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Men’s hockey splits weekend slate against Clarkson and Saint Lawrence

<h5>Tigers celebrate their victory over Clarkson.&nbsp;</h5>
<h6><a href="https://twitter.com/princetonhockey/status/1599212836399755264/photo/1" target="_self">@princetonhockey/Twitter.</a></h6>
Tigers celebrate their victory over Clarkson. 
@princetonhockey/Twitter.

Princeton men’s ice hockey (4–7–0 overall, 3–6–0 ECAC) split the weekend with a decisive 6–2 victory over Clarkson (7–8–0, 3–3–0 ECAC) and a tough 5–4 loss to St. Lawrence (6–8–0, 3–3–0 ECAC). 

In the game against Clarkson, the Tigers skated to a quick start. Controlling the pace of play through the period, the Tigers generated excellent chances while keeping the Golden Knights to the perimeter for the most part. Clarkson’s major chance of the period was on a mini-breakaway, where the pad of sophomore goaltender Ethan Pearson denied a nifty move in front.

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The Tigers began the scoring with a power-play goal from senior defenseman Pito Walton, who registered his third goal of the season. Walton received a puck at the point and wired a wrister to the top shelf of the net for the 1–0 lead. 

The momentum completely shifted in the Tigers’ favor after the opening goal. Just 44 seconds later, first-year forward Jaxson Ezman found room in front and was denied on a backhander by Clarkson goalie Ethan Haider. Ezman, though, regathered behind the net and fed a pass nicely to the stick of junior forward Ian Murphy, who tapped it past the goaltender. 

Heading into the second, the Tigers led Clarkson 2–0. Just 2:18 into the period, Tigers sophomore forward Jack Cronin found the net for the 6th time this year. Cronin received a bouncing pass from first-year forward Brendan Gorman and fired a puck past the Clarkson netminder. 

As during the first, the Tigers pushed for another goal immediately. They were rewarded when Tigers junior forward Joe Berg made it 4–0, as he hammered a puck home for a goal from the right circle. It was Berg’s first goal of the season. 

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With under two minutes left in the frame, the Golden Knights managed to scrape one across on a goal from forward Mathieu Gosselin. 

Clarkson certainly managed to put pressure in the third, but the Tigers managed to limit their high-danger chances. Clarkson center Anthony Callin put one by Pearson with four minutes to go, but Princeton iced it with an empty netter from senior forward Liam Gorman. To pour it on, in an odd man rush with 1:40 remaining, first-year forward Jayden Sison scored his first collegiate goal to ice the game at a 6–2 final.

The Tigers looked to carry momentum from Friday’s victory into a third consecutive victory Saturday against the St. Lawrence Saints, but the Saints proved to be tough competition.

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The Tigers struck first in the opening frame on a nifty goal from junior forward Nick Seitz. Seitz skated with speed into the offensive zone and shifted to his backhand for the finish. The Saints answered almost immediately on a quick passing play that ended with a goal from forward Greg Lapointe. Pearson simply could not get across in time to prevent the chance. With that goal, the Tigers and Saints finished the first twenty all square at one. 

At 1:11 into the second period, the Saints took advantage of a quick power-play opportunity to make it 2–1. The goal was scored by forward Max Dorrington, his third of the season. The Tigers resiliently answered right back, as first-year forward David Jacobs took advantage of a Saints turnover and sniped a puck top shelf. 

“I’m getting more and more comfortable moving my feet, sticking to what I do best,” Jacobs said in an interview with The Daily Princetonian. “I’m hounding pucks and playing in the o-zone. I think the line I’m on is starting to connect a bit better as well, and we’ve been great offensively lately.” 

A second goal from Greg Lapointe put the Saints ahead after defensive turnovers, and Lapointe extended the Saints’ lead to 4–2 with a hat trick goal midway through the third. Down 4–2, the Tigers let up another goal immediately, pushing the Saints lead to 5–2. 

“We’ve been very consistent ... it’s tough to sweep. We had a great game last night,” head coach Ron Fogarty told the ‘Prince.’ “We probably were on 90 percent of the time tonight, but those 10 percent of times it just was in the back of our net with tips and backdoor play.” 

Down three goals with 10 minutes left, the Tigers had a five-minute power-play opportunity on a face-masking major. The Tigers really flipped a switch on this power play, quickly scoring on a goal from sophomore defenseman Noah de la Durantaye. 

The Tigers put even more pressure on the Saints with another goal on the power play, a one-timer from Cronin. At 5–4, the Tigers nearly pierced together an incredible comeback. Falling just short, the Tigers have a lot to build on as their identity as a team is being cemented. Fogarty spoke on the team’s growing identity. 

“It’s up tempo, we’re getting chances. You can see the little lapses of consistency in the second period and beginning the third,” Fogarty said. “But yeah, I like where this team is going, and that’s why I feel like we waste an opportunity because we are taking those steps.” 

The Tigers now look ahead to Friday and Saturday matchups versus Union (6–8–1, 3–3–0 ECAC) and RPI (7–7–1, 2–4–0 ECAC). 

Cole Keller is a contributor to the Data and Sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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