Kuffner sets program record as men’s hockey heads into season’s second half| February 5, 2019
Men’s ice hockey (6–13–2, 4–9–1 ECAC) capped off Intersession with a road trip through New York, playing at St. Lawrence University (4–21–1) and No. 9 Clarkson University (18–8). Though the Tigers fell in both matches, it was a record-setting weekend for senior forward Ryan Kuffner.
Less than two minutes after the opening puck at Clarkson, Kuffner scored his 68th career goal. He takes the title of Princeton’s all-time leading goal scorer from John Cook ’63, who held the record for the last 56 years. Kuffner’s goal was assisted by senior forward Max Véronneau, who has assisted on 63 percent of Kuffner’s career goals. Kuffner ranks second in the nation in goals per game this season and, along with Véronneau, is a candidate for the Hobey Baker Award, collegiate hockey’s top individual honor.
Kuffner and Véronneau are unmatched as a scoring duo. They rank fourth and ninth in the nation, respectively, in points per game. They have contributed to Princeton's rank as the number one team in senior class scoring in the United States as well as the only senior class in the NCAA that averages more than four points per game. In December, Véronneau was honored as the Eastern College Athletic Conference Player of the Month — he accounted for 11 points in just six games.
Kuffner’s goal gave the Tigers an early lead over Clarkson, but the Golden Knights mounted a comeback. They converted on a power play opportunity in the first period and added two goals in the third. Despite momentum appearing on Princeton’s side, a goal by the Tigers was waved off with 1:06 remaining in the second period as a kick-in.
At St. Lawrence, the score was also tied entering the third period. Princeton would outshoot the Saints 50–39, with 13 of those shots coming off Kuffner’s stick. It was the most shots on goal for the Tigers since Feb. 16, 2018, when Princeton had 51 in a 7–2 game over Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Daniel Mannella made 48 saves for St. Lawrence, and the game ended 3–2 in its favor.
Princeton now turns its attention to weekend matchups against Brown University (8–10–3, 5–6–3 ECAC) and Yale University (11–7–3, 9–4–1 ECAC).
Brown sits in the middle of the ECAC standings but suffered a defeat at the hands of Yale in its latest game. In that meeting, Yale jumped out to a two-goal lead in the first period. The Bears scored two goals in the final four minutes of the game, but Yale held on for the 4–3 victory. This weekend’s game could have an action-packed first period, as both Princeton and Brown trend towards early scoring opportunities.
Yale currently holds the third spot in the league standings. The Bulldogs’ resume includes an impressive early-season win over Clarkson, but the Golden Knights returned the favor a month later in New Haven. Yale is a riding a two-game win streak that could extend to three if it can beat No. 4 Quinnipiac this Friday. Princeton lost to Quinnipiac, then ranked ninth in the nation, by a score of 6–3 in December.
Princeton will host Brown and Yale at Hobey Baker Rink on Friday and Saturday, respectively. The puck will drop at 7 p.m. both nights.