“It must have been Hobey Baker looking down on us,” head coach Ron Fogarty said.
In the midst of a run of three shorthanded goals in two games, it was fair for Fogarty to wonder if it was the Princeton hockey great, Hobey Baker Class of 1914, giving the Tigers a stroke of good fortune. For men’s ice hockey (8–9–0 overall, 6–7–0 ECAC), the shorthanded goals contributed to a successful Hobey 100 weekend that saw them come away with four points, thanks to an overtime loss against No. 9 Harvard (10–4–1, 8–2–0 ECAC) and a win over Dartmouth (2–13–1, 1–7–1 ECAC).
The Hobey 100 event, which celebrated Hobey Baker Rink’s 100th anniversary, saw countless alumni in attendance, the oldest being Harry Rulon-Miller ’58. Both Princeton’s men’s and women’s ice hockey teams played two games amid the festivities, which included photo oppourtunities with the Stanley Cup.
In Friday’s game, the Tigers and Crimson skated to a scoreless first period. The Tigers kept it scoreless thanks to the play of sophomore goalie Ethan Pearson, who had nine first period saves, including a highlight reel diving stop five minutes in.
The second period went a bit differently, with the Tigers asserting themselves in the first ten minutes of the frame. Senior forward and team captain Liam Gorman opened the scoring for the Tigers on the power play, getting a piece of a one-timer from his brother, first-year forward Brendan Gorman.
Liam Gorman was at it again just six minutes later, this time on a Harvard power play. Taking advantage of a Crimson neutral zone turnover, he and junior forward Ian Murphy skated up ice in a 2-on-1. Murphy fired a shot high off the blocker of Crimson goaltender Mitchell Gibson, but Gorman was there to clean up the rebound in front for a 2–0 lead. The goal was Gorman’s second of the night and seventh of the season.
The Tigers continued to be opportunistic while a man down. It was junior forward Adam Robbins’ turn to join in on the fun, forcing a turnover and heading the other way for a shorthanded breakaway. Robbins was hooked and unable to get a shot on goal, setting the table for a rare penalty shot. On the ensuing penalty shot, Robbins gave the Tigers a 3–0 lead with a SportsCenter-worthy goal.
While Princeton dominated the second period, Harvard returned the favor in the third. Looking like the top-ten team they are, the Crimson were able to erase a three goal deficit in dramatic fashion. With a little over eight minutes left, Harvard forward Matthew Coronato netted a powerplay goal as the Crimson finally got past Ethan Pearson. Initially, Princeton appeared to be surviving the push from Harvard, with a goal being disallowed off a high stick from Harvard forward Alex Laferriere.
To Harvard’s credit, they would not give up, despite the disallowed goal. The Crimson soon scored two quick goals off the sticks of forwards Joe Miller and Matthew Coronato, respectively, to tie the game at three. The goals came just 16 seconds apart.
With that, the Tigers and Crimson went to an entertaining overtime that saw trading chances on both ends. The Tigers had a chance on a 3-on-1, but they skated barely offside, stopping the play before it could really start. With just 28 seconds left in the overtime period, Alex Laferriere avenged his previous disallowed goal and scored a pretty goal in a rush to win the game for the Crimson.
Despite the tough loss, Fogarty emphasized his confidence in how his team competes.
“They can play with anybody,” he said. “College hockey has pretty good parity. But just how we are as a team, and how we play together as a team, we understand we can beat anybody.”
Flipping the script quickly, the Tigers were able to earn three points in a hard-fought Saturday victory against Dartmouth. In addition to the Hobey 100 festivities, General Mark Milley ’80, the current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Princeton hockey alum, provided the pregame and postgame speeches to the team.
“I was fired up. I was ready to put on a uniform,” Fogarty said, describing Milley’s pregame speech. “He just has a presence, an unbelievable presence. He speaks with so much clarity, and a difference in tone.”
“It just resonated with our group,” Fogarty added. “Usually I have a [pregame] meeting, but I was like ‘Done!’ and walked out. He said all that could be said.”
On the ice, the Tigers had lots of energy from the first drop of the puck but soon faced adversity. The Dartmouth Big Green, despite being outshot heavily in the first period, jumped out in front on a power play goal from defensemen John Fusco. Princeton, to their credit, responded 49 seconds later on yet another deflection goal from Liam Gorman. It was Gorman’s third of the weekend and eighth of the season.
“I just tried to get in front of the net, take away the goalie’s eyes,” Gorman said of his Saturday goal. “I tried to get stick on puck. I had no idea it went in and no idea where it was going, just tried to take his eyes away.”
With the score at 1–1, Ian Murphy forced a neutral zone turnover, skated into the offensive zone with speed, and ripped a shot shortside for a 2–1 Tigers advantage. Responding quickly, the Big Green pushed back with a goal from forward Matt Hubbarde at the 8:50 mark. With the score tied again at two, the Tigers went shorthanded on a tripping minor from forward Adam Robbins. Then, for the third time of the weekend, the Tigers scored shorthanded on a beautiful breakaway goal, this time from junior forward Nick Seitz.
The Seitz goal proved to be the difference maker, and the Tigers added an empty-netter late on Ian Murphy’s second of the night. Easing the heartbreak of the night before, the Tigers certainly sent the alumni home happy with the 4–2 win.
Currently sitting in fourth place in the ECAC, the Tigers will look to build on their Hobey 100 weekend success in a matchup versus Long Island University (6–13–1 overall) on Friday, Jan. 13.
Cole Keller is a contributor to the Data and Sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.