Saturday, March 4, 2017

Princeton Survives in OT, Forces Game Three

Princeton and Colgate will play a third and deciding game on Sunday night to see who advances in the 2017 ECAC Hockey Tournament.

The host Tigers tied Game Two with one second remaining in regulation on Saturday at Hobey Baker Rink, then won it 16:17 into overtime, 4-3, on an unassisted shot from the right wing by Max Veronneau to force a tiebreaking contest in the best-of-three first-round series.

Derek Freeman scored twice for Colgate (9-21-6 overall), including the game-opening goal in the first period and the go-ahead goal in the second session. Jared Cockrell staked the Raiders to a 2-0 lead late in the opening stanza, before Princeton (14-14-3) forged a second-period tie on goals just over eight minutes apart by Jackson Cressey and Ryan Kuffner.

After Freeman’s second goal, the contest remained scoreless until the final minute of regulation, when Eric Robinson dove to poke home a loose puck with one second left, almost a minute after Princeton had pulled goaltender Colton Phinney (31 saves) for a sixth attacker. The Tigers outshot the Raiders, 55-34, on the night, including 36-15 over the final two periods of regulation, although Colgate had nine of the 17 shots on goal in overtime.

Colgate had taken a one game-to-none series lead with a 3-2 victory in overtime on Friday, on a goal by team captain Jake Kulevich. It was the 1,000th win in Colgate’s hockey history dating back to the men’s program’s very beginning in 1915. Saturday’s loss was the first suffered by Colgate senior netminder Charlie Finn (8-1-1) in 10 career games against the Tigers, and also snapped an equivalent unbeaten streak by the Raiders over Princeton that began in 2013.

Game Three will start at 7 p.m. ET on Sunday night. The other three first-round ECAC series have all been decided, with Quinnipiac, Yale and Clarkson advancing with two-step sweeps of Brown, Dartmouth and Rensselaer, respectively. A  Colgate win on Sunday will send the Raiders to top-seeded Harvard next weekend, while a Princeton victory will dispatch the Tigers to second-seeded Union.

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