Senior goaltender Colton Phinney made a season-high 46 saves as Princeton fell to No. 4 Harvard 5-2. The Tigers trailed by just one goal and tried to net the equalizer with Phinney on the bench, but the Crimson tacked on two empty-net goals.
Phinney is just five saves away from becoming the Princeton all-time record holder in saves. Ronald Dennis '83 is the current record holder with 2,951 saves.
"It's frustrating because it was a great effort tonight," Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty said comparing last night with tonight. "That's the learning curve. That's something we had ironed out and were consistent with during that stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Coming off the break I didn't think we'd be rusty, but we were and I thought we played better tonight, though it was a lot of shots by Harvard. But we should sustainability in their zone. We battled back to make it 2-2 on the road against one of the top teams in the country. When you do that, you're doing something well. That's two games now we've been tied with Harvard in the third, now we just have to get skilled players and over the hump."
Sophomore defender Josh Teves gave Princeton (7-10-1, 3-8-1) the lead with his second goal of the season. It came at 6:45 after senior Garrett Skrbich won a draw to the right of Merrick Madsen and senior Ryan Siiro fed Teves at the left point. He rifled a shot that deflected off a Harvard defender and into the goal.
Harvard (11-2-1, 7-1-1) gained the lead with two goals 59 seconds. The first was scored in a similar fashion to Princeton's as a shot by Jake Horton banked in off a Tiger defender and into the net with Luke Esposito receiving credit with the assist at 17:52.
After junior David Hallisey was called for holding, the Tigers looked to kill off their fourth penalty of the game but the Crimson, entering the weekend ranked first in the nation in power play, had other plans. Freshman Adam Fox, fresh off a World Junior Championship, redirected a shot as he stood at the left point to tip in an Alexander Kerfoot shot from the point.
Freshman Jackson Cressey knotted it at 2-2 at 3:02 of the third period. Playing on a line with Max Véronneau and Ryan Kuffner for the first time this season, in place of Alex Riche, the ECAC Rookie of the December net his fourth goal of the season. Kuffner forced a turnover in the neutral zone and Véronneau skated the puck into the zone, dropping it off for Cressey in the slot and he put it over the blocker of Madsen.
Kerfoot erased the tie with a goal 1:10 later when he roofed a shot over the shoulder of Phinney after skating around to find room to release his shot. Ryan Donato and John Marino assisted.
Princeton pulled Phinney with 1:15 remaining but 15 seconds later Seb Lloyd popped in an empty-net goal. Donato added a second empty-net goal with 3.7 seconds left.
Harvard's Madsen finished with 31 saves as shots fell 51-33.
Princeton was 0 for 2 on the power play, while Harvard was 1 for 4.
The Tigers return home next weekend to face Cornell and Colgate on Jan. 13 & 14 at Hobey Baker Rink.