Princeton men’s hockey (3–2–1 overall, 3–2–1–1 ECAC) hoped to continue their two game-win streak with another weekend sweep, but ultimately split the weekend after falling short in Friday night’s faceoff against the Colgate Raiders (4–6–2, 2–3–1) before rallying back for their dynamic Saturday overtime success over the No. 10 Cornell Big Red (4–3–1, 2–3–1).
“I love overtimes, bring ’em on,” head coach Ron Fogarty told The Daily Princetonian.
This sentiment has been clear so far this season for the Princeton Tigers, with the two huge overtime victories the weekend of Nov. 10, and now an additional clutch overtime win for the Tigers Saturday night against Cornell.
Friday night’s game, however, was a tough one for Princeton. Early in the first period, the Tigers began falling behind. Less than five minutes into regulation, Colgate put up two points in quick succession, the first scored by forward Ryan McGuire after a messy shuffle for the puck in front of first-year Tiger goaltender Conor Callaghan. The second goal was scored by Colgate forward Simon Labelle only 58 seconds later with a quick crossover after skating through the neutral zone, leaving the Tigers down 0–2.
In hot pursuit to shrink the Raiders lead, Princeton junior forward Jack Cronin scored his first of the night with 12:41 left in the first period and on a power play advantage. Cronin, assisted by sophomore forward Brendan Gorman and junior defenseman Noah de la Durantaye, hit a quick one-timer under the crossbar to put the Tigers within one.
However, Colgate responded quickly to put themselves back up by two when a rebound off of a big save by Callaghan was knocked in by Nike Rexine to end the first.
Scoring in the second time period was kicked off with another series of Colgate goals by McGuire and Labelle, first after McGuire knocked the puck in off a rebound, then the other when Labelle settled a centered pass and dialed the puck into the top corner for his second of the night. This put the Raiders ahead of the Tigers 5–1 with half of regulation left to play.
The rest of the period was filled with close scoring opportunities from both sides, but neither was able to find the back of the net.
Not even a minute into the third period, McGuire rounded out his hat trick for Colgate, putting Princeton in a five goal deficit.
Soon after though, the Tigers began their push back. This effort was led by Cronin’s second goal of the night, marking his first multi-goal game. With an assist by sophomore forward David Jacobs, Cronin roofted the puck right over the shoulders of Colgate’s Carter Gylander to make the score 6–2.
Building momentum, senior defenseman Mike Kennedy got his first of the season in transition with 8:55 left to play. Kennedy settled a drop pass from Gorman, skated through the open ice in the right circle, and slipped the puck into the top corner of the net, bringing the Tigers closer to a comeback.
Despite this late effort, Colgate’s quick lead was too much for Princeton to overcome, and Friday night ended with a 6–3 defeat.
“It was a learning experience of how things can go sideways if we are not competing,” Fogarty said to the ‘Prince.’
Despite this, in their Ivy League face-off versus the No. 10 Cornell Big Red on Saturday night, the Tigers responded with resilience to skate away with a 2–1 triumph.
“We were determined today to turn around and come out on a huge game, and we did that,” Gorman told the ‘Prince.’ “It was a huge win.”
The first period was dominated by the defensive lines and goalies on both sides, with first-year goalkeeper Arthur Smith playing an integral role in the no-score first 20 minutes. This was only Smith’s second ever collegiate start, yet he ended the night with a monumental 36 stops.
“I love Arthur, I believe in him, he believes in himself, and he believes in the team,” Fogarty said. “He is one of the best people you will ever meet in your lifetime. He played big tonight and played confidently.”
The first point of the game went to Cornell with 12:06 left in the second. Kyle Penney won the puck off of a set face-off play and was able to push it past Smith, putting the Big Red up 1–0.
Yet, not even four minutes later, Princeton found an equalizer to tie the game at one goal each. Assisted by sophomore forward Jayden Sison, senior forward Adam Robbins scored his second of the season after pushing through the neutral zone and slapping the puck off the post and into the net.
By the end of the second period the Tigers were outshot 21 to 15, but Smith and the defensemen in front of him held the game at one-all.
The beginning of the third was dominated by unsuccessful shots on net traded from both sides. Cornell was fighting to take the lead, especially once a five minute major penalty called on first-year forward Joshua Karnish gave them a five-on-four advantage. With a gritty five minutes of unified defense, Princeton managed to make some big stops and kill off the lengthy penalty with no Cornell score.
“The five minute major PK [penalty kill] is a statement right there in itself and a confidence builder” Fogarty reflected.
0–3 on power play opportunities thus far, Cornell had a fourth chance with 12.7 seconds left of regulation after Princeton was sent to the box for hooking. Firming up their penalty kill record with another stop, the Tigers entered their fourth overtime faceoff of the season, and their third in the last four home games.
After returning to full strength, the Tigers demonstrated exactly why Fogarty is so fond of overtime opportunities. Senior defenseman Nick Carabin set up Tiger play with two huge forechecks, keeping the Big Red and the puck pinned in the Princeton offensive zone. Then, on Cornell’s attempt to clear the puck, senior forward Ian Murphy positioned himself to intercept and passed the puck behind his back to Gorman. With only six seconds left to secure the win, Gorman slapped the game-winner under the right arm of Keopple into the back of the net.
“I saw the clock, was trying to find a shot through, and luckily it went in,” Gorman said postgame to the ‘Prince.’
Under the roar of a sold out Hobey Baker rink, the Princeton Tigers won 2–1.
The Tigers concluded the weekend on a high note, and are looking forward to their two game away series versus Ohio State (3–5–1, 0–5–1 Big Ten) next weekend.
“We have the mindset that, when we play well, we can hang with anyone, and tonight proves that,” Smith said.
Ava Seigel is a staff writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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