Harvard tops Dartmouth 7-3 in Season Opener

Allston, MA – The Dartmouth Big Green‘s 2019-20 season kicks off where last season ended, at Harvard’s Bright-Landry Center. Both squads have been idle while the rest of the NCAA hockey world has had about a month’s head start. Each team is expecting big things from their players this year. Dartmouth is looking to a talented first line to improve on last year’s fifth place ECAC finish while the Crimson hope a youth infusion will keep them in the NCAA mix.

It didn’t take long for the Crimson offense to kick things into gear. Junior defenseman Jack Rathbone opened the scoring at 1:42 when he sniped a snap shot past Justin Ferguson. Freshman John Farinacci assisted on the goal.

The two teams went up and down the Bright-Landry ice but neither team was able to sustain pressure.

Dartmouth’s Matt Baker had the first penalty of the game when he was sent of for Charging at 10:42. The Big Green killed off the Crimson power play but surrendered a goal just after it expired. From the middle of the blue line Henry Thrun dished to Colton Kerfoot to the right of Dartmouth’s net. Kerfoot unloaded a bomb from the right circle that beat Ferguson for the 2-0 Crimson lead.

Despite trailing in the game, the Big Green were outshooting the Crimson 18-12 and winning the face-off battle 15-14.

Henry Thrun looks to set up Colton Kerfoot (not pictured)

The second period was an explosion of goals that came in spurts; and it didn’t take long to happen, as Dartmouth tied the game in the first two minutes of the period. Daniel Warpecha knocked home a loose puck that fell to him in front of goalie Cam Gornet (44 saves) at 1:36. The Crimson keeper made the save but gave up a flukey rebound. Just 21 seconds later Harrison Markell tied it when his shot from the right side of the blue line was blockered by Gornet but the puck somehow bounced into the Crimson net for the Dartmouth goal.

Dartmouth took the lead on a Quin Foreman wrist shot from the slot at 6:34. The junior had just had a shot turned aside by Gornet, but Brendan Demler found a wide open Foreman after Dartmouth corralled the rebound.

The Big Green lead was short lived as the Crimson pulled even on Thrun’s first collegiate goal. A bar down blast from the slot at 10:20. Assists were credited to Nick Abruzzese and Casey Dornbach. Just half a minute later the Crimson were ahead again thanks to another Rathbone goal. Jack Badini faked a shot in the high slot then skated into the circle when he dished a cross ice pass to a wide-open Rathbone who sniped the top left corner at 10:56.

Jack Drury notched his first of the season as Harvard added to their lead 5-3 at 12:57. Abruzzese and Dornabch were again credited with the assists.  Dartmouth would get a chance on the power play when Badini was sent off for Hitting From Behind at 13:48. The Big Green were unable to mount much in the way of sustained pressure. The Crimson had two shorthanded bids, one coming on a two on one with Rathbone and Baker Shore, the other a tremendous effort by Fredric Gregoire to fight off two Dartmouth defenders on his way in on goal. Ferguson came up big on both chances.

The third period was all Dartmouth as they peppered Gornet with shots. Every time the senior from St. Louis made the stop. 18 attempts on goal by the Big Green in the third, Gornet swallowed them all up. Any rebound chance was knocked away by the Crimson defense. Around the 16 minute mark after a Dartmouth time-out, coach Bob Gaudet pulled Ferguson in an effort to pull back a goal with the extra attacker. After a few long range chances by the Crimson that resulted in icing calls Farinacci scored his first NCAA goal when he took a Reilly Walsh pass and deposited the puck into the empty Dartmouth goal at 17:40. Rounding out the evening’s scoring was Abruzzese collecting his first career goal at 19:04.

Drew O’Connor tries to corral a Quin Foreman pass

Dartmouth outshot Harvard 47-37 for the game while the Crimson pulled ahead in the face-off wins category 40-37. The final score Harvard 7 Dartmouth 3.

“Obviously, we’re just excited to get started playing hockey,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “Dartmouth is a team that scares me, we played against them last year in the playoffs, their first line is heavy and can make it tough on you and can make it a physical mis-match. Overall we’re pretty happy, happy with the result. After we were up 2-0 to go down 3-2, I thought we kind of dug in and got away from (their game plan).”

“I didn’t want to magnify the problem, with some young guys, I said let’s get back to the way we know we can have some success. It was a game where we certainly came out of it with some good feelings and some things we really have to work on.”

Dartmouth coach Gaudet was in good spirits despite the loss. “It was a good hockey game, they got up on us, and obviously we came back but there was a stretch there in the second period that really hurt us,” said Gaudet. “You have to play really hard 60 minutes, I thought our kids played very hard but we had a lull there. Harvard’s a good team, they have some guys that can really shoot the puck. But I thought our guys played hard, we had our chances, but… I’d just like to see us be that consistent team for 60 minutes. It’s not from a lack of effort or anything like that, it’s game one, it’s in their building and they turned the tides on us.”

Dartmouth is back at it agin tomorrow night when the Big Green take on in state rival UNH at the Whittemore Center in Durham, NH. Puck drop is at 7:00 pm. Harvard is off until next Friday when they host Princeton on Friday and Quinnipiac on Saturday, both nights start at 7:00 pm.

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