HAMILTON, N.Y. — With under five minutes remaining in the third period, the Princeton Tigers were holding on to a 3-2 lead against the Colgate Raiders.
For the second time in as many games, however, Colgate was able to come from behind in the final frame to stave off defeat. Raider forward Dmitry Yashin took the puck behind the Tiger net and fed P.J. Yedon who was parked in the slot. Yedon fired a snap shot past the glove of Princeton goalie Dave Stathos to knot the game up at three. Neither team could muster another goal, and the match ended in a tie.
Yedon scored two goals on the night and assisted on the third, which earned him the first star of the game.
Said Raider head Coach Don Vaughan, “That was the best game that [Yedon] has ever played here. The kid was in the zone. That line has played well for us. Brad [D'Arco]‘s been playing well too. They like playing together and are best friends. But Yedon was the best player on the ice tonight.”
Apart from Yedon, many other players on both squads made an impact in the game. Both Stathos and Raider goaltender David Cann stood on their heads to keep the game close late.
“[Stathos] was as good as he’s ever been,” commented Tiger coach Len Quesnelle. “He was square to the puck and deflecting everything at a grade-A. I thought he kept his composure when Colgate started to run hard at the net.”
Said Vaughan, “Both goaltenders played unbelievable. [Stathos] has had great games every time we’ve played against him including down there in our 2-1 loss earlier. Both of those guys made three or four game saving saves. David stopped a breakaway and a two-on-none break. Their guy got a little help from the goalposts too, but good goalies get those breaks.”
The Tigers got on the board first in the opening period with a power play goal. After cycling the puck for close to a minute, Brad Parsons threw the puck back to David Schneider who was positioned at the blue line. Schneider wristed the puck through traffic past a screened Cann, giving Princeton the 1-0 advantage.
Princeton’s power play had been struggling coming into tonight’s game. Prior to Schneider’s goal the Tigers had failed to score in 15 man advantage situations dating back to January 5.
Said Quesnelle, “I think it’s a matter of confidence. The power play was poised moving the puck and the guys set themselves in position for shots. I can’t explain it from one night to the next. Some nights it works and some nights it doesn’t work. But the problem is most nights it hasn’t been working.”
Colgate tied the game just 47 seconds into the second period. A shot from the point hit a skate in front and slid softly behind Stathos and into the crease. Yedon was there to slam the puck into the open net, evening the game at 1-1.
Princeton was able to quickly regain the lead when their power play struck again, this time with the two-man advantage. Parsons received a puck at the side of the net and roofed it past a scrambling Cann.
“Brad had a good game tonight,” added Quisnelle. “I thought his line had a good game. They moved the puck well and created chances for themselves. They were jumping on loose pucks and skating people down all night.”
Princeton seemed to establish some breathing room when Sharam Fouladgar-Mercer made a terrific individual effort. After taking a long rebound from Stathos, the Princeton forward burst up the ice and rocketed a shot on net. Cann made the initial save, but Fouladgar-Mercer drove to the net and tapped in his own rebound giving the Tigers a two goal lead heading into the final period.
Colgate’s pressure as the game progressed led to their second goal midway through the third. D’Arco was able to find the back of the net after Stathos had made multiple saves in a row during a terrific Raider shift. Seven minutes later was able to tie the game and salvage a point against a team that has given them problems in the past.
“I think part of it is psychological,” said Vaughan. “They’ve had our number, and when they lace them up every guy in their locker room knows that. I don’t think that our guys are over-thinking it, but there is probably some psychological stuff going on there. I’m not sure how much of that played into it tonight. I thought both teams played very hard.”
With the tie the Raiders improved their undefeated streak to seven games and their record to 11-13-2 (8-6-2 ECAC). They now sit in a tie for fourth place in the conference with idle Dartmouth. Meanwhile the Tigers slipped to tenth in the ECAC as their record stands at 7-15-1 (6-9-1 ECAC).
Princeton will attempt to move up the standings when they host RPI next Friday. The Raiders having enjoyed a five game home stand will travel to face Vermont.