NEWARK, N.J – After just over a week of official practices, Princeton men’s hockey finally had a chance to test their new systems in a game setting.
The game ended in an official 2-2, with Yale advancing to the championship game after a shootout win.
“That was a great first opponent,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “Yale has a lot of speed, and now we know how to counter. There’s a lot of things to work on, but that was a great first step on this team.”
The freshmen powered the Tigers to a tie, as six rookies appeared in the lineup. Both Eric Robinson and David Hallisey netted their first career goals, while Joe Grabowski recorded his first collegiate point.
“I think we’re in a great spot to build from where we are today,” Hallisey said. “Today was a great showing of what we can do. We just need to continue doing what we’re doing and it’ll continue to progress forward.”
The Tigers started the game with energy and out-shot Yale 14-11 in the first. While Yale finished with 47 shots on net, the Tigers kept Yale’s shots to the perimeter in the first and third periods.
“I thought we played really well,” goalkeeper Colton Phinney said. “We didn’t have any scrimmages, they had a scrimmage, We’ve had eight days of real practices so I think it’s pretty good, definitely a good start. Taking a tie versus them is pretty good, especially compared to what we did last year.”
Phinney stopped 45 shots and kept Yale off the scoreboard in a difficult second period. The Bulldogs took 27 shots, and had a 5-on-3 power play.
“I saw the shots were coming from the outside, we had good support underneath,” Fogarty said. ‘They exposed us at times, they threw a lot at the net in the second period. It’s different when you throw pucks on net or have quality scoring chances.
“I believe if you’re taking care of the front and back door, then you’re doing a good job. We did a great job on the back door on the 5-on-3, they were looking for the backdoor play and to have that consistency now with our defense is very assuring.”
Two freshmen, Joe Grabowski and Matt Nelson, patrolled the blue line for Princeton. Four other rookies appeared in their first collegiate games, including Connor McLaren and Ryan Berlin.
Yale scored first on the power play, but the Tigers netted it over midway through the first when freshman David Hallisey potted a rebound.
“It’s been a childhood dream and I just thought [about] it over and over again before,” Hallisey said. “It finally happens. Glad to get it out of the way, I felt more comfortable after that.”
In the second, Eric Robinson — playing with Ben Foster and Ryan Siiro — scored his first collegiate goal to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead.
“I love playing with those two, they’re great linemates,” Robinson said. “Siiro is obviously a big guy down there a lot and [it’s] a ton of fun playing with them.”
Yale knotted the score at 2-2 after killing off a 5-on-3 power play, when Mike Doherty scored from the top of the right faceoff circle.
Yale advanced to the championship game with a shootout win. The Bulldogs will face UConn at 4 p.m. on Sunday, while Princeton will play Merrimack at 1 p.m.
“I thought we did a very good job today,” Robinson said. “Obviously the first game’s always tough, new team, new systems, but I thought all the guys handled it well and did a very good job.”