Fallstrom scored four goals in five playoff games (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
HANOVER, N.H.—No. 18 Dartmouth scored three times in the third period to rally past the Harvard men's hockey team and hold on for a 4-3 win in the deciding third game of the teams' ECAC Hockey Championship quarterfinal series at Thompson Arena.
The win sends the third-seeded Big Green (18-11-3) to the league semifinals and ends the season for the 10th-seeded Crimson (12-21-1).
Alex Fallstrom scored twice, and Michael Del Mauro gave the Crimson a lead in the third period before Dartmouth rallied with three straight goals. Ryan Carroll made 27 saves. Conor Morrison notched two assists, and Danny Biega added one for his 30th point of the season. The Big Green's James Mello made 35 saves to overcome a 38-31 shots edge for the Crimson.
Del Mauro gave Harvard a 2-1 lead about five minutes into the third period. Morrison made a nifty move around a Big Green defender on the right side, but a second Dartmouth player was there to knock away the puck in the middle. Del Mauro swooped in, collected the puck and roofed a shot over Mello.
The Big Green struck back barely two minutes later, with Matt Lindblad putting away a shot from the right side. Harvard looked poised to answer, but from his back, Mello flung his leg into the air to stop a Crimson shot. Evan Stephens gave Dartmouth its first lead of the game at the 13:43 mark. With a horde of players from both sides battling in front, the puck slipped loose to Stephens, whose shot found its way through traffic and into the net.
Lindbland added what would prove to be a critical insurance goal on a power play following Harvard's fourth tripping penalty of the game. He put a shot into the top right corner, and Harvard's hopes looked slim with 3:10 left on the clock.
The Crimson kept fighting, though, and earned a power play for a six-on-four advantage with Carroll pulled. Waiting down low on the left side, Fallstrom finished off a pass from Danny Biega at the point after Conor Morrison sent the puck out of the right corner.
Harvard earned two offensive-zone faceoffs in the final 12 seconds, but the Big Green hung on and advanced despite Harvard's 16-12 advantage in third-period shots. Rence Coassin, David Valek and Alex Killorn led Harvard with five shots each in the game.
The start of the game was delayed by an hour and 46 minutes due to a leak in the rink's refrigeration system, but Harvard showed little rust while getting off to a good start. Fallstrom broke through at 7:15 of the first period. Following a pass from Marshall Everson, Ryan Grimshaw's first shot from the right point was blocked, but his second got to Mello's pads. Fallstrom sent a low rebound shot past Mello from the high slot.
Harvard held a 13-9 edge in first-period shots, and Carroll stopped everything Dartmouth threw at him, including a close-range redirection by Matt Reber about six minutes before period's end.
Dartmouth was awarded a power play in the opening minute of the second period and converted right away. The Big Green got the puck to the net after the faceoff to begin the man advantage, and Doug Jones stuffed it in from a crowd in front to tie the score at 1-1.
Momentum swung back in Harvard's favor late in the period. Luke Greiner, Colin Moore and Daniel Moriarty set up camp in the Dartmouth end on one shift, and the trio of Coassin, Valek and Del Mauro soon followed suit. Mello, however, stopped all nine Crimson shots in the period, while Carroll made nine saves on the other end.