone goal in the empty net at 18:44 of the frame. Brandon McNally scored with a helper from Taylor Boldt. The Wildcats held a commanding 15-5 shot edge in the period for a 32-31 advantage for the game.
Casey DeSmith (Rochester, N.H.) stopped 27-of-31 shots, while Cab Morris made 31 saves for the Big Green. Morris improves to 5-1-1, while DeSmith is now 10-3-2.
The Big Green was 1-4 on the power play, while UNH was 0-2 in its extra-skater opportunities.
UNH returns to action Dec. 31 against Bemidji State (4 p.m.). The Wildcats next home game is Jan. 5 against RPI. Puck drops at 7 p.m. at the Whittemore Center with TV coverage on WBIN-TV and FOX College Sports. For tickets, visit www.unhwildcats.com or call (603) 862-4000, extension 5.