The men’s ice hockey team (4-9 overall, 3-5 Eastern College Athletic Conference) suffered a tough loss to Penn State (11-2-3, 2-0-0 Big 10) this past Friday, Dec. 11. Despite a three-point rally in the third period, two open net goals helped the Nittany Lions secure a close match, 6-3.
Yet, in spite of their recent loss, there are glimmers of hope for the Orange and Black as they head into the second half of the season. Indeed, the Tigers have won their last two ECAC matches in a doubleheader against Yale and Brown. This marked the first time since the 2007-08 season that the Tigers have swept both the Bulldogs and the Bears on the road. These two wins also marked the third-straight league victory, building on their 3-0 win against Clarkson at home.
The Tigers had a strong start in both games, leading their opponents 2-0 inside the first period. However, both Yale and Brown rallied later in the game to tie the match at two points apiece. The Princeton squad held on, showing resilience as they entered into the final stretches of the game. In fact, both games were determined in the final moments of play. At Brown, junior forward Ryan Siiro iced the game with 47 seconds remaining with an interception leading to an empty-net goal. In New Haven, sophomore forward Eric Robinson scored with less than a minute remaining to give the Tigers a commanding lead. Another notable performance came from junior goaltender Colton Phinney, who made 36 saves against Brown and 37 against Yale.
Both matches highlighted the resilience and developing chemistry of the Tigers this season. The four goals at Brown were each scored by different players. The game at Yale showed an equal balance in the Princeton roster. The games at Brown and Yale were also the highest scoring matches the Tigers have had since Princeton defeated Army 4-1 last season.
Princeton will be looking to carry this momentum into the coming weeks as they prepare for their next conference matches against Quinnipiac (15-1-2, 6-0-2) at home on Dec. 29 and away the following day. The No. 1 Bobcats will present the Tigers a difficult challenge to overcome. But regardless of the outcome an exciting match seems guaranteed.