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March 03. 2013 9:19PM

Dartmouth to host Harvard in first round ECAC hockey tourney series

The Dartmouth hockey team will have to settle for home ice in the first round of the ECAC tournament.
 
The Big Green, hoping to grab one the league’s top four spots — and a first-round bye — fell to the nation’s top-ranked team, Quinnipiac, 4-1, before 4,167 at Thompson Arena in Hanover on Saturday night.
 
After a scoreless first period, the Bobcats asserted themselves in the second period. Jeremy Langlois and Jordan Samels-Thomas found the net seven minutes apart for a 2-0 lead. Dartmouth defenseman Rick Pinkston scored on a point drive with 29 seconds remaining in the period to cut the margin to 2-1, but the visitors scored twice more in the third period, including another by Samuels-Thomas, for a decisive win.

Freshman goalie Charles Grant was a bright spot for the Big Green, saving 38 shots. Grant stopped 78 of the 84 shots he saw over the weekend, which included Friday night's 2-2 tie with Princeton.

Dartmouth won a tiebreaker with St. Lawrence to finish fifth, with a 9-9-4 ECAC record (13-11-5 overall) and will host the league's 12th-ranked team, Harvard, in a best-of-three series beginning Friday night at Thompson Arena. Game 2 is Saturday night, with a Game 3, if necessary, on Sunday night. The Big Green went 1-0-1 against their rivals from Cambridge during the regular season.

Quinnipiac, coached by Bedford native Rand Pecknold, takes a 24-5-5 mark (17-2-3 in the ECAC) into the postseason. The Bobcats are seeded No. 1 in the ECAC tournament, earning a first-round bye along with No. 2 RPI, No. 3 Yale and No. 4 Union. The quarterfinal round will be played on those four campuses before the tournament moves to the semifinals and championship in Atlantic City, N.J.


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