PRINCETON, N.J. — It was just another typical nail-biter in the ECAC, especially for Yale and Princeton, two teams accustomed to close games this year.
The two teams tied for fifth place in the ECAC staged a classic battle at Baker Rink tonight, as Bulldogs goalie Dan Lombard made 37 saves and the defense went 6-for-6 killing penalties to help Yale pull out a 4-3 win on Tuesday night.
For Yale (5-2-0, 3-2-0 ECAC) it was their fifth one-goal win of the season. Princeton (2-2-3, 1-2-2 ECAC) has only had one game that wasn’t decided by a single goal or end in a tie. In its only other loss, Vermont scored a late third-period goal to win last Friday.
This time, Jeff Dwyer’s blast with 1:56 left in the game gave Yale the winning margin.
The Bulldogs opened the scoring 7:33 into the first period when senior Peter Toomey followed up a Lee Jelenic shot with a backhander from eight feet out. It was Toomey’s first goal of the year and second of his Yale career.
The Tigers evened the score on a 4-on-4 a little over five minutes later. Princeton captain Kirk Lamb charged the net with the puck and collided with Eli defenseman John Gauger. The two players slid on the ice and took out Yale goalie Dan Lombard before the puck rolled into the back of the net.
Yale took the lead again after Dwyer carried the puck around the net and put it in front of the Princeton crease. Bulldog forward Evan Wax got the first shot off but it was blocked by goalie Dave Stathos. However, Adam Sauve was there to put in the rebound at 6:08, his first goal of the season.
Yale had a golden chance to increase the lead thanks to a pair of power plays. But the second man advantage turned into a shorthanded goal for the home team after Dwyer turned the puck over near the Yale net. Ethan Doyle grabbed the loose puck and fed Thomas Colclough for a quick one-timer that Lombard had no chance to stop.
Both power plays struggled for most of the first two periods. Yale finally broke through with its first man-advantage goal in 10 tries. Jeff Hamilton’s slap shot from the point found the stick of Nick Deschenes, who whipped it past Stathos with 11 seconds left in the second period for his team-high sixth goal of the year.
Princeton had a chance at redemption on its own power play early in the third period, but Lombard made four big saves during the kill, allowing Yale to cling to the 3-2 lead. The Tigers had another great chance to even things when Robert Mutter fell at the Princeton blueline and a 2-on-1 rush came toward Lombard. Fortunately for Yale, forward Jason Noe raced back to help and Lombard came up with another huge stop with just over nine minutes remaining.
Princeton finally capitalized on a Bulldog mistake when Gabe Polsky’s rink-wide passing attempt was picked off. The puck wound up on the stick of Shane Campbell, who easily made the quick deposit for a 3-3 score at 12:32.
But Hamilton, a legitimate Hobey Baker Award candidate, stole the puck in the Princeton end and fired a quick pass to Dwyer at the point, setting up the winning goal with 1:56 left in the period.