NEWARK, N.J. — The Dartmouth Big Green thoroughly outplayed the Princeton Tigers for the first half of their hockey game on Friday night and outshot them for the duration of it, but the Tigers found a way to get a 3-2 overtime victory. The game was played as part of the Princeton-hosted Liberty Hockey Invitational, being held at Prudential Center, home of the NHL’s New Jersey Devils.
Dartmouth absolutely dominated the first period, outshooting Princeton 19-5. Princeton’s senior goaltender Sean Bonar kept the Tigers in it however, making a number of top-notch saves among the 38 he had to make in all, including two on first period breakaways, and one on a short-handed two-on-none that denied junior center Charlie Mosey a goal.
“I think we played really well the entire game,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “It was just one of those games where it was a bounce. Their goaltender played very, very well. I think on another night, it’s a decisive win. I thought we played really well from start to finish.”
Junior left wing Tucker Brockett, who got the game-winning goal in OT, was more demonstrative.
“If it wasn’t for this guy, the score wouldn’t have even been close. Sean stood on his head, and whenever he’s going, we’re going. He’ll make 30, 40, 50 saves a game, doesn’t even matter.”
The Big Green outshot the Tigers by a count of 40-20 for the entire game. To his credit, Bonar thought the period was a bit of an anomaly on a team lead.
“You know, first game, maybe there’s a little bit of jumpiness, and a couple mistakes in our own zone, but I was ready for it. I think our guys picked it up after that and had a great game following the first period.”
The Big Green continued to play well and only be thwarted by the excellent play of Bonar in the second. The two teams got into penalty trouble toward the end of the middle frame, and Princeton finally managed to break through. After having a potential goal called off due to the net being dislodged, the Tigers struck for one that counted. Senior forward Jack Berger found himself alone in the right circle and fired a turnaround wrist shot that beat James Kruger between the legs.
The Tigers came out with a different energy to their game in the third period, controlling the play early on. They were rewarded quickly, with a goal on a deflection by freshman center Ben Foster. It came off a hard slap shot from the point by defenseman Tom Kroshus. The goal was Foster’s first college goal in his first college game.
Dartmouth picked its game back up and finally managed to beat Bonar a little over a minute after Foster’s goal. The Big Green’s fourth line cashed in with a goal by sophomore winger (and New Jersey Hitmen alumnus) Jack Barre. Once they got Kruger off the ice for an extra attacker, they finally put on a full press, but it was on a rush that they got the game’s tying goal. Out of almost nowhere, junior forward Eric Neiley carved up the Princeton zone and deked to his backhand to beat a helpless Bonar and tie the game.
Princeton coach Bob Prier didn’t see any discouragement in his team following the Neiley goal.
“They’re tough kids. I think the attitude on the bench was ‘Hey, we got some bonus hockey to play. Let’s go out and do it, we’re playing hockey, it’s not the end of the world here.’ They had a good attitude.”
He noted Andrew Caloff’s creative play with setting up Brockett’s game-winner, and credited the entire club with a great amount of resiliency.
“It’s nice to learn some lessons and still come away with a ‘W.’”