Thompson Arena is Home, Sweet Home for Men's Hockey
Winning at home is critical to the success of any athletic team.
That's exactly what Dartmouth men's hockey is doing, en route to one of its most successful seasons since head coach Bob Gaudet '81 guarded the goal.
As part of Winter Carnival weekend, the Big Green enjoyed its third straight home sweep after beating Harvard, 7-0, and Brown, 3-1. It's the first time that has happened since 1978-79.
The Big Green has won seven in a row at Thompson Arena and is 9-4 overall on home ice.
"I felt all along that when we start drawing people - even though I'd like to have a more boisterous crowd at times - that it would make such a better home ice advantage," Gaudet said. "The energy in the building this past weekend helped us stay focused and play a pair of good games."
The Big Green averaged 3,167 fans for each game. In fact, during the seven-game home unbeaten streak, Thompson Arena has hosted an average crowd of 2,862 as Dartmouth has outscored the opposition, 30-11.
"It's important for us to make this place a very difficult place to play for our opponents," Gaudet said.
Against the Crimson, the line of Chris Taliercio (Farmingdale, N.J.), Frank Nardella (Melrose Park, Ill.) and Chris Baldwin (Glastonbury, Conn.) combined for nine points.
Nardella had the second four-point game of his career with a goal and three assists while Taliercio added a pair of goals and one helper. Baldwin, meanwhile, scored his fourth goal in the last five games.
Also playing a key role in the victory was Trevor Byrne (Hingham, Mass.) with three assists while Jamie Herrington (Cornwall, Ont.) and Michael Byrne (Hingham, Mass.) each had a goal and assist.
In goal, Nick Boucher (Cobble Hill, B.C.) turned aside all 22 shots he faced for his first shutout of the winter. Dartmouth's last whitewash of Ivy rival Harvard came 78 years ago on February 21, 1923.
"We played hard from start to finish," Gaudet said. "I thought we had focus. That's the important thing - to come out and play hard each and every shift. And we did."
The next night against the Bears, it was Boucher taking on the hero's role. He stopped 35 shots and lost the bid for a second straight shutout with less than three minutes to play. The goal snapped Boucher's shutout streak of 120:52 that dated back to February 2 at Union.
"The guy with the pads was such a key to the weekend, and Boucher had two super games," Gaudet said.
Mike Maturo (Manchester, N.H.), meanwhile, broke out of a seven-game scoreless streak with a pair, and Baldwin extended his point-scoring stretch to four games with his ninth marker of the season.
Maturo tops Dartmouth with 26 points (13g, 13a), followed by Trevor Byrne with 24 points (5g, 19a). Kent Gillings (Saskatoon, Sask.) - who had a goal and assist in the two games - has 22 points (8g, 14a).
Boucher lowered his goals against average to 2.74, and his save percentage now stands at .906. He is 11-8-2 overall and fourth all-time at Dartmouth with 19 career victories. In ECAC action, Boucher has a 2.65 goals against average and a .904 save percentage. (Bill Garfield)