The men’s hockey team is slowly improving against their non-Ivy League Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) opponents.
The Tigers (8–13–2 overall, 7–8–1 ECAC) went on the road this weekend, facing off against No. 19 Clarkson (17–7–6, 12–2–4) on Friday and St. Lawrence (7–15–6, 5–9–4) on Saturday. The Tigers went 1–1 across the two games, losing 7–1 against the No. 19 Golden Knights Friday, before taking down the Saints 3–2 the next day. With these results, the Tigers are now 2–2 in their last four ECAC games against non-Ivy League opponents, after starting the season 0–6–1.
The Golden Knights backed up their high ranking against the Tigers. Junior goaltender Aidan Porter struggled starting for Princeton, surrendering seven goals on 25 shots. The penalty kill was also an issue, as Clarkson scored three goals on four power play opportunities. Offensively, the Tigers did manage to muster 21 shots and five power plays. Although they did score on one power play, they only had four total shots on the man advantage.
The Golden Knights struck twice in the first period. Forward Zach Tsekos opened the scoring with a one-timer from the slot, followed by a power play goal from defenseman Noah Beck.
The Golden Knights preceded to blow the game wide open in the second period. Forward Anthony Romano scored 2 minutes and 43 seconds into the period off of a turnover to make it 3–0. He scored again 10 minutes later, this time on the power play, to extend the lead to 4–0 in Clarkson’s favor.
Romano’s second goal began a run of three goals in the span of just over four minutes for Clarkson. Forward Luke Santerno found the back of the net 34 seconds after Romano to make it 5–0. Three and a half minutes later, forward Ayrton Martino scored to make it six goals for the Golden Knights.
The Tigers finally broke through with just over 30 seconds left in the second period. Sophomore forward Ian Murphy put home a rebound in front for a power play goal, cutting the deficit to 6–1, assisted by senior forward Luke Keenan and senior defenseman Mark Paolini.
During the third period, Clarkson defenseman Tommy Pasanen added one more goal in the dying seconds of a four-on-four play to bring the final tally to 7–1 in favor of the Golden Knights.
The next day against St. Lawrence, Princeton got the rebound win they desperately needed. The Tigers got on the board early when first-year defenseman David Ma found Murphy in front for a 1–0 lead. The lead did not last long, however, as forward Reilly Moran found the back of the net for the Saints to tie it at 1–1. The score held for the rest of the period, with the Tigers outshooting the Saints 6–4.
Once again, Princeton got out to a fast start in the second period. First-year forward Jack Cronin scored his first career goal 100 seconds into the period to give the Tigers the lead back at 2–1. Cronin followed up his shot and banked the puck off of Saints’ goalie Emil Zetterquist for the goal, with an assist from senior forward Christian O’Neill.
The Tigers kept the momentum going, with senior defenseman Matt Kellenberger scoring off of the rush just over three minutes later to double the lead, whipping a wrister past Zetterquist to make it 3–1. The Saints were able to cut the lead down later in the second period when forward Max Dorrington potted one to make it 3–2. From then on, however, both goalies shut the door.
Neither team scored in the final period of the game, highlighted by senior goalie Jeremie Forget making 12 of his 22 saves in the third period to keep Princeton in front.
The win broke a tie with Union in the ECAC standings and moved the Tigers into seventh place, one point behind Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute for sixth.
Next up, the Tigers host Dartmouth Monday night at 5 p.m. in an Ivy League showdown.
Ben Burns is an Associate Sports Editor at the ‘Prince’ who typically covers basketball, hockey, and soccer. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @bwburns5_.