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Princeton 4, Harvard 3

Crimson come up short in opener

Alex Killorn got Harvard on the board by beating Princeton’s Sean Bonar on this second-period goal. Killorn scored again midway through the final period. Alex Killorn got Harvard on the board by beating Princeton’s Sean Bonar on this second-period goal. Killorn scored again midway through the final period. (Barry Chin/Globe Staff)
By Nancy Marrapese-Burrell
Globe Staff / November 5, 2011

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The day before his team played its first game, Harvard coach Ted Donato said the toughest thing to get a read on in practice was special teams, because those would take time to jell.

Last night, in front of 2,306 at Bright Hockey Center, the Crimson played well in many areas but fell well short on the penalty kill, allowing three power-play goals on four chances to Princeton in a 4-3 loss.

“We felt like we did a decent job in the exhibition game [against Western Ontario] and the scrimmage [against Brown] killing penalties,’’ said Donato. “[Princeton] did a good job getting some pucks to the net. We certainly would like to make some adjustments. But they looked like they had some pretty good screens on the goals they scored.

“I give Princeton some credit, they made it tough in front of the net. Certainly, we have to do a better job killing penalties.’’

The only goal of the opening period came during a power play. With Harvard senior center Colin Moore off for hooking, Princeton (1-2-1, 1-0-0 ECAC) needed just 15 seconds to cash in. Sophomore defenseman Alec Rush fired the puck from the right point but it was blocked. Senior pivot Brodie Zuk got a stick on it, advancing it toward the net. But then it was accidentally kicked past freshman netminder Steve Michalek (34 saves) by defenseman Danny Biega, with Zuk getting credit for the goal with 55 seconds left in the period.

The Crimson had some solid scoring chances during the middle of the period. With 9:35 left, senior center Daniel Moriarty hit a post. Junior right wing David Valek missed off a nice setup from Moore with about eight minutes left, and sophomore defenseman Dan Ford couldn’t convert from the right circle with 7:10 left.

Princeton doubled its lead at 5:52 of the second during another man advantage. With Moriarty in the box for boarding, junior defenseman Michael Sdao beat Michalek from the right point, with sophomore right wing Jack Berger screening in front.

The Crimson had a chance to get back in it with a five-on-three advantage for 1 minute, 38 seconds. Although they couldn’t generate a score, they did cut the deficit to 2-1 four seconds after the five-on-four expired.

At the nine-minute mark, senior center Alex Killorn took a pass from junior right wing Alex Fallstrom and one-timed it past sophomore goalie Sean Bonar (25 saves).

The Tigers added a third tally at 5:43 of the third when freshman left wing Aaron Kesselman scored on a rebound in front for his first goal.

But Harvard answered by scoring on a power play. Killorn earned his second of the night, at 7:29, when he took a shot from the right point that glanced off the stick of Sdao and past Bonar.

Princeton regained its two-goal edge at 11:15, scoring its third power-play goal. Senior defenseman Derrick Pallis threw the puck to the net from just inside the blue line and sophomore right wing Eric Carlson tipped it by Michalek.

Harvard closed the gap again when junior center Luke Greiner skated through the right circle, crossed the slot, and beat Bonar to the glove side at 11:47. But despite storming the Princeton net in the final half-minute, with Michalek on the bench for an extra attacker, the Crimson couldn’t get the equalizer.

Princeton coach Bob Prier was pleased with his team’s work on the man advantage.

“The guys did a really nice job there,’’ he said. “I thought that they communicated really well and they all wanted the puck really bad when they were open and I think that showed a sign of confidence.’’

Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at marrapese@globe.com.