HANOVER, N.H. – A freshman saved Senior Night.
Trailing 1-0 through two periods, first-year forward Collin Rutherford scored twice in the third to help the Dartmouth men’s hockey team to a 3-1 come-from-behind win Saturday night against visiting St. Lawrence (7-23-2, 3-16-1 ECAC).
The winner came with just 58.3 seconds remaining on the scoreboard as the Big Green (12-13-2, 10-9-1 ECAC) won a game when trailing after two periods for the first time since Jan. 28, 2017 at Cornell.
“St. Lawrence played so well all night,” head coach Bob Gaudet ’81 said. “But our team never stopped working and our third-period effort was incredible. We fought so hard to make the plays that led to those goals by Collin and that work ethic was what I was so proud of tonight.”
“That third period was huge for us,” Gaudet continued. “We wanted to go out there and make plays and build confidence and that’s just what we did.”
Dartmouth had never secured a season sweep of both St. Lawrence and Friday night’s opponent, No. 7 Clarkson, in the same year, but Friday’s third-period comeback erased that after decades of play against their North Country foes.
Rutherford will rightfully receive a lion’s share of the attention for Saturday’s outcome, but senior netminder Devin Buffalo was once again the anchor of the team’s defensive effort, stopping 18 in the win.
“We played really well from Devin on out tonight, no one had a bad game,” Gaudet remarked. “Buff was on a mission this weekend. He has become a leader on this team. The work he puts in at practice and the things he does on the ice and in the locker room have made him the backbone of this team.”
However, Buffalo did allow the first goal of the night as Saints forward Jacob Nielsen notched the first marker of his collegiate career just 5:21 into the game on a breakaway. That was the last time one settled behind the senior.
No scoring followed in the next 43:27 as there was a war of attrition between the two teams with Buffalo and his counterpart Arthur Brey matching each other save for save. That was until 11:12 on the clock.
Rutherford’s first goal of the night and fourth of the season was all about patience. A wrister from the point by senior River Rymsha was kicked out into the slot. Not rushing his shot, Rutherford collected the puck and moved to his forehand before depositing the tying goal under Brey’s left pad.
His second of the night was the result of puck hunting, going to the top of the paint and waiting for his chance. Charley Michalowski and Alex Jasiek made plays in the corner and low slot before the latter sent a puck into the crease area. After a loose scrum, Rutherford reached out and swept the puck into the net for the goal that would eventually stand as the game winner.
An insurance marker into the empty net by freshman Quin Foreman with 7.2 seconds left capped the scoring as the Big Green held on for the 3-1 win and a four-point weekend.
Shots were 31-19 in favor of the home team, including a 14-6 edge in the third as the comeback was mounting. Brey finished with 28 saves in the losing effort as he was unable to hold off the Green and White surge late.
With 21 points in the standings, Dartmouth is alone in fifth for the time being with Colgate (20) in sixth and Princeton and Yale tied for seventh with 19 points. Ninth-place Quinnipiac has 18 as the race for home ice in the first round of the postseason series heats up with just one weekend of regular season play left.
The Big Green are on the road next weekend at Yale and Brown. Check back with DartmouthSports.com for previews and all ECAC Hockey Championship seeding information.