MANCHESTER, N.H.– Last year, UNH’s Paul Thompson scored two goals to bring his team to a 5-2 victory at the annual Riverstone Cup.
Now, a year later, the Wildcats had another two-goal scorer, John Henrion, but the result was a bit different: Dartmouth took the 5-4 win this time, and in dramatic fashion.
The Riverstone Cup is an annual event that has determined “the best” in New Hampshire collegiate hockey, and every year provides something different, yet exciting every time–including this year’s version.
Nevermind the fact that UNH and Dartmouth went back and forth in scoring, leaving no room for guessing or speculation on who was going to win, neither team was ever counted out until the last second of play. However, the Wildcats had to play a lot of catch up during the game, which ultimately became their demise. It seemed like every goal UNH mustered to tie the game up, Dartmouth answered with another goal of its own.
The third period especially was hard to determine who had the momentum shift, just because no one could hold a lead of any kind, and it too the last minute and change for someone to pull the plug.
“It was a great game,“ Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “One of those up and down battles until the very end. Even from the bench it was an exciting game. There was lot of energy on both sides. They have a heck of a good team and we like our team a lot too, so I thought it was a really good game.”
With the excitement and drama that filled the arena, there was also a lot of concern and doubt for a number of different calls.
In the third period, both Dartmouth and UNH had questionable calls that they hoped would be reviewed, but, as it was pointed out by both coaches, there was no instant replay that could be used.
One call in particular came at a crucial time in the game. With less than two minutes to go in the third period, Dartmouth’s Doug Jones tipped in the game winning goal, with a stick that was off the ice and above the waist. The high stick wasn’t called on the ice, and they couldn’t go back to review it. UNH head coach Dick Umile stood livid after the game talking with the referees, but besides a head full of steam and a loss for the team, there was nothing that could be done about the call.
“It was about a high stick but we don’t have replay here,” Umile said. “That was what the discussion was. And they can’t use the video board. It would be nice.”
Again, another instance in in the third period that could have used the instant replay capabilities was a tough one for Dartmouth to swallow. The referee had waived off what could have been a goal early on to give the Big Green a 4-3 lead. Though they ended up scoring a couple minutes after the incident, the puck seemed to go in an out of the top corner. Players started celebrating, but in the end, there was no way to capture what happened, so it was simply ruled a “no goal.”
“We thought that the puck may have gone in for us, but it’s just one of those things you don’t have video replay so it is what it is,” Gaudet said. “We were arguing that the puck went in. With my eyes at 51, I can’t see it, but the younger guys on the ice felt that it was in. But it’s just part of the game, you just keep on playing.”
This marked the last non-conference game for the Wildcats this year, and the rest of the season will be focused on Hockey East. UNH finished 2-3-2 when playing non-Hockey East opponents.
Besides the however quirky aspects of the game, it was a hard fought game for both teams.
“It was a hockey game that we thought it was going to be,” Umile said. “Two teams going back and forth all night. Got us at the end. “