The Crimson stickmen's eight-game winning streak came to a screeching halt Saturday afternoon, when visiting Princeton scored a last-minute goal and roared off the Business School field with a 9-8 victory, threatening Harvard's number-seven national ranking.
With the score tied for the seventh time, the closing minutes of the drama seemed endless to everyone but the Crimson. For the last part of the game the Harvard squad fell prey to the Princeton pressure tactics, and when with one minute left Tiger Carl Nissen pegged one from the crease the Crimson stickmen couldn't rebound.
Harvard's Brendan Meagher opened the scoring when he reached back and whipped one in between Princeton netminder Peter Cordrey's legs. Cordrey tried in vain to bump it out with a leg but only deflected it to the ground where it rolled in with 3:38 gone.
Then, with the Tigers a man down, Rich Rainaldi cut to the front of the crease, took a pass from fellow attackman Norm Forbush, and pushed in another tally to give the stickmen a 2-0 edge, the largest lead of the seasaw battle.
Back in Action
Less than a minute later, the Tigers jumped back into the action with a quickstick goal from midfielder George Brush.
Princeton scratched out two more scores to close out the first period with a one-goal edge. On the third Princeton score, Dave Heubeck nabbed the first of just two assists for the afternoon. Ordinarily the lanky Tiger attackman plays a bigger role, but after a second assist early in the second quarter Heubeck realized his luck had run out when he saw Haywood Miller waiting patiently to handcuff him the rest of the way.
With Heubeck out of the way, the Tigers turned to Bob Thomas. The talented attackman notched two goals and two assists for the afternoon. Both assists and one goal came with the two teams tied and helped put the Tigers back on top.
Equalling Thomas's second half goal total was capable Harvard middie Peter Predun, who opened the third quarter with a 10-yd. hard grounder for the go-ahead goal.
Predun then came to the rescue early in the final round. With the Crimson down 8-7, he passed to Gary Pedroni on the fastbreak who tossed it back before Predun bounced in the tying marker at 5:49. During the whole game and even more in the tense final quarter, the durable Predun and his teammates took another large dose of physical abuse from their over-anxious opponents.
"No one played a bad game, we just wanted this one so much. We all went out and tried to get it by ourselves and forgot to play the structured team offense that allows us to score consistently in the tough games," co-captain Dave Wigglesworth said yesterday.
With its league schedule complete Harvard will have to wait on Princeton, Brown and Cornell all of which have a shot to share the Ivy crown with it.