Down by a goal with less than a minute to play would have meant almost certain defeat for last year's men's ice hockey team. The opposition would get the empty net goal or the opposing goalie would some-how make the critical save, presuming the Crimson mounted any last minute pressure.
This is a different year.
Harvard battled back to earn a 3-3 tie with Princeton as senior center Henry Higdon scored with 34 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime. For the second consecutive game, the Crimson tallied a late goal to earn an additional point in the standings.
In the last game, against Colgate, sophomore Trevor Allman scored the game winner at 18:43 of the third period.
"We battled back," said Harvard Coach Ronn Tomassoni. "A year ago we would not have tied this game up. This was a good comeback for us."
With sophomore goaltender J.R. Prestifilippo pulled, freshman left wing Chris Bala controlled the puck behind the Tiger net. He threw the puck into the crease where at least two Crimson players got whacks at it before finding its way to Higdon's stick. Higdon was the extra attacker on the play.
"It was definitely a big lift to come from behind," Higdon said. "Tying this game up was just great."
The Crimson played with tenacity and aggressiveness for most of the night in a game in which there were frequent momentum swings.
"It was a great game," said Tomassoni. "Princeton played a very physical style and we matched them."
It seemed that Harvard's intensity paid off halfway through the third period. With the game knotted at two, referee Mike Noeth disallowed an apparent goal by sophomore right wing Josh Kerner because the net had come off its moorings moments before the puck crossed the line.
"Everyone worked hard up to that point," said freshman defenseman Matt Scorsune. "We just try not to get too high or too low for anything, so we were able to bounce back."
Despite Harvard carrying the play for most of the third period, Princeton center Jeff Halpern put in a rebound at 15:00 to give the Tigers the lead and setup Higdon's dramatic tying goal.
"We showed a lot of character in this game," Scorsune said. "It took a lot of heart to bounce back."
Junior defensemen Ben Storey opened the scoring for the game at 13:06 of the first period when he took a one-timer from Allmann that deflected off a Tiger defensemen and went between goaltender Erasmo Saltarelli's legs.
However, what Storey gives, he takes away. His ill-advised breakout pass into the middle of the neutral zone was intercepted by Princeton center Syl Apps who took it and somehow got it past Prestifilippo on a tough angle shot.