PRINCETON, N.J. – On senior day, the Princeton Tigers defeated the Harvard Crimson 12-9 at Sherrerd Field while clinching themselves a berth in in the Ivy tournament. The Tigers battled a downpour as well as a team fighting for their playoff lives.
The Crimson had to win to keep their playoff dreams alive. The loss knocks them out of contention for the Ivy tournament. Last season the Crimson spoiled the Tigers season, so the Tigers had to feel satisfaction at knocking Harvard out in 2017.
The Tigers honoured their graduating players and their families in a special pre-game ceremony. Bear Altemus, Alistair Berven, Matt Brophy, Sean Connors, Zach Currier, Bear Goldstein, Sam Gravitte, Jack O’Brien, Adam Hardej, Gavin McBride and Mark Strabo all participated in the time-honoured NCAA tradition. A few of them even showed off for the parents and alumni in attendance, especially McBride, who led the team with seven goals.
Tim Edmonds opened the game scoring at 8:42 of the first, putting the Crimson up 1-0. The Tigers roared back with three consecutive goals from Austin Sims, McBride and freshman phenom Michael Sowers. Carney Mahon got the Crimson back within one before the first quarter ended.
McBride scored the only goal of the second on a close bounce shot while playing man-up; Princeton led 4-2 at the half.
Nigel Andrews scored 58 seconds into the third for the Crimson but McBride answered right back with two more for a 6-3 Princeton lead, scoring one on an underhand zinger. Zach Currier added a goal before Harvard scored two to cut the lead. Tigers goalie Rob Blaisdell, who stopped a season-high 18 shots, made the save of the game off a wrap-around attempt from Edmonds. McBride’s fifth of the game, a similar shot to his third goal, came on the next possession and put Princeton in front 8-5.
Currier added five assists and six ground balls while going five for eight at the face-off X. He leads the Tigers with 102 ground balls. To put in perspective how valuable a contribution this is to his team, Bear Goldstein is second with 28.
Harvard fought back in the fourth, knowing their season was on the line and scored four in the quarter. Unfortunately for the Crimson, the Tigers answered their first two tallies, effectively keeping the game out of reach. Two more goals with 10:47 and 7:48 remaining got the Crimson close but Blaisdell and the defense shut the door.
For McBride, seven goals in a game was a personal best. This year alone he’s scored 46, up from 26 last season.
Michael Sowers keeps shattering records; against Harvard he scored his 70th point, breaking Rob Pannell’s Ivy League record of 67, set in in 2009, for most points in a freshman season. He is also only the fourth player in Tigers history to reach 70 points in a season. McBride currently has 61; another game like Saturday’s next weekend and he could be the fifth.
Princeton, who sports a 9-4 record, has one game remaining next Saturday at Cornell before the Ivy tournament at Yale, where they will face Brown. They previously defeated the Bears 21-11 this season. Harvard finishes their season at Yale next weekend.