PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton University only scored two goals on the weekend, but that was enough to at least give the conference favorite its first ECAC victory of the season on Saturday afternoon. One day after surrendering just one goal in a tough loss to No. 17 Cornell, the No. 9 Tigers rebounded for a 2-1 overtime victory over visiting Colgate before 1,599 fans at Hobey Baker Rink.
Kevin Lohry’s slap shot from the right circle at 2:16 of overtime proved to be the difference after Colgate (4-2, 1-1 ECAC) had tied the game with just 4:26 remaining in regulation on a superlative solo effort by freshman Austin Smith.
“Our line did a good job keeping it in,” said Lohry of his game-winner for Princeton (2-1, 1-1 ECAC). “I picked my head up and looked for a lane, and I was lucky to find one.”
Brad Schroeder and Kevin Kaiser assisted on Lohry’s shot, which beat Colgate netminder Charles Long on the far side.
“It’s disappointing, but it was still a great game,” said Colgate Coach Don Vaughan afterwards. “It was two teams battling hard, at a good pace, and both goalies played well.”
Long finished with 32 saves on the day, while Princeton’s Zane Kalemba stopped 26 shots. The two teams combined to go 0-for-7 on the power play.
“It’s tough to lose,” said Vaughan of the winning goal by the host Tigers. “It was a bad bounce that went off three or four skates and back to their guy, but they’re the defending champs. They’re picked to win it again, and they deserve to be there.”
Princeton opened the scoring just 75 seconds into the contest on a goal by senior Brett Wilson after he had been knocked down in the neutral zone by Colgate defenseman David Sloane. Wilson got up and raced to the far end where he put the puck home at the right post with help from Mike Kramer and Lee Jubinville for the Tigers’ first goal of the 2008-09 campaign.
“If there’s a chance to score a goal, he’ll do everything he can,” said Princeton Coach Guy Gadowsky of Wilson. “He’s as hungry to score goals and to win as anybody, and that one gave us a little confidence back.”
Kalemba kept it a 1-0 game early in the second stanza when he stopped Peter Bogdanich’s point-blank attempt. Long then matched that save when he stopped Tyler Beachell three minutes later when Beachell skated in alone from between the circles.
Kalemba preserved the lead with eight-and-a-half minutes left in the third period when he turned aside David McIntyre’s blast off a neat set-up in the Princeton zone, but Smith finally knotted matters with less than five minutes to go. The Dallas native and Dallas Stars’ draft choice whirled out of the left corner and put a backhander on net that Kalemba stopped; but the Raiders kept the puck down low and eventually it went back to Smith, who swerved to his right and past Kalemba before depositing the disk into the Tigers’ cage.
“He’s a great player,” said Vaughan of Smith. “He has tremendous skill and sees the ice well, and he made a great move on the goal.”
The goal was the second of Smith’s young career and also ended Kalemba’s shutout streak of 124:08 against the Raiders that dated back to February. The New Jersey native blanked Colgate 3-0 in the two schools’ last meeting in the ECAC semifinals in Albany back in March.
Princeton got the only five shots in the extra session when Lohry ended it to extend the Tigers’ winning streak over the Raiders to five games.
“It’s disappointing that we didn’t get out with a point,” said Vaughan. “We at least deserved that, but we played well and they’re the best team in the league until somebody beats them.”
“I thought for the most part we were very good on defense on the weekend,” said Gadowsky. “We held two excellent teams to two goals, and we’ll take that.”
He added that Kalemba has continued to provide a calming influence on his teammates from back in his net, although the low amount of goals scored at Baker Rink this weekend might have astonished some onlookers.
“It’s a little bit surprising,” said Gadowsky. “We scored two and gave up two. People probably expected many more, and you can look at that positively and negatively.”
The Tigers hope to see injured forward Cam MacIntyre return soon to help bolster a Princeton power play that has cashed in just twice in 17 opportunities so far this season. MacIntyre finished third on the team with 13 goals a year ago.
“You certainly won’t win many games in the ECAC without a good power play,” said Gadowsky. “We miss MacIntyre, and there’s not a team in the nation that wouldn’t get better with him in the lineup.”
Princeton now travels to Quinnipiac on Tuesday night, while Colgate will host Cornell on Nov. 13 in the first game of a home-and-home affair.