The Princeton men’s ice hockey team kept busy over intersession, traveling to Philadelphia for a non-conference matchup against Penn State, as well as continuing conference play with games against Yale and Brown. The team enjoyed a successful stretch, with an upset victory over No. 4 Penn State and a win and a tie against Yale and Brown, respectively.
Despite facing a nationally-ranked Penn State team in a near-capacity NHL arena, Princeton remained undaunted, mounting a late comeback to pull off their upset in a dramatic fashion. The game began explosively, with the two teams exchanging goals within the first two minutes of play, and the match-up entered intermission with a score of 3-2, favoring Penn State. Both teams would ramp up their defensive play in the second period, with Penn State scoring the lone goal to take a 4-2 lead into the third. Princeton, however, would be saved by its high-octane offense, scoring twice early into the third period. Freshman forward Liam Grande scored his third goal of the season at the 2:08 mark to cut the deficit to 1, and junior forward David Hallisey blasted in the tying goal on a power play shortly thereafter. The game would remain deadlocked for the rest of the period, until senior forward Ben Foster scored a tip-in off of a blocked senior forward Ryan Siiro shot, thereby securing a 5-4 Princeton win.
The following weekend, Princeton returned to conference play with road games against Yale and Brown. The Yale matchup followed the same pattern as the Penn State game, with a high-scoring first period followed by a tighter second period. The two teams exchanged goals throughout the first period, with Princeton’s goals coming courtesy of forwards junior Eric Robinson and sophomore Ryan Kuffner. Entering the third period in a 2-2 tie, Princeton quickly pulled ahead with goals from the same pair, Robinson and Kuffner, at the 2:17 and 5:15 marks, respectively; with this, the Orange and Black snatched a 4-2 lead that it would not relinquish. In addition to the goal-scoring abilities of Robinson and Kuffner, Princeton benefitted from the playmaking prowess of Hallisey, who assisted on all four goals. Senior goalkeeper Colton Phinney was also solid in the net, making 36 saves on 38 shots.
Princeton then travelled to Providence on Saturday to play the second end of a back-to-back game against Brown. Despite maintaining a better record and position in the conference standings, the Tigers started the game sluggishly, conceding three goals to Brown in rapid succession in the first period. Princeton would claw its way back, however, with goals from sophomore forward Max Véronneau, junior defender Matt Nelson, and Kuffner, whose goal was his team-leading 13th. The score would remain locked at 3-3 throughout the third period and overtime, with Princeton escaping with a tie and a single point in the conference standings.
With a victory against a highly-ranked Penn State team, an impressive performance against Yale, and a furious come-from-behind tie against Brown, Princeton once again proved its ability to compete with the best teams in the nation. As the team continues to grapple for a position in the ECAC, and with only 6 games remaining, the Orange and Black must find a way to continue replicating this quality of play.