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Men’s ice hockey beats Brown, falls to Yale in senior night shutout

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Five seniors play their last home game of the regular season at Baker Rink. 

Men’s ice hockey (12–15–0 overall, 8–12–0 ECAC) split their final two home games of the season with a victory over Brown (9–16–2, 5–13–2) and a disappointing shutout loss against Yale (6–17–4, 5–13–2). The Tigers had the opportunity to clinch home ice for the winner-takes-all first round of the conference playoffs, but that will have to wait until next weekend with Saturday’s loss. 

Senior defenseman Pito Walton leads the way against Brown 


The Tigers played a tight Friday night game against the Brown Bears, winning by a final score of 3–2. In the opening period, both teams registered one goal apiece, but the shots on goal were 13–3 in favor of Princeton. However, nearly 13 minutes into the game, after a lost puck battle behind the net from Tigers sophomore and first-year defensemen Noah de la Durantaye and Tyler Rubin, the puck found its way to Brown forward Ryan Bottrill. Bottrill, with time and space below the goal line, fed his teammate, forward Zackary Tonelli, a one-timed goal.

With the first strike coming from the opportunistic Bears, the Tigers continued to dominate shot and possession totals in the latter portions of the period. With just over a minute to go in the period, Tigers sophomore defenseman David Ma wristed a puck through traffic, off of the goaltender. The rebound went to the tape of junior forward Joe Berg, who scored his third of the season. 

In the second period of play, special teams continued to plague the Tigers. When junior forward Ian Murphy was called for a hooking minor penalty at the 7:44 mark of the second, the Brown power play was quick to capitalize. 


A big rebound from Princeton senior goaltender Aidan Porter kicked out to the stick of Brown defenseman James Crossman, who put it by Porter for the lead. Princeton’s scuffling penalty kill ranks last in the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) at a 74.8 percent kill rate. Princeton, in addition to the penalty kill struggles, also missed a fair amount of opportunities on the power play in this game. They went 0-for-6, and managed just eight shots in 12 minutes of power-play time. Princeton’s power play, ranked 10th in the ECAC at a 16.4 percent clip, remains a work in progress. 

“[We] just gotta get the power play going,” head coach Ron Fogarty told The Daily Princetonian. “That's one thing where that’ll be our area of concern. Not even a concern, just our area of practicing and attention for this week.” 

Before the end of the period, however, Tigers sophomore forward Jack Cronin pushed a puck past the Brown goaltender in the midst of a net-front scramble. The tying goal was Cronin’s 11th of the year.

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The third period saw much of the same from the Tigers and Bears, as the teams traded chances and the clock dwindled down with the score tied at 2–2. At the 11:47 mark, Princeton senior defenseman Pito Walton walked the blue line, found a lane, and wired a point shot into the net. The goal, Walton’s sixth of the year, put the Tigers ahead for good, with the final score 3–2 in favor of the home side. 

“As you get older, you realize that you can make an impact every single game,” Walton said of his growth from his rookie season to now. “It’s about taking the game into your hands and putting your best foot forward every game. When you make a bad play, it’s about responding.” 

A senior night shutout loss to Yale 

On Saturday night, five seniors — forward Liam Gorman, forward Spencer Kersten, forward Matt Hayami, Walton, and Porter — laced up their skates and took to the ice at Hobey Baker Rink for their final home regular season hockey game. 

“Tremendous, tremendous leaders,” Fogarty told the ‘Prince.’ “They’ve done a tremendous job this year, bringing young guys along.”

In the game, Princeton fell to Yale with a final score of 4–0, not able to find the back of the net. Regardless of the tenacity from the Princeton offense and the 40 shots taken against Bulldogs goaltender Nathan Reid, the puck luck was not on the Tigers’ side. 

“I think it’s just hockey,” Walton reflected postgame. “Sometimes it doesn’t go your way. I thought we had a lot of good spurts out there, but you gotta put the puck in the back of the net to win games and unfortunately, we didn’t do that tonight.”

During the first period, on a five-on-three power play, Yale forward Ian Carpentier, assisted by defensemen Bayard Hall and Ryan Conroy, managed to sneak a wrist shot past Porter for the first goal of the night. The Tigers came close to leveling the score with a shot off the stick of Princeton first-year forward Brendan Gorman on an odd-man rush, but Gorman rang the puck off the crossbar. 

In the second period, Yale forward Niklas Allain landed the second goal of the night for the away side, as he deflected a point shot past Porter for the 2–0 lead. The Tigers, despite controlling play, were denied attempt after attempt by Reid on the other end. 

In the third period, the Bulldogs solidified their lead with only 8:19 left on the clock. Reading the pass from Walton, Yale forward David Chen picked off the puck and sped down the ice on a breakaway. Deking to the forehand, Chen deposited a goal past Porter for the decisive, three-goal lead. In the final two minutes, Carpentier scored an empty netter to seal the final game score at 4–0 in favor of the Bulldogs. 

While this was not how the men’s hockey team and the seniors wanted their final regular season game at Baker Rink to play out, the seniors were appreciative of their time on the ice and the impact they left on the next generation. 

“You know, we’ve talked about legacy and the next 100 years,” Fogarty remarked in reference to the 100th anniversary of Baker Rink. “And now those five guys have done a tremendous job. They’re going to be really missed, but they’re going to be deeply remembered for what they’ve done here.”

With the win against Brown on Friday and the loss on Saturday, Princeton remains in seventh place in the ECAC. One win next weekend will clinch home ice for the winner-takes-all first round of the playoffs, and Princeton will look to accomplish that goal in Friday and Saturday night matchups at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (13–18–1, 8–12–0) and Union (13–17–2, 7–12–1). 

Cole Keller is an associate editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ 

Alyssa Lloyd is a contributor to the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’ 

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