PRINCETON, N.J. — Dan Bartlett’s four-point night, including his first career hat trick and the game-winning goal in overtime, propelled Princeton to a 4-3 win over No. 8 Quinnipiac tonight before a crowd of 1,221 at Hobey Baker Rink.
“It was a good win against a good team,” said Bartlett after tallying the deciding goal at 2:45 of overtime following a short scramble in the Quinnipiac end.
The win came in Princeton’s first game at home since a 3-3 tie with Harvard on Nov. 14, and stretched the Tigers’ unbeaten streak to four games. Quinnipiac is now 1-4-1 in its last six outings.
“I thought we struggled in the first half,” said Bobcats’ coach Rand Pecknold. “They took it to us, and we battled back and did a good job, but we didn’t protect the puck well.”
Alan Reynolds made 22 saves for the Tigers in making his second straight start, while Dan Clarke had 30 stops for the Bobcats in making his own second consecutive start.
“I thought we played well, and Dan had three beautiful goals and a great assist” said Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky. “It was an excellent hockey game that could have gone either way.”
The first period was scoreless, but barely. Yuri Bouharevich, stationed in front of the Princeton net, got his stick on a shot from the right point, but the puck bounced off the far post and stayed out with 13:34 left. Greg Holt also had a deflection in close less than 30 seconds prior, but Reynolds made a pad save. Princeton’s Kyle Hagel had a point-blank chance with 5:40 left, but was denied by Clarke.
The middle period was nothing like the first, as the Tigers took a 1-0 lead just 4:09 in. Mike Kramer’s wrist shot from the left point was stopped by Clarke, as was Bartlett’s first rebound attempt; but he then reached around Clarke to tuck the puck in on the far side for his team-leading ninth goal of the campaign.
Things were just getting started, as Princeton made it 2-0 after Quinnipiac’s Mike Dalhuisen was sent off for tripping. Bartlett did the honors at 6:15, deflecting home a shot by Brad Schroeder from the left point with 35 seconds left in the power play.
“Our goal is to get as much traffic in front of the net as possible,” said Bartlett. “I just tried to get to the net, and it worked out.:
The two-goal lead didn’t last though, as the visitors pulled within one on their ensuing attack. Freshman forward D’Arcy Oakes walked out of the left corner and fired a shot past Reynolds at 6:52 to put the Bobcats on the board, assisted by fellow rookie Ben Arnt.
The Bartlett-Kramer duo then responded at 10:14 to put the Tigers back up by two. Bartlett carried into the right circle on a rush, juggled the puck for an instant, and then recovered to send a pass through the slot to Kramer at the far post. Kramer slammed it home for his sixth of the season.
Quinnipiac still wouldn’t go away, and cut the lead to 3-2 with just 42 seconds remaining before intermission. Oakes tried to stickhandle between two Princeton defenders past the opposing blue line when the puck suddenly bounced into the air. Oakes gloved it down in the middle of the left circle, got it up to his stick, and then roofed a shot just under the crossbar for his second tally of the night.
“He made a heck of a play,” said Gadowsky.
Quinnipiac tied it with just over seven minutes gone in the final session. Scott Zurevinski sped down the right wing in the Princeton zone and then pulled up along the goal line and headed towards the net. His first try was turned aside by Reynolds’ right pad, but Zurevinski was able to knock the rebound in while falling down to make it 3-3 at 7:13.
“We won more pucks and won more races,” said Pecknold of the game’s progression. “We started to gain confidence.”
The Bobcats had a prime opportunity to take their first lead when Princeton was whistled for back-to-back infractions just 34 seconds apart, including a delay-of-game penalty to Reynolds for covering the puck outside the crease, but the Tigers held.
The end came quickly in the extra session. The Tigers forced a turnover in the offensive zone, and Bartlett picked up the puck off his skate in the left circle. He waited for a defender to go down, cut to the middle of the slot, and then went upstairs on Clarke’s stick side to end it.
“We’ve had quite a few overtime games, and we try to get as many pucks as we can to the net,” said Bartlett. “I just fired and it went in.”