Bobcats advance to quarters, send Dartmouth packing

Lenny Neslin

Eric Lampe’s breakaway goal late in the first period broke Dartmouth’s trend of scoring first in the series and eventually forced goalie James Mello out of the game, switching the momentum in Quinnipiac’s favor.

“To get that goal to start the game was a big one for them,” Dartmouth head coach Bob Gaudet said. “Tough break with our goalie going down.”

Quinnipiac (19-16-2, 12-11-0 ECAC) added an insurance goal on sophomore Jody O’Neill in the second period and held on to a 2-1 victory, ending the Dartmouth men’s ice hockey team’s season (10-19-3, 7-13-3 ECAC) last night at the TD Bank Sports Center.

The Bobcats made it past the first-round series for the fifth straight seasons since joining the ECAC in the 2005-06 season. They will face third-seeded Union in the quarterfinals this weekend in Schenectady, N.Y.

“It’s tough playing three in three nights,” said Quinnipiac head coach Rand Pecknold, who won his 300th career game. “The Dartmouth kids were running out of gas there too at the end.”

Mello wanted to play through the injury he sustained after falling to a squat after the puck got by him, but could barely skate to the bench going out for the second period.

“It’s a game of mistakes,” Bob Gaudet said. “It was tough to see James go down on that play, but he did a great job for us.”

Lampe raced past a Dartmouth defender to a loose puck and beat Mello glove side for his second goal of the series, while senior Jean-Marc Beaudoin was credited with an assist and his fifth point of the series.

Mello was shaken up after the play, but after a visit from Dartmouth Head Athletic Trainer Jeff Frechette he stayed in the game until Jody O’Neill relieved him at the start of the second period.

Lampe had another chance on a two-on-one shortly after, but he kept the puck to himself and his shot sailed wide.

Sophomore Ben Ketchum greeted O’Neill with a goal two minutes into the second period – his first career goal –, which proved to be the game-winner. Freshmen linemates Russell Goodman and Ben Arnt assisted the goal.

Shortly after, Dartmouth junior defenseman Dan Markowitz banged a slap shot past sophomore goalie Dan Clarke, but the puck caromed off the crossbar high up in the air. The Big Green kept the pressure on Clarke until Quinnipiac cleared the puck three minutes later.

O’Neill made two stellar saves in the fourth minute of the third period to keep the deficit at 2. It wasn’t until later in the third period when Dartmouth broke the shutout.

Seven seconds after a Quinnipiac timeout that came with 6:10 remaining in the final period, Dartmouth junior defenseman Joe Stejskal received a pass from Scott Fleming and fired a shot from the blue line. With junior forward Adam Estoclet screening goalie Dan Clarke, the puck squeaked through Clarke’s pads and past the goal line to cut the deficit in half, 2-1.

Clarke, who saved 26 shots, was coming off a season-high in goals allowed in Dartmouth’s 6-3 thrashing of Quinnipiac in Game 2, but gave Dartmouth a taste of what he was like in the first half of the season.

“He read certain situations much better than he did last night,” Pecknold said. “He was our best player tonight.”

Photo credit: Al Valerio