Men’s ice hockey (0–3–0 overall, 0–3–0 Eastern College Athletic Conference Hockey League) opened up their 100th season at Hobey Baker Rink with a weekend of close losses, first versus Cornell (1–3–0, 1–1–0) and then Colgate (3–6–1, 1–1–0).
In the first period versus the Big Red on Friday night, the ice was tilted to the Tigers’ defensive zone. But for the Tigers, sophomore goalie Ethan Pearson dominated, saving 17 out of 17 Cornell shots in the first period. Two of these saves came on a scramble in front, as Pearson got his pad across to stymie the Cornell offense.
Entering the second period, the game remained scoreless until a slashing penalty by Tiger sophomore forward Jack Cronin in the neutral zone. On the following power play, Cornell’s Gabriel Seger capitalized, giving Cornell the one-goal advantage. Less than a minute after the first goal, Cornell defensemen Tim Rego was able to beat the sprawling pad of the Princeton netminder on a wrap-around for a two-goal lead.
From this point on, the Tigers began to really push back. The second period ended with the Tigers trailing 2–0, but the team showed lots of fight throughout the third. On a power play 6:46 into the frame, senior defenseman and captain Pito Walton took a puck off the faceoff and snapped a strong wrister past the Cornell goaltender. The goal was Walton’s first of the season and the sixth of his collegiate career.
Looking for the equalizer, Princeton applied pressure to the end on the back of a strong play by Pearson. Finishing the night with 34 saves on 37 shots, including a highlight-reel-worthy save on a Cornell shorthanded breakaway, Pearson continued a trend of strong goalie play to start the year.
“I love both Ethan and Aiden, they’re great goalies,” Head Coach Ron Fogarty told The Daily Princetonian. “They’re competing and great teammates, and we only have two goalies. So, you know, most programs have three or four, and so they have a heavy workload in practice, but I trust both of them.”
Despite the pressure from the Tigers and a few close calls, Cornell was able to seal the game with an empty-netter in the final minute. The final score read 3–1.
The tale of the tape was a bit different for Princeton in their second game against Colgate. Hungry for a win after two losses in a row to start the season, the Tigers came out flying in the first period, outshooting the Raiders 17–6.
First blood was drawn on a breakaway goal from senior winger Liam Gorman, who stripped the puck away from a Colgate defensemen and deposited it past the netminder for an early Tigers lead.
“The guy coughed up a puck and it gave me a quick breakaway,“ Gorman said. “I figured coming from the angle I was coming at, if I really pushed hard I could open up the wickets and slip it through and I got lucky there.”
With 7:02 left in the first, sophomore forward Jack Cronin was whistled for interference, and the Raiders went to their first power play of the night. Colgate made the Tigers pay in one of their few opportunities of the period, as they tied the game on goal from Nic Belpedio. The score was all tied up at one at the end of the first.
The first half of the second period was relatively even, with only a few shots on goal from either side. That changed when Colgate went to the box for a delay of game, and Cronin scored his second power play goal of the season on a one-time blast.
In the third, Princeton continued to dominate the game until a five-minute misconduct was called on junior forward Nick Seitz. On the five-minute, man-up advantage, Colgate was able to net a power-play goal off the stick of Colton Young. Princeton, though, showed their resilience by killing the rest of the long penalty and responding immediately. First-year forward Brendan Gorman roared through the neutral zone and snapped a shot by the Colgate netminder for his first goal of the season, and he earned a 3–2 Tigers lead.
“You know, he’s someone who dances on the ice,“ Fogarty said of Gorman, “You can see it when he has the puck. He reminds me of some players who’ve made money playing hockey that I’ve coached along the way.”
Princeton continued to control the pace of play throughout the period, continually having the puck and outchancing Colgate. Unfortunately, Colgate’s Simon Labelle was able to tie the game at three yet again with less than 8 minutes to go in the game. Princeton pushed, chance after chance in regulation, but the game went to overtime tied.
Just a minute into overtime, Colgate continued to be opportunistic, scoring on a wrister from Ross Mitton in the three-on-three. The final score, despite Princeton’s excellent play, was 4–3 in favor of Colgate in overtime. Even with the result, Fogarty knows his team is close to breaking through.
“I like where we’re going. A lot of people are giving us no credit. Those men in there are definitely not a 12th place team, and we’ll continue to show that in practice and games,” Fogarty said.
The Tigers face rivals Yale and Brown this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12, respectively.
Cole Keller is a contributor to the Data and Sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to email@example.com.