Monday, February 29, 2016

Tigers, Bears Tie in ECAC Finale

I saw what was probably my last live hockey game of the 2015-16 NCAA season with Brown's 2-2 ECAC tie at Princeton on Saturday (while also turning 47 myself). It was the final regular-season game for both schools, and was also the final appearance ever at Hobey Baker Rink for Princeton’s Class of 2016.

Davey Middleton, a native of Novi, Mich. where I last lived before returning to New Jersey in 2000, scored Brown's first goal less than a minute into the second period on a solo shorthanded rush, the first shorthander of the season for the Bears. Stuart Pomeroy tied the game for Princeton just over three minutes later with his first career collegiate goal, but Brown went back up on top in Tyler's Bird 5-on-3 power-play tally that sailed upwards and then dropped into the net with just under six minutes left in the second session.

The score remained unchanged until the Tigers pulled Colton Phinney (35 saves) for an extra attacker and then hit pay dirt with seven seconds remaining in regulation. The Tigers kept the puck inside the Brown zone, with Ryan Kuffner accepting a pass that stayed just inside the blueline at the right point. Kuffner then fed Eric Robinson in the right circle, and Robinson’s backhand feed into the slot was fired home by Princeton leading goal-scorer Max Verroneau.

Brown netminder Tim Ernst (43 saves) preserved the tie in overtime with a stabbing glove save on a 2-on-1 attempt by the Tigers. Princeton outshot Brown, 45-37, on the night, including 25-9 over the final 25 minutes of play.

Princeton (5-21-3 overall, 3-16-3 ECAC) finished in 12th place in the ECAC and will visit fifth-seeded Clarkson in a best-of-three league preliminary series this weekend. Brown (5-17-7, 31-3-6) wound up in 10th place and will visit seventh-seeded Rensselaer in their own best-of-three series that also begins Friday.

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