Women’s Hockey Upsets No. 8 Dartmouth in Thriller

Women's Hockey Upsets No. 8 Dartmouth in Thriller

Chas Kurtz

Most Colgate teams do not defeat opponents ranked in the nation’s top-10. The women’s hockey squad is unlike most teams. With their 2-1 victory over No. 8 Dartmouth last Friday, the Raiders have now defeated three top-10 teams season, including two victories over top-five opponents. Colgate nearly made it a weekend sweep, but a talented Harvard squad escaped Hamilton with a 2-1 victory after scoring a late goal last Saturday.

Some games are more exciting than others. A 7-2 thrashing is not all that exciting. That was the score in the first Colgate-Dartmouth game of the season back on November 22 when the Big Green dominated every aspect of the game in Hanover, New Hampshire.

A 2-1 upset victory is much more exciting. A 2-1 upset victory with a game-winning goal scored with just 16 seconds remaining on the clock is even better. That is exactly what happened at Starr Rink on Friday when junior forward Marissa Dombovy took a pass from senior forward Sam Hunt and scored on one of the crazier goals seen at Starr Rink. Dombovy took a shot from the left side that was initially saved by goalie Carli Clemis, but the rebound deflected off a Dartmouth defender that was skating towards the goal and into the net! Hunt created the turnover in the Dartmouth zone before finding Dombovy for the absolutely crucial tally.

It was Dombovy’s second gigantic goal of the game. Seven minutes earlier she tied the game at one with an unassisted goal.

After a scoreless opening period, Dartmouth took the lead 9:08 into the second period when Reagan Fischer beat first-year goaltender Kimberly Sass. It was Sass’ lone mistake as she stopped 39 of the 40 shots she faced.

The Big Green certainly had their chances. In addition to their 40 shots, they had seven power-play opportunities, but failed to capitalize on any of them. In contrast, Colgate managed just 18 shots in the contest, but found the back of the net on two of them.

“We got better throughout the game,” junior forward Evan Minnick said. “Our start was a little frantic, but we never got stressed out; instead we brought up our level of play and were relentless.”

After the huge victory, the Raiders hosted Harvard in a matinee affair on Saturday. It was Senior Day at Starr Rink and Colgate’s regular-season finale. Although the excitement of the Dartmouth game would be virtually impossible to match, this game came close to doing so.

The Crimson opened the scoring late in the first period. Sass stopped the initial shot but was unable to control the rebound, allowing Harvard’s Jenny Brine to find the lose puck and fire it into the back of the net.

A scoreless second period was followed by an exhilarating third. Sophomore forward Hannah Milan put a rebound past Harvard goaltender Christina Kessler for the game-tying goal just 2:27 into the final frame. Sophomore forward Jessi Waters, who took the initial shot, was credited with the assist.

Six minutes later Milan had an opportunity to score her second of the game when she was awarded a penalty shot. Milan tried to go five-hole but Kessler was up to the task and kept the game knotted at one. Minutes later, Milan completely embarrassed a Harvard defender with an amazing deke and had yet another one-on-one another opportunity with Kessler, but Milan was stopped again.

The game seemed destined for overtime, or perhaps another last-second Colgate victory, but it was not meant to be. Harvard’s Sarah Wilson scored with 3:05 remaining to give Harvard the victory. The loss was only the Raiders’ second in their last thirteen league games.

Kimberly Sass, who was named ECAC Rookie of the Week for the fifth time this season after her stellar performance over the weekend, stopped 34 of the 36 shots she faced against the Harvard Crimson.

“The loss was a serious heartbreaker, but we are not going to dwell on it,” Minnick said. “We know that we should have beaten them and sometimes it just doesn’t go your way. We are going to finish the season strong and hopefully face Harvard again to get revenge.”

With the loss, the Raiders dropped to fifth in the ECAC standings, two points behind Princeton for fourth.That is crucial because the top four teams get to host the first round of the league playoffs. Colgate needs to win its last two games and hopes that either Princeton or Dartmouth loses their last two games in order to host.

The Raiders conclude the regular season against Union and RPI this weekend. Game times are 7 p.m. Friday in Schenectady and 4 p.m. Saturday in Troy.