Allston, MA — First Year goaltender Mitchell Gibson stopped all 31 Princeton shots that he faced in his first collegiate start. The 6′-1″ net minder from Phoenixville, PA was solid in the Crimson goal as his team won their second game of the season 3-0 over their Ivy League rivals from New Jersey.
In the first period the two teams traded penalties with Princeton’s Matthew Thom sent off at 4:24 for Hooking and Harvard’s Baker Shore just six seconds later for Slashing. The Crimson were controlling the four on four play until Jack Drury was sent off for Holding at 5:28. Princeton carried the play in the period from here on out. Gibson weathered the storm as he turned aside all 12 shots that the Tigers put on him.
At 19:55 of the period Harvard struck first when Jack Rathbone fired a long-range pass from the Crimson goal line to a wide open Nick Abruzzese behind the Princeton defense. The freshman forward sniped a shot high blocker side on junior goalie Ryan Ferland for the 1-0 lead.
The second period started off with Princeton’s Cory Andonovski sending a cross-ice dish to Jackson Cressey at the top of the crease but Gibson was there to snuff it out. The Crimson had a solid chance at the other end when Casey Dornbach unloaded from the blue line but Ferland blocked the puck out of play. Harvard threatened again when a Jack Drury feed from the half wall was tipped by RJ Murphy at the side of the Tiger goal, but a quick leg kick by Ferland denied the Crimson sophomore.
A Tripping penalty at 9:28 on Princeton’s Matt Kellenberger gave Harvard their first full power play opportunity. The Crimson moved the puck well but couldn’t generate many chances on Ferland. Princeton’s Liam Gorman hit the post on a Tiger bid after killing off the power play.
At 13:32 Rathbone struck again with a stretch pass from his goal line when he found a streaking Henry Bowlby at the red line. The junior buried a wrist shot top shelf for the 2-0 Crimson lead.
Drury looked to add onto the lead when he came in on a two on one and fired the puck past Ferland but hit the far post. Shortly thereafter a two on two chance had Jack Badini take a snapshot from the left circle that hit the post and bounced into the net off of Ferland’s backside putting the Crimson up comfortably 3-0 at 16:28.
Princeton’s Finn Evans stole the puck from a Harvard defenseman at the Crimson blue line and was in alone on Gibson but shot high missing the net entirely.
At 19:21 Bowlby was whistled for Hooking. Harvard outshot Princeton 13-8 for the period.
The Tigers opened the third on the man advantage. Gibson was again up to the task. Andonovski fed Christian O’Neill from behind the net but Gibson turned it aside. Thom had a chance at the rebound to the left of Gibson but the diving keeper kept the puck out of the Crimson net.
At 6:47 Derek Topatigh was called for Tripping. Again Harvard moved the puck well but couldn’t capitalize on the power play.
Jeremy Germain had a tremendous chance at the top of the Crimson crease but Gibson was able to get a piece of the puck to keep the shutout intact. With Ferland pulled to end the game, the Tigers threatened but again Gibson was in position to make a stop on Germain in front before time wound down. The freshman gave out a big shout after the horn sounded. Princeton outshot Harvard 31-30 for the game.
“Coach Donato told me at the end practice yesterday,” said Gibson postgame. “To be honest I had a ton of homework last night so I was more focused on that. I was up in the Lamont Library until about midnight knocking that out. So that was the first thing on my mind. And then this morning I got that stuff out of the way and was able to focus in on the game. I felt good before the game, felt confident. The first period was a little bit shaky definitely felt like there were some [shots] I wasn’t controlling but got settled into the game, the boys took care of business in the second period and I just wanted to finish it off in the third.”
“Those were more chances of opportunity, especially the first one, because I knew there only 20 seconds left when I got the puck,” said Rathbone of his two assists on the night. “That’s just Nick [Abruzzese] finding a seem, he can skate, so he caught the pass and did the rest.”
Coach Donato was in good spirits after the game. He was very happy for Gibson, knowing the work that the freshman has put in on and off the ice. “It’s funny when you hear that your starting goaltender was off at the library but I know that he actually got off the ice early yesterday as well because he had an exam for his math class. Obviously it didn’t hurt his performance tonight so it’s a nice message to our players that they can do both things well.”
Princeton travels to Hanover, NH to take on Dartmouth on Saturday at 7:00 pm while the Crimson host Quinnipiac at 7:00 pm as well.