Engineers Fall Short In Upset Bid at CWPA Eastern Championship

Nov. 21, 2008

 

Courtesy of CWPA

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Jeff Cole broke a 13-13 tie with 1:44 left in the fourth period for the deciding score as the No. 13 nationally ranked Princeton University Tigers survived a historic scare from MIT to take the first game of the 2008 Eastern Championship 15-13.

MIT, which was seeking to become the first No. 8 seed to knock off a No. 1 seed in the modern era (199-present) of the Eastern Championship, held a 7-6 lead at halftime and was in front 12-11 with 5:12 left in the fourth period, but could not hold on for the victory as the Tigers rallied for the win.

The game opened with a scoring spree in the first period as MIT's Mike Smith-Bronstein split the Tigers' defense for a score 2:52 into the game. Princeton responded with a score by Brendan Colgan at 5:49, MIT countered on a goal by John Preis at 5:25, the Tigers fired back with a marker by Mark Zalewski at 4:33 and Preis struck again at 2:48 to put the Engineers ahead 3-2.

Princeton closed out the period with back-to-back tallies by David de L'Arbre and Eric Vreeland at the 2:16 and one second marks, respectively, to give the Tigers a 4-3 lead after eight minutes of play. The margin stayed only a goal thanks to the arms of MIT goalie Columbus Leonard who swatted away a penalty shot attempt at the 48 seconds mark to limit the damage.

The lead grew to 5-3 in the opening minutes of the second period as Colgan buried a penalty shot off a call against Palmer Rosemond at the 6:02 mark, but the Engineers designed a new strategy pumping in shots at 2:49 and 2:15 as Matt Chapa beat Princeton goalie Mike Merlone at even strength before Brian Gardiner stopped the clock with an exclusion goal to knot the game at 5-5.

MIT and Princeton then traded goals as Colgan and Gardiner tacked on scores at 1:56 and 51 seconds, respectively, to set the score at 6-6 before Smith-Bronstein put the Engineers in front 7-6 at halftime with a blast from the wing with 29 ticks left on the period clock.

The Engineers built the lead to a pair of scores 30 seconds into the third period with a successful penalty shot by Smith-Bronstein following a penalty on Merlone and a yellow card to Princeton head coach Luis Nicolao.

Needing a rally to regain the momentum, three Tigers stepped up as Douglas Wigley scored on an exclusion at 4:30, Vreeland buried a penalty shot at 4:05 and Zalewski found the back of the cage at even strength with 2:23 showing on the clock to put Princeton back in front 9-8.

The lead lasted for 84 seconds as Palmer Rosemond skipped a shot past Merlone to tie the game. Princeton and MIT traded exclusion goals to the end of the period with Colgan and Smith-Bronstein tacked on scores at the 38 and 11 seconds marks, respectively, for a 10-10 game with eight minutes to play.

Neither team could pull away until the final minutes of the fourth period as Gregor Horstmeyer netted a marker at even strength with 7:35 left to put Princeton ahead 11-10 before Preis punched home an exclusion goal and Rob Kalwarowsky split the Tigers' defense at even strength at 7:14 and 5:12 to give MIT a 12-11 lead.

The Tigers rallied again as Cole knotted the game up at 12-12 with an exclusion goal at 4:45 and Zalewski uncorked an even-strength laser inside the left post to give Princeton a 13-12 lead with 3:20 on the clock.

Needing a comeback, the Engineers went to work as Preis juked his way past two defenders, rose-up and unleashed the tying score at the 3:07 mark to equal the score at 13-13 and set up Cole's game-winner 83 seconds later.

Horstmeyer added an insurance goal at the 1:04 mark to guarantee a Princeton victory and send the Tigers onto the first semifinal game at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 22 versus No. 17 Brown University.

In cage, Merlone finished with 10 saves to earn Player of the Game honors, while Leonard blocked down eight shots.

The Engineers will next be in action at 2:30 p.m. on the 22nd versus Division III No. 1 ranked Johns Hopkins University with a berth to the 5th place game on the line.