Men’s hockey will face Arizona State this Friday and Saturday in a doubleheader at Hobey Baker Rink. The Tigers, who are 3–6–1 overall, are looking to snap a five-game losing streak, which includes two straight losses to No. 9 Quinnipiac last weekend. Both of these losses came ended with a three-goal margin. The six goals the Tigers gave up on Saturday were the most they have conceded in a game all season.
The Tigers are hoping that the matches against Arizona State this weekend will mark a turning point in what has been an underwhelming season thus far. Predicted to finish second in the ECAC preseason poll, Princeton is currently fifth in the conference standings. Nationwide, the Tigers have dropped out of the top 20 for the first time this season.
Despite their struggles, the early season has not come without positives for the Tigers. The team has benefitted from strong senior leadership throughout the season, with defenseman Josh Teves and forwards Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau playing crucial roles in the Tigers’ success. Kuffner is currently fifth in the nation in points per game, with 1.6, while Veronneau is 15th, with 1.3.
The Tigers will face stiff competition from Arizona State, as the Sun Devils are 10–6 for the season and rank 19th in the nation. Their offense is led by sophomore forward Johnny Walker, who ranks 12th in the nation in total points, with 18 overall. As a whole, the Sun Devils have the ninth best penalty kill in the country at 86.5 percent. Their defense is bolstered by the strong play of junior goaltender Joey Daccord, who allows 2.45 goals per game and has a .919 save percentage, both of which put him in the top 35 nationwide.
The Tigers will likely have plenty of power play opportunities against the Sun Devils, who rank second in the nation in total penalty minutes. This plays right into the Tigers’ strengths, as their power play is seventh best in the nation at 27 percent. If they can capitalize on these opportunities, and come out on top this weekend, the Tigers will be one step closer to rescuing their season.