PRINCETON, N.J. — So close.
No. 19 Princeton is now unbeaten in its last three games after skating to a 3-3 tie with Harvard this afternoon at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink, although the Tigers were within a minute of their third straight win. The first deadlock between the two Ivy League rivals since March 2001 came after the visiting Crimson tied the game with 57 seconds left on an extra-attacker score by Michael Biega.
“We got it in the zone and threw it in the corner, and Louis LeBlanc made a great pass,” said Biega. “I was all alone and I just tapped it in.”
Zane Kalemba made 34 saves for the Tigers, who notched two power-play goals, while Kyle Richter recorded 28 stops for the Crimson.
“It was a typical, tough Ivy League game,” said Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky. “They fought and clawed the whole way as well.”
Princeton opened the scoring midway through the second period with a man advantage. Cam McIntyre, who won last night’s game against Dartmouth in overtime, whirled in the right circle and backhanded a shot on net that Richter stopped. Several players took whacks at the rebound before Dan Bartlett pushed it inside the far post at 9:27 for his third goal of the season.
The Tigers didn’t have to wait long for their next tally. Mark Magnowski won the ensuing faceoff to Taylor Fedun, who carried the puck down the right side and into the right circle, where he fed Mike Kramer coming down the slot. Kramer’s one-timer went off Richter and dropped to the ice, where it slid over the goal line at 9:34 for his team-leading fourth goal.
Things were just getting started.
Doug Rogers got the Crimson on the board when he kept the puck in the Princeton zone and wristed a shot from the left circle high to Kalemba’s glove side at 11:21 to make it 2-1. Harvard then almost tied it while killing a penalty a few minutes later, when Rence Coassin jumped on a loose puck off a faceoff to Kalemba’s right and got off a backhander in close that was denied.
“I thought we played well most of the game, and in the second period we did a lot of good things and had chances,” said Harvard coach Ted Donato. “We’ve got to tighten up some details.”
Princeton regained its two-goal advantage at 16:09 when Sam Sabky, standing at the near post, tipped home Brad Schroeder’s shot from the right point for his first of the season. Harvard’s Alex Biega matched that just 61 seconds later with his own first goal, as he swept out of the left corner and around a sprawled Kalemba before he tucked the puck in on the far side to make it a 3-2 affair.
The action went back-and-forth in the final 20 minutes of regulation, with 22 shots on goal in all, but neither team could get one through until Michael Biega struck.
Richter, who stopped all 14 shots he faced in the last period, was pulled for an extra attacker with just over a minute left, as the puck went into the right corner of the Princeton zone. First-round NHL draft choice Leblanc then centered to Biega at the right inner hashmarks, and his one-timer beat Kalemba high to the stick side at 19:03. Kalemba then stopped Biega’s point-blank backhander with 17 seconds left before overtime, where neither side could manage one more score.
“I thought Kyle was excellent, and looked solid,” said Donato. “Both teams battled, and we made a play at the end to tie it.”
“I felt our best period was the third,” said Gadowsky. “I thought we were coming together, and Zane made some phenomenal saves and gave us an opportunity to win.”
Princeton (3-2-1, 2-1-1 ECAC) will now take to the road for nine games, starting at Cornell next weekend, before returning home on Jan. 4. Harvard (1-3-1, 1-3-1 ECAC) will host St. Lawrence on Friday night.