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Princeton Squeaks Past Dartmouth in Season Opener

Newark, n.j. — Dartmouth junior Eric Neiley scored with 36.5 seconds left and the goalie pulled to tie the game and force overtime Friday night, but Princeton found a way to prevail, 3-2, at the Prudential Center as part of the Liberty Invitational in the season opener for both teams.

The Tigers’ Tucker Brockett corralled a loose puck in the slot and found space in the top left corner of the net just 45 seconds into the extra frame to give his team the win.

Neiley’s breakaway goal in the final minute of regulation set the table for the sudden-death period, as he went forehand to backhand at the top of the crease, sliding the puck between the pads of Princeton goalie Sean Bonar.

Dartmouth’s Brett Patterson, a converted forward now playing defense, hit Neiley with a long stretch pass from his own blueline to the far-side blueline that sprung Neiley in alone for the tying goal.

It was one of the few times the Big Green (0-1) were able to get anything by Bonar, who was the star of the game, stopping 38 shots. At the other end, Dartmouth’s James Kruger made his first career start, turning aside 17 shots.

“I thought we played well, but it was just one of those games where we didn’t get the bounces we needed against a good team on the other side,” Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said. “We controlled most of the game, but their goalie was up to the task and they got the puck to the net at the right times.”

The Green outshot the host Tigers, 40-20, which set the tone for play the whole night, especially early on.

Dartmouth was dominant in the first 20 minutes, outshooting Princeton, 19-5, in the first period. The second period saw the tempo slow considerably, as play became more even.

Despite being outshot, 28-14, through two periods, the Tigers grabbed a 1-0 lead with 2:59 left in the frame on a Jack Berger turnaround slapshot in the slot while on a shortened power play.

After Princeton pushed the lead to 2-0 at 2:25 into the third on a goal that was reviewed for a high stick, the Big Green finally answered back with its first of the year.

Jack Barre knocked home a loose puck at the side of the net at the 3:40 mark, beating Bonar for the first time all night and on his team’s 33rd shot.

For Barre, the goal was the first of his collegiate career, and was the result of strong play from fellow sophomore Tim O’Brien along the boards, moving below the red line and sliding a pass off the side of the net to the waiting Barre.

Dartmouth finished the game 0-for-2 on the power-play, while Princeton was 1-for-4.

The Big Green will conclude its weekend at the Liberty Invitational today at 4 p.m. when it takes on Brown, a team that knocked off defending national champion Yale, 4-1, in the first game of the day.