In Men’s Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey, each of the twelve competing teams are guaranteed a playoff spot. Although Princeton (4-17-3, 2-14-2 ECAC) ranks last in the conference with six points, if the Tigers continue their strong play of the last two weeks, they could be poised to take advantage of the league’s postseason format and challenge a highly ranked team come playoff time. Perhaps this weekend will shed some light on the threat level posed by the Tigers to the rest of the league, as they test their mettle against talented Yale (15-7-3, 10-6-2) and streaking Brown (7-17-1, 4-13-1 ECAC).
The Tigers are coming off their first three-point weekend of the season, having beaten Clarkson and tied then-No. 20 St. Lawrence at Baker Rink. Among the stars of the weekend was sophomore goaltender Colton Phinney. Playing behind one of the league’s youngest teams, Phinney has been stellar in net all year. For his 62 saves, .969 save percentage, and .96 goals-against average last weekend, the Chatham, NJ product was awarded the ECAC’s “Goaltender of the Week” award. The Orange and Black will rely upon Phinney again this weekend, as they square off against two familiar opponents.
Brown enters Baker Rink on a hot streak. Since tying the Tigers 2-2 on Jan. 30, the Bears dropped a game to Harvard before winning their next three.Friday’smatchup will feature a battle between two teams at similar points in their seasons, having struggled early and often before finding a groove in recent weeks. Brown — with nine points in the ECAC — is still within Princeton’s reach as the Tigers (six points) try to avoid a second consecutive last-place finish.
Saturday’sbattle between Yale and Princeton will mark the third time this season that the Ancient Eight rivals have met. The teams opened their seasons with a 2-2 tie in the Liberty Invitational in what was the 250thmeeting between the schools. More recently, the Bulldogs defeated the Tigers 4-0 in New Haven behind four second period goals. This matchup will have implications for the hierarchy in the Ivy league, as well as the postseason race in the ECAC, as the Bulldogs sit at second place in the former and third in the latter.
First-year head coach Ron Fogarty and his young Tigers team have endured a lot of adversity this season. Of late, the team’s growth since the season opener has been evident. At Baker Rink on Friday andSaturdaynights at7 p.m., the Orange and Black will try to further this trend.
The Women’s Hockey team closes its regular season this weekend on the road in the midst of two important races — one for home-ice in the opening round of the ECAC postseason, and one for the distinction of being the Ivy League Champions.
Following a weekend split in New York that featured a narrow 2-1 loss to No. 8 Clarkson and a 4-2 win over St. Lawrence, the Tigers finish their regular season with Ivy opponents Brown (5-21-1, 2-17-1 ECAC) and Yale (13-13-1, 10-10 ECAC). In a home series against the teams onJan. 9 and 10, the Tigers easily took care of business, with 4-1 and 5-1 victories, respectively. In round two, much more is at stake.
Only the top eight teams make the playoffs in Women’sECAC Hockey, with the top four earning the privilege to host a best-of-three opening round series. While the Tigers have clinched a postseason berth, they will need a strong weekend and plenty of help to earn home-ice. Princeton has clinched at least the sixth seed, with 25 points, with Cornell (26) and St. Lawrence (27) within reach. If Cornell (facing Rensselaer and Union) and St. Lawrence (facing Harvard and Dartmouth) falter this weekend, the Tigers could earn a final trip home to Baker Rink.
In the Ivy League race, Princeton controls its own destiny. With a 6-1-1 Ivy record the Tigers sit at second place, trailing No. 3 Harvard (8-2-0) by three points. Two wins this weekend will give Princeton the outright Ivy title, its first since 2006. A win and a tie will make the Crimson and the Tigers co-champions. Anything worse than three points will return the trophy to Cambridge, Mass., for a third consecutive year.
The puck will dropon Fridaynight’s matchup at7 p.m. in Providence, R.I. against Brown. The following afternoon the Tigers and Bulldogs will fight it out at4 p.m. in New Haven, Conn. Both games will air on the Ivy League Digital Network.