February 27, 2006


Dartmouth at Top of the Heap (Greg Fennell, 2/27/06, Valley News)

Three months ago, even the most optimistic of Dartmouth men's hockey fans couldn't have envisioned this.

As the final buzzer signaled the Big Green's 3-0 win over St. Lawrence at Thompson Arena last night, player after Dartmouth player slapped shoulder and back of teammate in recognition of a rare accomplishment. Then player after Dartmouth player leapt from the bench and onto winning goaltender Mike Devine.

If further evidence was required, it came when captain Mike Ouellette handed coach Bob Gaudet the William J. Cleary Cup, emblematic of regular-season ECAC Hockey League supremacy, the first such trophy in Dartmouth history.

A team that couldn't have started its season worse couldn't have finished it better.

“This is awesome, just awesome,” said Gaudet amid family and friends on the Thompson ice after the game. “It's so hard to get a banner. To be able to put something up there where these guys can come back and appreciate years and years from now, I just think it's great.”

Aside from the hardware and the knowledge that Dartmouth (16-11-2 overall, 14-6-2 league) will finally install a championship banner on Thompson's east wall for the first time since reaching the NCAA Frozen Four in 1980, the Big Green knows a few other things, too.

After an 0-4 start for which Dartmouth is still paying on the national level, the Big Green lifted itself by going 14-2-2 over the rest of its league slate. It has beaten good league foes, and bad ones. It has outscored them, and it has silenced them. Based on tiebreakers, Dartmouth will enter the ECACHL tournament in two weeks as the top seed, a valuable advantage for a team with NCAA tourney aspirations that will probably need to win the league tournament to see those dreams through. [...]

Colgate earned its share of the title with a 2-1 win over RPI last night. And, yes, the Raiders also got a William J. Cleary Cup -- the women's cup, minus any identifying plate. That cup was supposed to reach the St. Lawrence women last night, but the weather made the trip impossible, so league officials decided to hand it over (temporarily) to Colgate.

The women's cup?

Posted by Orrin Judd at February 27, 2006 9:12 AM

"Well, that's it for me and Harold and the rest of the boys at Possum Lodge. Remember to keep your stick on the ice."

Posted by: Mikey at February 27, 2006 9:23 AM

No. The catcher's cup.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at February 27, 2006 10:23 AM

They forget to credit the Zamboni operator.

Posted by: Eugene S. at February 27, 2006 11:45 AM