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Men's hockey looks for two victories in single weekend

Just another weekend, say the men's hockey team. But that's what it's been saying all season. The question for the Tigers is: when will it be more than "just another weekend"?

With only four weekends and eight games remaining, time is running out for Princeton (11-6-3 overall, 5-6-3 Eastern College Athletic Conference) to take a solid position in the ECAC standings. With playoffs just a month away, the Tigers need two wins this weekend to help assure a top-five berth and home ice advantage in the ECAC tournament.

Double the fun

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"We'd like to get a two-win weekend," senior right wing Casson Masters said. "These are definitely two teams we can take wins from."

Princeton faces Harvard tonight at 7:30 p.m. and Brown tomorrow at 7:00 p.m. Both games are at Baker Rink.

The Tigers have struggled all season to put together a four-point weekend. Their best effort so far has been three points, with a win and a tie on each of the first two league weekends of the season.

According to Masters there is "nothing that we're really focusing on" this weekend, but these two games are key for league positioning.

"We could go up to fourth or down to tenth (in the standings)," senior goalie Erasmo Saltarelli said. "These teams are just ahead and behind of us."

Currently Princeton is tied with Brown for seventh place. Harvard is in fourth, only two points ahead of the Tigers.

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"Both teams are really competitive," head coach Don Cahoon said. "Everyone's motivated, we're in the thick of the race now.

"It would be great to get two wins on a weekend but we've got to take it period by period. That's how you put multiple wins together."

Consistent play has remained a problem for the Tigers all season, as exemplified by last weekend's schizophrenic play against Col-gate and Cornell, but Masters remains confident in the team's ability.

"If we come out and play the type of game we can play, we can beat anyone in this league. We just lack consistency," Masters said.

Rock

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Harvard is coming off a solid week of play at the Beanpot Tournament in Boston. The Crimson beat top-10 ranked Boston College Monday night before losing 2-1 in overtime to No. 5 Boston University, whom Princeton beat 3-2 Dec. 30.

While Princeton is trying to move up the standings in the ECAC, junior center Jeff Halpern is trying to move up the league's scoring list. Halpern, who is tied for the second in the league in scoring, will look to overtake current leader, Renssel-aer's Eric Healey. Halpern is presently two points behind Healey.

Overall, the line of Halpern, Masters and junior left wing Scott Bertoli has been dominate for the Tigers, tallying 23 of the team's last 44 goals. If Princeton wants to escape its current state of mediocrity, the other three lines must increase their contribution.

Route 66

Down the road, five of the remaining six teams the Tigers will face, which the exception of second-place Clarkson next weekend, are all in the bottom half of the league. If the Tigers can put together a few four-point weekends, they will be in excellent position for a run at the tournament crown in Lake Placid, NY.

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