Schenectady, NY – A late second period goal by Union‘s Sean Harrison proved to be the difference maker in a hard-fought 4-3 win over Dartmouth in front of 1,791 at Messa Rink. The junior’s snapshot with one-tenth of a second left on the clock gave the Dutchmen a commanding 4-1 lead heading into the final 20 minutes of play.
The visiting Big Green came alive in the third period to make it interesting after junior Quin Foreman scored twice in four and a half minutes to make the Union fans sweat out the final seven minutes of play. Freshman goalie Josh Graziano (20 saves) earned the win in his first NCAA start.
Three first period penalties on Dartmouth kept the Big Green from getting into a rhythm. A Tripping call on defenseman Tanner Palocsik at 1:17 set the tone. The Big Green penalty kill was able to keep the Dutchmen attack to the perimeter while blocking shots.
Anthony Rinaldi caught a cross ice feed from Parker Foo in front of an empty Dartmouth net but goalie Adrian Clark slid off his post to rob Rinaldi’s bid.
Shortly after that Vas Kolias hit the post on a shot that beat Clark.
Matt Baker was called for Slashing at 11:47. The Dutchmen’s best scoring chance came when sophomore Michael Ryan had a clean slapshot from the right face-off dot that Clark saved.
Union struck first at 15:27 when freshman Owen Farris one-timed a Matt Allen pass past Clark. Allen beat three Dartmouth defenders to feather a touch pass to Farris in the slot for his second goal of the season.
Dartmouth defenseman Brock Paul lost the puck at the Union blue line to Foo, who raced in towards Clark for the breakaway chance but was broken up by senior captain Brendan Demler‘s back check.
The third Dartmouth penalty, Tripping on Cam Strong, at 17:35 closed out the period. Union outshot Dartmouth 16-8 while losing the face-off 6-12.
In the second period the penalties kept coming for Dartmouth. 1:11 into action Mark Gallant was sent off for Tripping. The Dutchmen put four shots on Clark but the senior was keeping the game close.
At 5:22 sophomore Drew O’Connor was assessed a 10 Minute Misconduct. O’Connor was hit with the penalty for kneeing his stick, while holding it with one hand, and sending the puck down the ice after the whistle.
Five on five play continued and the Big Green seemed to respond to having their top scorer in the box for an extended period of time. Senior defenseman/forward Will Graber tied the game 1-1 when he carried the puck out of the Dartmouth zone, turned it over, won it back at the Union blue line then deked on Rinaldi and beat Graziano bar down on the backhander at 7:16.
Twenty-one seconds was all it took for the Dutchmen to un-break the tie. Kolias jumped on the loose puck and made a move past Graber, then fired a cross-ice pass that freshman Christian Sanda one-timed past Clark at 7:37. Sanda’s fourth of the year made it 2-1.
Another freshman built on the Union lead as Gabriel Seger made it 3-1 at 12:46. The 6′-4″ Swede corralled the puck off the end boards on a Zachary Emelifeonwu shot that went wide of the net, then banged home the rebound at the left post. Dartmouth challenged that Clark was interfered with but after review the goal stood.
Harrison’s ultimate game winning goal came at 19:59 when he sniped the puck from the top of the right circle past Clark far-side low making it 4-1. Kolias set up Harrison after he won a battle with Palocsik at the Dartmouth blue line.
At 2:12 of the third Dartmouth had their first power play of the game when Kolias was sent off for Hooking. The Big Green had sloppy execution coupled with an aggressive penalty kill from the Dutchmen.
Another penalty to Union for Holding at 8:14 on defenseman Ryan and this time Dartmouth was ready. Six seconds into the man advantage Foreman’s first goal of the game made it 4-2. Graziano made the initial stop on a Graber shot from the point, but the junior forward was there to bang home the rebound.
Foreman’s second of the night came at 12:53 when he collected another Graber rebound and fired the puck on net. The shot deflected off of Union defenseman Taylor Brierley and into the Union net. It was the second time in two nights that a puck went in off of Brierley. It was also Foreman’s 10th goal of the year.
Dartmouth pulled Clark with 2:07 left to play but was unable to muster the tying goal.
Union outshot Dartmouth 38-22. The Dutchmen garnered their fifth ECAC win of the season, improving to 5-10-1 (7-18-3 overall) while the Big Green fall to 10-8-4 overall and 7-6-2 in ECAC play.
“The one that killed us was the one at the end of the second period,” said Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet. “I loved the third period play. I thought we played really hard.”
“I thought the guys worked hard and did some good things,” said Gaudet. “I thought the first two periods Union was on top of us, they played with a lot of energy, they worked really hard. We needed to battle through. Going into the third period down 4-1 was tough.”
“I thought our first period mirrored our first period against Harvard,” said Union coach Rick Bennett. “I thought it was a very good period. We came out of it 1-0 and I think they learned from Friday night, the second period was just as good and they got rewarded for staying with it. and we came out of that period 4-1 so…”
“I just thought it was probably one of our more consistent games,” added Bennett. “I like how we didn’t panic at the end.”