Dartmouth Takes Down Rival UNH at Thompson

HANOVER, N.H. – The Dartmouth men’s hockey team prefers the comforts of home as a 5-1 win Saturday night at Thompson Arena against in-state rival New Hampshire.

The Big Green are now 3-0-1 at home this season and returned to Hanover for this game following a seven-game road trip in which they won just one game (1-5-1).

“It was a good effort by our guys all night,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “UNH has a lot of talent and we really played a solid defensive game. We backchecked and took away space from them in the neutral and defensive zones.

“You have to win your share of games at home and we weren’t as crisp on that road trip so it was key fro us to come out early and set the tone in this one coming back into our rink,” Gaudet remarked. “The guys came out and never let up in all three zones. I could see that coming because we had a really good week of practice. I was pleased with the intensity in front of our fans tonight.”

However, goals from John Ernsting, Daniel Warpecha, Troy Crema, Grant Opperman and an empty netter from Clay Han helped lift the spirits of the road-tested Dartmouth team to their first win against UNH (8-7-2) since Dec. 30, 2012 —a 4-1 win in Hanover.

Devin Buffalo finished the night with 24 saves and was one bad bounce away from a shutout, but was beaten by just one shot from Jason Salvaggio, early in the third.

Ernsting scored the lone goal of the first, while Warpecha and Crema netted tallies in the middle frame. Opperman’s goal early in the third period came on the power play, helping the Big Green to a 1-for-3 mark on the man-advantage in the game.

For Warpecha, the freshman winger now has three goals in his last four games after not finding the back of the net in the first seven contests of the season.

Han’s empty netter with 1:47 left in the game was his first collegiate goal and was the insurance marker that gave Dartmouth it’s largest margin of victory against UNH since a 7-3 win against the Wildcats in the Consolation Game of the 1979 Frozen Four played at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

In all, 12 of the Big Green’s 18 skaters had points with Crema and Opperman finishing with a goal and an assist each.

Dartmouth did what it needed to do in holding the potent Wildcat power play in checking, taking just two penalties all night, killing both.

The Green and White will head into winter break in their respective hometowns before returning to Hanover for the 28th Annual Ledyard Classic featuring Army West Point, UMass Lowell and Colgate at Thompson Arena on Dec. 30-31.