No one associated with the Harvard women's hockey team could have dreamed a better scenario.
Sometimes, dreams become reality. And Saturday, the Crimson's dream became Princeton's nightmare.
Harvard continued its string of dramatic victories over the Tigers with a 5-4 overtime win in front of its biggest home crowd of the year (200 fans plus the Harvard band.)
The Bright Center audience was treated to outstanding play from the first whistle to the last, and neither team ever held more than a single goal lead.
After Co-Captain Julie Sasner sent the game into overtime with a goal late in the third period, she iced the game for Harvard with a 15-ft. wrist shot with just under two minutes remaining in sudden death.
Sasner was mobbed by teammates celebrating the victory that put the Crimson (8-4-1 overall, 4-1-1 Ivy League) into a first place tie with Dartmouth in the Ivies.
"In between the third period and overtime we talked about thinking energetically even though we were tired," Sasner said. "I tried to think about having energy and being fresh."
"On the first goal I was tired so I just let off a shot rather than trying to skate around the defense," she added, "and Brita [Lind] really did all the work on the second goal by chasing the puck into the corner."
Last year, Harvard swept three games from the Tigers--all by one goal--including a 2-1 double-overtime victory to win the Ivy League Championship.
"What an exciting game that was," Harvard Coach John Dooley said. "They are an excellent team, but we just got an extraordinary effort from all of the girls."
Sasner would not have had the opportunity for the game-winner save for a spectacular performance from Harvard goalie Jennifer White. The junior netminder, who came into the game with a league-leading 2.63 goals-against average, has never shined as bright as she did Saturday.
White, a three-year starter, was tested early, fighting off a pair of Tiger shots that seemed destined for the back of the net. Her initial stops set the tone for the entire game.
White was called on in overtime and again showed the form that has made her the Ivy League's top goalie. After smothering the puck on a Tiger two-on-one situation, White blanked Princeton on a two on zero chance as Harvard attempted to change its defensive pairing with two minutes left in overtime.
Sasner and White were not the only heroes for the Crimson. Junior Brita Lind put pressure on Tiger goalie Dodie Colavecchio all day by scoring one goal and assisting on Sasner's game winner.
Dooley also cited Co-Captain Johanna Neilson, calling her the "heart and soul" of the Crimson.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period before trading goals in the second as Jane Kalinski nailed a slapshot at 4:07. Princeton (4-2 Ivy) matched the tally on a power play goal by Sue Finney before Lind's goal, which was headed wide before hitting Tiger defender Yuko Fukuda.