Despite a four-game skid, the men’s hockey team did not receive a break this weekend. The Tigers’ schedule took them north to face two dominant conference foes in St. Lawrence (16-11-3 overall, 10-6-2 ECAC Hockey) and No. 20 Clarkson (16-11-3, 8-7-3).
For the majority of Friday’s game, the Tigers matched Clarkson, but a devastating third period defeated the Princeton team, who lost 5-2. On Saturday, St. Lawrence proved to be even more challenging, as the Tigers lost 4-1. The two recent loses extend the Orange and Black’s losing streak to six games.
Should the Tigers have won a game this weekend, most would have predicted a victory over the Clarkson Golden Knights. In fact, the Tigers shut them out just this past November. Unfortunately, the Tigers did not have the same luck on Friday. Since losing in the fall, the Golden Knights have improved, posting 9-3-1 record since the new year.
When the Tigers and Golden Knights met on Friday night, the Orange and Black underclassmen once again led the team in scoring. Freshmen forwards Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau each netted a goal to help the Tigers keep the game even in the first two periods. Unfortunately, the Tigers could not defend against Clarkson in the third period when the Golden Knights scored three unanswered goals to win the game 5-2.
Despite the loss, Kuffner and junior goaltender Colton Phinney posted strong individual performances. Kuffner extended his season point total to a team-high 18 points, and Phinney recorded 25 saves.
In Canton, N.Y., the Tigers faced an even greater challenge. Historically, the Tigers have struggled consistently against the Saints. Princeton has not won against St. Lawrence since 2011. Adding to the damage, the Saints have excelled this season, winning or tying their last six.
With the matchup set, the two teams collided in Appleton Arena on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Saints wasted little time pouncing on the Tigers. Princeton trailed by only one after the first period, but the Tigers were unable to recover from this modest deficit. The Saints took advantage by scoring three unanswered goals in the second, extending the lead to 4-0.
Sophomore forward David Hallisey prevented a shutout in the third period, scoring the Tigers’ lone goal of the game. With his fourth goal of the season, Hallisey ranks third on the team with eleven total points.
With star goaltender Colton Phinney out, sophomore Ben Halford stepped into the crease against the Saints. Prior to Saturday’s match, Halford had only played in three of this season’s games. Halford impressed, saving 35 goals against an offensively dominant St. Lawrence.
In addition, freshman goaltender Austin Shaw made his season debut on Saturday, protecting the goal for the final ten minutes of the match. Shaw blocked both St. Lawrence shots he faced.
Following this difficult past weekend, the Tigers will face Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College next. The two teams rank fifth and ninth in the ECAC while Princeton is tied with Brown for 11th.