Dean Gibbons paced Harvard with six points on three goals and three assists in the win at Princeton (Gil Talbot).
PRINCETON, N.J. – Dean Gibbons scored three times and assisted on three other tallies, while goalie Harry Krieger recorded 15 saves, as the Harvard men's lacrosse team earned a 9-8 comeback victory at Princeton Saturday afternoon. With the win, Harvard improves to 2-3 in Ivy League play and remains in contention for a spot in the Ivy League Tournament May 6-8.
Matt Hull also added a hat trick for the Crimson, which sees its record move to 8-5 overall, marking the second time in three seasons Harvard has won at least eight games. Princeton sees its overall record fall to 4-7, and drops to 2-3 in conference action. The Crimson has now defeated the Tigers in two straight seasons for the first time since taking three straight against its Ancient Eight rival from 1986-88.
Harvard will close out its regular season by hosting Yale at Harvard Stadium Saturday, April 30 at 1 p.m. The Crimson's seven seniors (Noor Beckwith, Francis Ellis, Dean Gibbons, Greg Gilroy, Matt Hull, Andrew Parchman and Sam Steyer) will be honored in a pre-game ceremony on Senior Day. If the Crimson defeats the Bulldogs, Harvard will automatically clinch a spot in the Ivy League tournament and could still qualify for the Ivy postseason with a loss with help in other conference contests. Cornell won the Ivy League title and will host the Ancient Eight Tournament.
The most straightforward path for Harvard to make the field is to defeat Yale. If that were to happen, Harvard would be the No. 3 seed and Yale would be the fourth seed.
Harvard could also get into the field if it finishes 2-4 along with Princeton and Brown. In that scenario, Harvard holds the tie-breakers by virtue of its 2-0 record versus both those teams. If it were to happen, Yale would be the third seed and Harvard the fourth.
Harvard could also enter the field if it finishes 2-4 along with Princeton and Dartmouth. Those three teams would all have 1-1 records against each other and identical 0-3 records versus Cornell, Penn and Yale meaning that in this scenario, the fourth team to make the field would be determined by a random draw conducted by Ivy League Executive Director Robin Harris. Yale would earn the third seed on this scenario.
Despite Princeton outshooting Harvard, 45-30, the Crimson won 12-of-21 faceoffs, led by Gabriel Mendola who claimed six faceoff victories out of nine attempts. Each team collected 32 ground balls, with Harvard's Joe Petrucci picking up a game-high six ground balls. Princeton's Tyler Fiorito stopped 16 shots against the Crimson, while Alex Capretta led the Tigers with three goals.
After falling behind to the Tigers, 3-0, Gibbons notched the Crimson's first goal of the day, firing a shot past Fiorito at the 3:56 mark of the first quarter. Harvard narrowed the deficit to 3-2 when Mark Scalise sent a pass to Hull who tallied a goal on Harvard's next possession with 2:54 left in the opening stanza.
In the second, Gibbons knotted the game, 3-3, with his second goal, coming at 13:26. Jeff Cohen gave Harvard a 4-3 edge when he took a pass from Ryan Stevens and found the back of the net with 6:43 left in the first half. The Crimson extended its run to 5-0 when Terry White found Hull for his second goal at the 5:31 mark. With time winding down in the half, Gibbons made a quick pass to Hull who scored with just 1.4 seconds left, giving him his third goal of the day and Harvard a 6-3 lead heading into the break.
Harvard closed the half with a 6-0 run and owned a 16-8 advantage in shots on goal, despite the shots overall being even at 18-18. Fiorito had 10 saves at halftime for the Tigers, while Krieger made five stops in the first 30 minutes.
The Tigers ended Harvard's goal run with a tally by Chris McBride at 11:03 of the third quarter, as Princeton got within two, 6-4. The Crimson answered with scores by Jack Doyle at 10:22 and Kevin Vaughan at 7:49, as Harvard took a commanding 8-4 lead. Gibbons assisted on both tallies, as Harvard continued to control play.
After Princeton's Luke Armour made it 8-5 with a tally at 5:38, the Tigers managed another goal by Mike Grossman to get within two scores, 8-6, with 2:15 left in the frame.
Midway through the fourth, Gibbons tallied his third goal of the game, pushing Harvard's lead to 9-6 with 7:47 to go in regulation. The Tigers won the ensuing faceoff and quickly scored to stay within two goals, 9-7, with 6:50 remaining. Armour netted another goal for Princeton with 4:13 to play, as the Tigers cut Harvard's lead to one, 9-8.
With 59 seconds remaining, Krieger made a save on a shot by Princeton's Tyler Moni, and Harvard was able to grab possession and successfully clear the ball, as the Crimson held on for the victory.