PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Two second-period goals within a minute and a half and an empty-netter were the difference as Princeton earned a playoff berth in a 4-1 win over host Brown.
Sophomore forward George Parros led the way with a goal and an assist, and junior Dave Stathos was strong in net, letting just one goal by while stopping 31.
The game was all knotted at 1-1 until 16:50 into the second, when Scott Prime put the Tigers up for good. Just over a minute later, Parros added one to extend the score to 3-1, where it would stand until the final seconds.
“At some point in the game we realized they wouldn’t give us any slack,” Parros said. “We stepped up our game and held on for a good win.”
Prime’s goal came shortly after a two-on-one chance. After an over-aggressive Brown defenseman gave up the opportunity, Prime put in the second chance to put them on top 2-1.
Parros found the net after a Brown defensive error left him all alone in front. He got a nice goalmouth pass from Brad Parson and drilled it by Brown freshman goalie Yann Danis.
“After we took it in along the boards, I dished it off to [Neil] McCann,” Parros said. “I somehow got left alone in front, and all I had to do was just put it in.”
It was Princeton jumping out the 3-1 lead, after Brown had basically controlled the first and much of the second. The Bears got on the board first, thanks to the fine play of the freshman line of Shane Mudryk, Brent Robinson, and Adam Saunders.
It was this line that got Brown on the board on their first shift, as a shot off the stick of Saunders was heading wide, but Mudryk batted it out of mid-air past Stathos. Later in the first these three had more scoring chances and drew a penalty, but the Bears never extended the lead.
“It was an ugly first period,” Princeton head coach Len Quesnelle said. “We started playing with fundamentals midway through the second and that helped us get on top.”
The Tigers, who are unbeaten in their last four games, evened it up at a point where Brown had significant momentum. Just after the halfway point of the first, Parros walked out from the left side and fired a shot on net that was redirected in by David Del Monte. Despite playing a strong period, frustrating Princeton with just long soft shots and little time in the Bears’ zone, Brown went to the locker room tied at 1-1.
The Bears controlled the early action in the second, with strong play down low in the Tigers’ end. But an over-zealous offense finally got burned for two quick goals, which put them down for the count.
“It’s kind of the same old story for us,” Brown head coach Roger Grillo said. “It’s a nightmare over and over. We just can’t finish. That third goal was just a mental lapse.”
Brown had some great chances in the third to get within one, but couldn’t materialize on the scoreboard. A five-on-three opportunity went down the drain, with just a few shots finding their way to the net. Stathos made 12 saves, some fabulous, to shut the door.
In the closing minutes, Brown emptied the net and finally got a solid shot to the cage. But it bounced out to senior forward Shane Campbell, who skated in down and filled the empty net to make it a 4-1 final.
“The last couple weekends of hockey have been crucial for us,” Quesnelle said. “We clamped down defensively, and that is a tribute to Dave [Stathos] and the whole team for playing better together.”