Alex Fallstrom netted Harvard's lone goal Saturday against Dartmouth (Gil Talbot).
Video: Alex Fallstrom's Goal in Game 2
HANOVER, N.H. – The Harvard men's hockey team witnessed an energized Dartmouth Big Green squad Saturday and the hosts posted four goals in a 4-1 victory over the Crimson in Game 2 of a first round playoff series at Thompson Arena. The win forces a decisive Game 3 between the two teams, as Harvard captured the series opener, 2-1, Friday.
The urgency from the Big Green was noticeable from the opening faceoff and the Crimson struggled to match the host's intensity. A strong fore check saw the puck stay in the Harvard defensive zone for a large portion of the opening frame, but Raphael Girard kept his head on a swivel and turned away numerous looks from Dartmouth. The good fortune wouldn't last the entire stanza, however, as the hosts jumped on the board first. Dustin Walsh put a shot on net that struck Girard and bounced straight up, only to come down just behind Girard. Walsh shifted in and swept the puck into the goal before Girard could turn and smother it 9:28 into the frame. Dartmouth held a 15-5 shots edge after the first period, but the Crimson defense stayed tough to keep the deficit at just one.
The Crimson offense ups its pace at bit entering the second period and the good looks started to come for Harvard. Senior Luke Greiner made a number of pushes into the Dartmouth defense and nearly knotted the score at the 13:30 mark when his wrist shot from the right circle skipped off the top of the crossbar. Harvard was finally able to break through 8:43 into the middle period as a trio of seniors combined on a pretty goal. Greiner intercepted a weak clearing attempt by the Big Green and slid the puck to Danny Biega near the top of the right faceoff circle. Biega spied a wide-open Alex Fallstrom across ice and down low, and Fallstrom received Biega's pass and beat freshman Charles Grant from a difficult angle for the power-play equalizer.
The Big Green netted a power-play tally of its own minutes later however, to take a 2-1 lead into the break. A good sequence of passing ended with the puck on the stick of Tyler Sikura, and the sophomore wristed home a shot past Girard from the far faceoff circle at 12:48. Girard stood tall to make a spectacular save on a breakaway with 4:48 left in the period, keeping the Harvard deficit at one after 40 minutes of play.
While Harvard nearly doubled its shot total from the first two periods combined, it was Dartmouth that was able to pull away in the frame. Captain Mike Keenan stretched the Dartmouth lead to 3-1 just 2:49 into the third and Matt Lindblad capped the 4-1 result with a gutsy individual effort that saw him stuff home a puck that had come to a stop on the Harvard goal line.
Game 3 will begin at 5 p.m. Sunday evening at Thompson Arena with the winner advancing to the ECAC Championship Quarterfinals.