February may be the shortest month of the year, but it will be full of tests for the men’s hockey team.

The Bulldogs (9-7-4, 5-4-4 ECAC) will be looking to set the tone for their last month of ECAC competition as they host Dartmouth (8-9-2, 3-8-1) Friday night for the first time this season. The Elis have an opportunity to break out of their current three-way tie for fifth place as they return to the comforts of Ingalls Rink after back-to-back weekends on the road.

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Coming off a three-point campaign in upstate New York, the Bulldogs — sitting just one win out of second place — are poised to climb even further in the ECAC rankings with a win over the Big Green. Although the two teams have not battled it out on the ice for conference points yet this season, the Elis defeated Dartmouth, 6-3, when the two squads faced off in a scrimmage in early October.

Since then, both squads have had their shares of ups and downs this season, although the Bulldogs have put forth more consistent play in the ECAC, garnering twice as many points as Dartmouth.

But the Big Green are not to be underestimated, as they did manage to pull of an impressive 3-1 victory over conference frontrunner Clarkson in early January. Dartmouth senior forward J.T. Wyman, who leads the Big Green in scoring with 13 tallies, contributed a goal and an assist in the victory and veteran goalie Mike Devine put up 36 stops. Devine was a major factor in the Bulldogs’ heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Big Green at the Whale last year as well, although the Elis did find a way to get the puck past him in their 4-2 victory in Hanover earlier in the 2006-’07 season.