PRINCETON, N.J. — Sophomore Sean Muncy fired in the winning goal 1:24 into overtime to lift Brown over Princeton 4-3 in Game 1 of the first round of the ECAC Hockey League playoffs.
For the third time this season and the fifth in the last five meetings between the teams, Princeton and Brown played into overtime with this marking Brown’s first win over the Tigers this season.
The Tigers fall to 13-14-3, while the Bears are now 11-13-6.
Brown got on the board just 1:22 into the game with Princeton’s senior Kevin Westgarth in the penalty box. Senior Brian Ihnacak set up a shot for junior Chris Poli, but Poli’s shot was saved by freshman goalie Zane Kalemba. Sophomore Ryan Garbutt fired in the rebound and found the back of the net for his eighth goal of the season.
The Tigers got their best chance at tying it up when they were on the better end of a 5-on-3 situation. With just over five minutes remaining, senior Christian Read took a hard shot from the top of the key, but it was knocked away by the Bears’ goaltender, freshman Dan Rosen.
The Tigers outshot the Bears 14-8 in the first period. Most of the first session was spent in power-play mode, as both teams came out fired up. A skater was in the penalty box for a combined 16 minutes of the first session.
Princeton tied the contest at 6:43 of the second. Senior Grant Goeckner-Zoeller sent the puck to sophomore Brett Wilson in the corner of Brown’s territory, and Wilson skated behind the net and hooked in the goal behind Rosen for his seventh score of the season.
The Tigers took the lead less than two minutes later on junior Kyle Hagel’s fourth goal of the season. Junior Landis Stankievech was trapped in the corner, but got the puck out to Westgarth. Westgarth sent it straight across in front of the goal to Hagel, who fired the puck into the net.
The Tigers’ lead lasted a little over two minutes. Freshman Dan Bartlett was sent to the penalty box at 11:50, and the Bears converted on the power play to lock up the score. Brown junior Jeff Prough found classmate Brian McNary on a scramble in front of the Tigers’ net. McNary knocked the puck into the outside of Kalemba’s glove, and it bounced back into the net for his sixth goal.
Princeton had an opportunity to regain the lead on a power play with just over a minute remaining in the second session. Bartlett took an open shot, but it went inches outside the right side of the net. Junior Mike Moore nearly found the net after picking up Bartlett’s wide shot, but Rosen made a tough save to keep the score tied. Princeton again outshot Brown in the second period 15-6.
The Bears regained the lead at 7:39 in the third stanza on a power play. Freshman Jeremy Russell found Ihnacak’s stick, but Kalemba stopped the shot. However, Garbutt fired in on the rebound for his second goal of the game and Brown’s third power play goal of the contest.
Brown appeared a bit confused on the transition off of a Princeton power play with just over three minutes to go, and Stankievech fired off a shot from the side of the goal. His shot was saved, but senior Daryl Marcoux was in front of the rebound and hit the loose puck in to the left of Rosen for his second goal of the season.
The Tigers nearly put the game away with 1:42 left in regulation, when Westgarth broke away from the defense and tried to find the back of the net. Unfortunately for Princeton, the puck found Rosen’s glove instead.
Moore was sent to the penalty box with 1:06 remaining, but Brown could not convert and the game went to overtime. The Bears edged the Tigers 11-10 in shots in the third session.
Brown started the overtime period on the power play, but again could not convert. The Tigers never regrouped from being shorthanded, though, as play remained in their own territory. A minute later, senior Sean Dersch dug the puck out of the corner in Princeton territory and got it to Ihnacak who attempted the goal. Muncy followed up on the rebound and hit the back of the goal to give Brown the win.
Kalemba made 23 saves in goal for Princeton, while Rosen stopped 36 shots for Brown. The physical contest featured 24 penalties, evenly split between the teams.
Princeton hosts Brown for Game 2 of the best-of-three series on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Hobey Baker Rink. With a win tomorrow, the Tigers would force a Game 3 to be played on Sunday. The winner of the series advances to the ECACHL quarterfinals.