Dartmouth hockey shuts out Stang to start off socially distanced season

Jan 2, 2021

Any other year, New Bedford’s Hetland Arena would be packed with fans as crosstown rivals Dartmouth High and Bishop Stang go at it on the ice. 

Dartmouth junior Reid Martin said that while the muted atmosphere was “a little tough,” he thought his team was able to make the most of things as they shutout the Spartans 2-0 to start the season on Jan. 2

“Usually, with our normal crowds, in the last two minutes we would have been really panicky with the puck,” he laughed. “But with no one in there we were calm, cool and collected.”

Dartmouth High set the tone early after junior Nick Howarth scored a short-handed goal to end the first period. Both teams played aggressively during the following two periods, with plenty of scoring chances. With less than a minute left in the game, Martin put in the dagger to secure the victory.

“It’s a great start for us,” Dartmouth head coach Mike Capello said. “Hopefully we can build off of this and stay healthy.” 

Along with the lack of fans, there were a myriad of changes in place that both teams had to adjust to, such as having to wear a mask at all times and maintaining separation during faceoffs. 

The biggest on-ice change is with scrums along the boards.

Under the new rules, scrums are limited to two players. If a third person enters, officials will stop play — something that was called a few times during the game.

While the game might look a little different, Capello noted, the fundamentals and intensity of the game were still there.

“I didn’t really see a lot of different changes out there on the ice today,” he said. “I think the biggest change was with the bench.”

On the bench, no more than three coaches and one athletic trainer are allowed and 6 feet or greater distance must be maintained between the players at all times.

Capello noted that while he thought it would be a challenge to quickly change lines, his staff did a good job “moving guys in and out.”

Bishop Stang Head Coach Ken Gouveia was more blunt with how his team adjusted to the new rules, saying that it was much harder to communicate with a spread out bench while keeping a mask on.

“It’s not the first game you want to be playing without any real preparation,” he said. “I mean, I guess it’s good that we’re playing.”  

The Spartans next game is Jan. 6 against Bishop Feehan at Hetland Arena. Dartmouth High will host Bridgewater-Raynham on Jan. 9.

The two rivals are set to play each other again on Feb. 10.