Hanover, NH- Providence College entered the season with National Championship aspirations. With only a few bumps along the road, namely a sweep by Massachusetts, the Friars have played up to expectations. The Friars added fuel to their expectations with a strong performance against the Dartmouth Big Green to win the 30th annual Ledyard Classic
Jack Dugan started the proceedings by driving and scoring on Adrian Clark, tumbling into the net after the puck. PC held their lead despite Dartmouth tilting the ice in their favor for much of the period. That changed when Davis Bunz took a cross-checking minor. Alex Jasiek found a loose puck in front and cleaned it up for Dartmouth’s first power play goal in eleven games. Later in the frame, Connor Yau called for the puck in the high slot. He got it and fired a puck through Hayden Hawkey for a 2-1 Dartmouth lead before intermission.
The Friars offered one of college hockey’s best offensive displays in the second period. At the 4:04 mark, BU transfer Johnny McDermott and Ryan Tait drove the Dartmouth zone shorthanded. Tait cleaned up McDermott’s shot and tied the game 2-2. Nine seconds later, Scott Conway bagged another Friar goal to claim the lead permanently. The onslaught continued with a Vimal Sukumaran punch in on a power play 2:21 later. And to cap the explosion, Conway scored his third goal of the weekend 1:16 after the last goal. PC scored four goals in 3:46 of game time to take a 5-2 lead into the intermission.
Dartmouth took charge of the third period’s pace, but Hayden Hawkey was in command most of the frame. The only lapse was a Will Graber goal that came with 1:27 left to cut the lead down. Otherwise, Hawkey made 13 of his 30 saves in the third period, including a save of the year candidate diving to his right to stop a perfectly executed backdoor shot by Quin Foreman. PC ran out the clock and secured a 5-3 victory for their first Ledyard Classic trophy in their fifth trip to Hanover for one of college hockey’s best traditions.
The All-Tournament Team included Brown’s Joachim Weberg, Dartmouth’s Alex Jasiek and Carl Hesler, and Providence’s Josh Wilkins and Brandon Duhaime. Hayden Hawkey was the All-Tournament goalie, and Scott Conway’s three-goal weekend earned him Tournament MVP honors.
Dartmouth Head Coach Bob Gaudet was disappointed after the game, but hopeful for the future.
“I wish we had a better non-league record, but my hope is that we can take a lesson from this and be ready for League play,” Gaudet said. “I love the fight, and I love the fact that we played fifty-some-odd minutes of very very strong hockey.”
The Big Green fall to 5-7-1 and have not won the Ledyard since the 2015-2016 edition. Dartmouth plays one non-conference game next weekend before returning to ECAC play. They’ll travel to Waltham, MA, for their first visit to the Bentley Arena to play the Falcons. Puck drop is at 7:05. The following weekend is a road trip to Quinnipiac and Princeton. Puck drops at 7 on both nights.
Providence Head Coach Nate Leaman was highly complimentary of the tournament and happy with his team.
“This is one of the best tournaments we’ve been to,” Leaman said. “Starting with the banquet, it’s been a great experience for our team. We knew that this was going to be a real tough game tonight, playing Dartmouth in their building in the championship game. It’s a really good win for our team.”
The Friars improve to 11-4-3. Saturday night’s game was the first time all season Providence was outshot, 33-27. PC returns to Schnieder Arena for a two-game set against Miami (OH) next weekend. Puck drops on Friday and Saturday night against the Redhawks.