PRINCETON, N.J. – Mike Ambrosia skated out for warmups. Like normal, he tossed the puck around with his teammates and cycled in the pre-game drills.
But it was far from normal.
On Friday, Ambrosia took the ice for the first time since last March, making his season debut after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.
“[I’m] feeling good,” Ambrosia said.
The junior didn’t score a point, but his presence bolstered the offensive and helped Princeton snap a five-game losing streak. He had some scoring chances and finished with a shot on goal and a plus-1 rating.
“It was a good team win, I think we did a lot of good things in terms of our energy and matching their speed,” Ambrosia said. “The coaching staff always stresses worrying about ourselves and I think we did that tonight.”
The New Jersey native hasn’t registered a healthy season at Princeton yet, but was the team’s leading freshman scorer two years ago.
“We got some depth back and put some guys that are accustomed to more minutes out there,” coach Ron Fogarty said.
Ambrosia, who spent part of his summer at Devils’ development camp, had his first chance to practice the new systems in a game situation.
“We’ve been working on it since day one,” Ambrosia said. “It seems like a while now, a couple months watching games, you kind of just try to repeat it, repeat it and keep working on it.”
Ambrosia’s return also brought leadership, as he’s one of two lettered captains playing for Princeton. The other is Aaron Ave, while captain Tyler Maugeri remains injured.
“We have a team full of leaders,” Ambrosia said. “You want to be on the ice and you want to contribute and be a part of it whether you win lose or tie, but it’s nice to be back.”
Along with Ambrosia, forward Kyle Rankin and defenseman Tom Kroshus also returned.
“We have close to a full team back so it’s definitely been fun and we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”