CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Princeton men’s hockey team kept coming back all night long against No. 17 Harvard, but the Crimson scored the decisive goal in overtime, skating to a 5-4 win over the Tigers on Friday at the Bright Hockey Center.
The teams played a back-and-forth opening period that saw Harvard take a 1-0 lead at the 11:43 mark. Peter Hafner took the puck off the boards at the left hash mark and threw the puck towards the net where it deflected off the skate of Kevin Du and into the Tiger goal. Ryan Maki also assisted on the goal.
Princeton evened the score at 1-1 when junior Brett Westgarth scored his third goal of the season on a blast from the point through traffic at 19:38 of the period. Juniors Daryl Marcoux and Grant Goeckner-Zoeller assisted on the goal. Goeckner-Zoeller’s assist lengthened his point-scoring streak to eight games.
Looking to enter the period tied, the Tigers had a momentary lapse late as the Crimson scored to make the score 2-1 with four seconds left in the period. Paul Dufault won an offensive zone face off, and Dave Watters released a quick shot that beat Princeton senior netminder Eric Leroux high on the glove side to send Harvard to the locker room with a lead.
The Tigers started the second period on the power play and, although they were unable to score on that opportunity, the Tigers used the early momentum to even the score at 2-2 at the 11:54 mark of the period. Freshman Lee Jubinville worked the puck to senior Seamus Young on the point whose slap shot was saved by Harvard netminder John Daigneau, but the puck squeaked through him and junior Brett Wilson was the first man to the puck as he slid it into the goal for his 10th score of the season.
Once again Princeton appeared in good shape late in the period, but the Tigers’ fourth penalty of the frame allowed Harvard to score the go-ahead goal to take a 3-2 lead to the third period. With 47 seconds left in the period, Du collected a rebound on the doorstep and scored on the open side of the net for his second goal of the game. Maki and Dylan Reese assisted on the power-play goal.
The wild game continued into the third period as the teams traded three goals in the period to force overtime after a 4-4 deadlock. First Princeton knotted the game at 3-3 when Young scored his third goal of the season on a rebound in front of a point-shot by senior defenseman Brian Carthas. Junior Darroll Powe also assisted on the goal.
Harvard reclaimed the lead at 9:43 when Du completed the hat trick with assists from Dufault and Tom Walsh. Du followed up on the rebound of his own shot for the goal and it came on the power play.
Princeton answered back through for the third time in the game when Goeckner-Zoeller tallied his 13th goal of the season. Junior Kevin Westgarth gloved down a Harvard clearing attempt behind the goal line and fed it to Goeckner-Zoeller who circled in front and waited as Daigneau went to the ice, then scored to make the score 4-4. The goal came with the man advantage.
The game was tight from that point on as Harvard had the better of the scoring chances but Princeton certainly kept pressure on Daigneau’s goal. Neither team could score over the final nine minutes and the game went to overtime.
The overtime did not disappoint the Harvard fans as the Crimson scored the game-winner 1:46 into the session to pull off the win. Harvard had several good chances early and drew a penalty shot 56 seconds into the OT session when the Tiger defenders intentionally knocked the net off the moorings during a flurry in front.
Du, already with three goals on the night took the penalty shot for Harvard and came in on Leroux. Du decided to shoot and at the hash marks went high on the glove side and hit the cross bar with the puck bounding up into the boards behind the goal.
Safe for a moment, Harvard pressured right away off the ensuing face off. Jon Pelle handled the puck into the zone and fed Reese after a change. Reese controlled the puck before putting towards the goal, where Pelle deflected the shot by Leroux to win the game for the Crimson.
The goal spoiled a 51-save effort for Leroux, who faced 56 shots in the game. Daigneau faced 28 Princeton shots and stopped 24.
The loss drops Princeton to 9-14-1 overall and 6-10-1 in the league while Harvard is now 13-8-2 overall and 10-7-1 in the league.