HAMDEN, Conn. – Landon Smith’s third-period hat trick was the difference as No. 7 Quinnipiac handed the Dartmouth men’s hockey team a 6-3 loss Friday night at High Point Solutions Arena.
The first loss of the season for the Big Green (2-1-1, 1-1-1 ECAC Hockey) came at the start of a seven-game road trip, while the Bobcats (6-3-1, 2-1-0) opened their conference home slate with the win
“We lost to a great team on the other side of the ice,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “If we’re going to be successful and win these games, we have to make sure we don’t give teams quality opportunities, especially on the power play.”
“For us, without a full compliment of players, we need to play nearly a perfect game if we want to come away from one of these with two points,” Gaudet added.
Junior goalie Devin Buffalo will have a misleading loss saddled to his record, because he allowed the six tallies. However, Buffalo was the lone reason the game was as close as it was, finishing with a career-high 48 saves in the game.
The Big Green’s Kevan Kilistoff opened the scoring just a minute into the game on a great redirect in the slot from a Cam Roth point shot.
The Bobcats tied the game at the 7:48 mark only to have John Ernsting’s first of the season send the visitors to the locker room with a 2-1 lead.
Tim Clifton and Bo Pieper goals were the lone scores of the second frame as the Bobcats took the lead for the first time.
Freshman Cam Strong netted his second of the season between the first and second Smith goals of the third period, but it wasn’t enough as QU pulled away on the strength of the natural hat trick.
In reality, it wasn’t about who scored and who had multiple points. The story of the night for the Green was the play of Buffalo in net. Eclipsing his previous career high in saves by 11, he posted totals of 15, 20 and 13, respectively, in the game’s three frames as the Bobcats outshot Dartmouth, 54-24.
Quinnipiac was 3-for-9 on the power play, while its penalty kill was 8-for-8.
The Big Green are back on the road Saturday night to conclude the weekend with an Ivy League and ECAC Hockey tilt at Princeton. Game time from Hobey Baker Rink is set for 7 p.m.