First the familiar offensive names for Princeton like Mark Kovler, Tommy Davis, the McBride cousins and the rest got second-ranked Princeton a lead. Then the two kids made it stand up.
Freshman goalie Tyler Fiorito saved a tough shot from Jason Duboe with 38 seconds to play and freshman defender Chad Wiedmaier stripped Dean Gibbons with five seconds to play to preserve second-ranked Princeton’s 10-9 win over No. 15 Harvard in front of 2,268 at the Class of 1952 Stadium.
The win improved Princeton to 10-1 overall, 3-0 in the Ivy League, heading into next week’s showdown in Ithaca against No. 3 Cornell, 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the league, in a game between the last two remaining Ivy unbeatens. Harvard fell to 5-4 overall, 1-2 in the league and has now lost to Cornell and Princeton by one-goal each on consecutive Saturdays.
“Harvard’s a very, very tough team,” said Princeton coach Bill Tierney. “We were very fortunate to win.”
The win was Princeton’s second 10-9 win in four days after the Tigers defeated Penn in overtime by the same score in Philadelphia Tuesday night. It was also Princeton’s 19th straight win over the Crimson, including back-to-back one-goal wins after a 9-8 win in overtime in Cambridge a year ago
Bob Schneider, who scored the tying and winning goals as the Tigers rallied to win the 2008 game against Harvard, was in the stands for the 2009 game watching some former teammates build the lead and then two players he never had a chance to play with make their big plays.
The game was tied at halftime at 5-5, but Princeton appeared to take control with leads of 8-5 at the end of three quarters and 9-6 when Kovler scored his second goal of the day with 8:41 to go. That goal gave Kovler two goals and two assists on the day and made him the 22nd player in program history to reach 100 career points.
Harvard wouldn’t go away, though, scoring back-to-back goals from Duboe and Kevin Vaughan to get within one with five minutes left. Jack McBride scored his second goal with 1:58 to play to make it a two-goal game again, but Harvard answered again, winning the face-off and then getting within one on Gibbons’ third of the day, with 1:16 left.
Again Harvard would win the face-off, and it gave the Crimson a chance to try to get the equalizer. The first chance came when Duboe let loose with a low shot through traffic from 10 yards out up top, but Fiorito was able to get his stick on it. The resulting loose ball bounced to the sideline, where two Princeton players and three Harvard players all dove fully extended and appeared to reach the sideline at the exact same time.
Harvard was awarded possession and called timeout with 33 seconds left. When play resumed, the Crimson got the ball to Gibbons, who worked one-on-one against Wiedmaier to Fiorito’s left.
“I was thinking back to his first goal,” said Wiedmaier, who finished with three caused turnovers. “He worked really hard to get back to his left, and I played him for that.”
Wiedmaier was able to knock the ball loose from Gibbons, and Charlie Kolkin scooped it up. Kolkin then lifted the ball down the field as time expired.