Natalie Cantave / The Dartmouth Staff
The Big Green (13-7-4, 8-6-3 ECAC) had already defeated the Bears (4-17-1, 3-14-0 ECAC) once this season by 1-0 in Providence, R.I. In both meetings, shots and goals were tough to come by with Brown's tightly packed defense.
"Brown's a pretty stay-at-home, clog- the-middle kind of team," forward Laura Stacey '16 said. "We just made a point of dominating from the first shift. Our offensive philosophy made a difference right off the bat."
The game against Brown came on the heels of Dartmouth's biggest game of the season, a 2-2 tie against No. 5 Harvard University. After playing such an important game on national television, the team feared a letdown when playing the Bears, the second-worst ranked team in the ECAC. Dartmouth put those fears to rest early on with a dominating first shift that did not yield a goal, but set the tone early on for what turned out to be a convincing Big Green win.
"It can definitely be a little harder to get up for this kind of game," forward Lindsey Allen '16 said. "Coach made sure we knew not to take them lightly because they're still a team that can play well, even if they're not doing well this season."
The scoring did not start until late in the first period, when Stacey knocked in an impressive goal her sixth of the season. At 17:05, with about three minutes to go in the opening period, Dartmouth broke the puck out of the defensive zone when Karlee Odland '15 tipped the puck high off the glass. The puck went over Stacey's head, ricocheted off a defender and landed back on Stacey's stick before she deposited it in the back of the net.
"The defender tried to kick the puck away," Stacey said. "It bounced through her legs and sort of jumped around before I got it. I knew the goalie wasn't expecting a shot right then, so I held it for a second and then put it in."
The Big Green hot streak continued at the start of the second period when Dartmouth notched an insurance goal to push the lead to two. At 1:27, Reagan Fischer '12 scored, assisted by Jenna Hobeika '12 and Camille Dumais '13.
"Cam passed the puck to Jenna, and then Jenna drove wide," Allen said. "She pulled a defender with her and then spun and stopped in the corner. That gave her, like, a half second of space and she found Reagan. It seemed like the goalie thought Reagan's shot would go wide, but it ended up sneaking in."
The 2-0 lead proved to be more than enough for the Big Green, particularly given goaltender Lindsay Holdcroft 14's stellar performance in net. Holdcroft made 15 saves and earned a shutout, her third of the season and 11th of her career. Holdcroft has not allowed more than two goals in a game since early December.
Dartmouth shut down the Brown power play, successfully killing five penalties over the course of the game.
"Some teams play more of a passive box penalty kill," Holdcroft said. "We rotate and we work really hard on it in practice. Coach always tells us that you're not a man down until you're in the zone, so we try and keep them from getting into their power play."
Home-ice dominance by the Big Green squad is becoming the norm, and the Big Green have not lost one of its past six games at Thompson Arena,
"One underrated part about our home wins is that most of them have been the second time we played the teams," Allen said. "It's nice playing at our own rink on our own schedules after sleeping in our own beds."
Dartmouth's Saturday game against Yale was delayed until Monday due to the snow. The squad will now play three games this week instead of the usual two, giving them an opportunity to jump a spot from sixth in the ECAC standings.
"Having the Monday game is going to be very different for us, but I think it's going to end up being good," Holdcroft said. "We got to really focus on the Friday game and it was nice to have Saturday and Sunday off to do some work. I think the team's definitely going to respond well."
The Big Green takes the ice again Monday at 5 P.M. in Thompson Arena against the Bulldogs. Over the weekend, they will travel to Colgate University and Cornell University for two pivotal road games as the season rapidly approaches its conclusion.