Dartmouth College season preview

By DJ Powers

The Dartmouth Big Green will open their 100th regular season on October 29th when they travel to the Bright Center to face off against host Harvard.

Dartmouth just missed earning a trip to the NCAA Tournament after compiling a 20-13-2 record and finishing fifth in the ECACHL. This season, the Big Green hopes to rectify that.

The team lost several key players this past offseason. Nowhere were the Big Green losses more significant or numerous than at the forward position. Among them was Lee Stempniak (STL) to graduation and Hugh Jessiman, opting to forego his senior year to sign with the New York Rangers, despite missing most of last season with an ankle injury.

Stempniak leaves Dartmouth with his name firmly etched in the school’s hockey history books. He finished his final season leading the Big Green in scoring with 43 points (14 goals, 29 assists) playing in all 35 games. Among his final year achievements included being named to the All-American East Team for the second consecutive year.

Jessiman leaves Dartmouth having set a freshman scoring record with 47 points.

With the loss of four key forwards, the Big Green will be relying on returning players such as senior Mike Ouellette, junior Tanner Glass (FLA) and sophomore Nick Johnson (PIT) to lead the offense.

Ouellette is the returning top scorer and will serve as team captain this season. The offensively creative two-way forward finished second on the team in scoring last season with 41 points (15 goals, 26 assists) playing in all 35 games. His excellent junior season also earned him an All-Ivy League Second team selection. This season, Ouellette could garner serious Hobey Baker consideration as well.

Glass has become one of Dartmouth’s most dependable and hard working forwards. Nowhere did he prove to be more valuable last season than on special teams. He finished the year with 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in 33 games. Of his seven goals, three came on the power play and two came short-handed. While he may not win any scoring titles anytime soon, Glass can always be counted to bring a physical presence and a willingness to do whatever it takes for the betterment of his team.

Johnson enjoyed an excellent freshman campaign that earned him numerous honors including a selection to the ECACHL All-Rookie team. He led all ECACHL rookies in scoring with 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) playing in all 35 games. His 35 points was tied for fourth in the nation among rookies. He also finished fifth among rookies in points per game (1.00). Dartmouth is hoping that the immensely gifted winger will be able to continue to put up the big numbers this season.

The Big Green will welcome five new additions to their forward lines. Among them are Ryan Bellows and Connor Shields.

Bellows comes to Dartmouth from Thorold (GHJHL), where he amassed 61 points (27 goals, 34 assists) in helping to lead his team to the 2005 Sutherland Cup. Bellows is noted for his scoring and playmaking capability. He is the nephew of former NHLer Brian Bellows.

Shields comes to Dartmouth from Bonnyville (AJHL), where he amassed 69 points (36 goals, 33 assists) in 69 games. The speedy centerman was a 2005 AJHL North Division Second Team All-Star.

Amongst the defensemen, Dartmouth’s only significant loss was that of John Ostapyk, who has graduated.

The Big Green returns two of the ECACHL’s most dynamic blueliners in senior Garret Overlock and junior Grant Lewis (ATL). Both players were especially effective on the Big Green power play.

Overlock led all Big Green defensemen in scoring last season with 26 points (nine goals, 17 assists) playing in all 35 games. He also led the team with seven power play goals and tied the team lead with three game-winning tallies. Overlock will serve as one of the team’s assistant captains this season.

After bursting onto the ECACHL landscape in his freshman season, Lewis continues to be one of the most exciting defensemen in the conference to watch. Last season, a more mature and well-rounded Lewis emerged, proving to be effective not only offensively but strong defensively as well. He finished second among Big Green defensemen in scoring with 22 points (five goals, 17 assists). All five of his goals came on the power play. His stellar season earned him an honorable mention to the All-Ivy League team.

Dartmouth welcomes two new additions to their defensive corps in John Gibson and Chris Johnson. Both players will add some size to the Big Green’s blue line.

Gibson comes to Dartmouth from the Calgary Royals (AJHL), where he had 34 points (ten goals, 24 assists) in 59 games. He is noted for his superb ability to move with the puck.

Johnson comes to Dartmouth from the Springfield Junior Blues (NAHL), where he had 13 points (three goals, ten assists) in 55 games. The Duluth, Minnesota native is noted for his solid defensive play and a defenseman who brings a bit of edge to his game as well.

The Big Green also suffered a big loss in goal when Dan Yacey graduated. The starting job in all likelihood will fall to his backup from last season, junior Sean Samuel.

Samuel saw limited ice time last year, but what time he did see, he made the most of and put up very respectable numbers. In 12 games, he posted a 5-4-1 record. This season, he’ll be counted to assume the role of starter and try to lead Dartmouth into the postseason.

Two players who’ll also be battling for ice time are sophomore Mike Devine and newcomer Dan Goulding. Devine saw action in only one game and posted a win. The victory came back on January 12th versus in-state rival UNH, where the Big Green emerged with a wild 9-8 win.

Goulding comes to Dartmouth from Bowmanville (OPJHL), where he played in 34 games and amassed a 1.93 goals against average. He is noted for his athleticism and great puck-handling ability.

If Dartmouth could get consistently solid goaltending and continued stellar offensive production, the team could make a serious run for the ECACHL title as well as a berth in the NCAA Tournament.

(Number of NHL prospects on 2005-06 roster: 5)

Copyright 2005 Hockey’s Future. Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.