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Matthew Thom and Princeton hockey will take the ice at Baker Rink this weekend.

Photo Credit: Jack Graham / The Daily Princetonian

After four away games, the Princeton men’s hockey team (1–2–1, 0–2–0 ECAC) will return to the Hobey Baker Rink this Friday to play against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Union College in its first home games of the season.

Princeton’s hockey season began strongly on Nov. 1, with a 5–3 win against the St. Cloud Huskies (1–2–2). This game marked the Tigers’ first win over a ranked opponent in nearly a year. Goals were scored by five separate Princeton Tigers: sophomore forward Corey Andonovski, senior forward Liam Grande, senior forward Jackson Cressey, junior forward Luke Keenan, and first-year forward Spencer Kersten. Three power plays in the second period, as well as 28 shots across the three periods, made this game an excellent start for the Tigers, who ended the 2018-19 season with 10 wins to 18 losses.

“I think we started off really strong,” said Jackson Cressey, who recently reached 100 career points. “We played really well as a team … and the first game was great for us to get our confidence up.”

A second game against St. Cloud the very next day completed the series and ended in a 5–5 tie, once more with goals scored by a variety of players. Goals by Jackson Cressey, Luke Keenan, and a hat trick from Andonovski ended the third period in a draw, and the overtime period was ultimately fruitless. St. Cloud outshot Princeton 30–24, and won 32 face-offs to Princeton’s 26.

Princeton traveled to Cambridge, Mass., on Nov. 8, and struggled during the ECAC Hockey League opener against Harvard (2–0–0, 2–0–0). Although Princeton outshot Harvard 31–30, they failed to score a goal, and the game ended with a 3–0 win for Harvard.

Most recently, Princeton played Dartmouth (1–2–1, 1–1–1) in Hanover, N.H. in another ECAC game. Although a goal from junior forward Jake Paganelli brought the game to an even 1–1 in the third period, two goals from Dartmouth shortly followed, resulting in a 3–1 loss for the Tigers. Dartmouth also outshot the Tigers 35–28.

“I’m very positive from what I saw from the first four games,” head coach Ron Fogarty said. “We have a lot of players who are playing in different roles, so it’s taking a little time for the adjustment period, but I’m excited for the season and especially excited for this weekend’s games against RPI and Union.” He added that, going forward, the team will work to strengthen their defense.

“We’re very comfortable that we can get a couple wins here,” Cressey added.

The Tigers will come home for the first time this season on Nov. 15 to play the Rensselaer Polytechnic Engineers in another ECAC game. This threatens to be a challenge: RPI has a 32-game lead in the all-time series against Princeton. It’s also a high-pressure game, as the Tiger’s current standing in the ECAC does not bode well for the rest of the season.

Following RPI, the Tigers stay at home on Nov. 16 to take on Union.

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