Princeton, N.J. – Colton Phinney eyed the bench with less than two minutes left in regulation. Princeton trailed Quinnipiac by one, and the netminder was waiting for a signal to skate off.
With less than a minute remaining, Phinney skated off.
With an extra attacker on, David Hallisey found the puck on his stick. He took the shot, but the puck rang off the post.
The freshman’s chance came late in the game, but was one of several chances the Tigers (2-12-1, 1-9-0 ECAC) failed to finish in the 1-0 loss to the Bobcats (12-5-1, 8-2-0 ECAC) on Sunday.
Princeton suffered its third shutout in a row, and has not scored in 210:03 minutes,
“You just have to you got to keep mining,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “You got to keep going in. We’re bringing up coal right now, and we’ll starting bringing that gold up very soon.”
Princeton started the game well, and put together its best 60-minute effort in front of a 2,299 crowd at Baker Rink. The Tigers created a few chances, including late in the second period. Ben Foster had a great chance, but couldn’t corral the puck on his stick.
“It’s so disheartening,” Fogarty said. “You want the team and the guys to win. You work that hard, you want to see the tangible results. As a coaching staff, I just feel really bad for the guys right now because [of] that effort.
“And they’re working so hard, I want them to enjoy a night after that type of work.”
A physical game early on, action escalated when Princeton’s Mike Ambrosia hit one of Quinnipiac’s players. He was whistled for interference, handed a five-minute major and sent off.
Quinnipiac’s Danny Frederico was assessed two minutes for roughing. Once Ferderico’s penalty expired, the Bobcats attacked with three minutes of power play time. Princeton was whistled for a delayed penalty, and Devon Toews put the puck past Phinney for the game’s only goal.
Despite falling behind, Princeton didn’t cave – the Tigers fought back, but couldn’t find the game-tying tally in the third.
“If the team scores in the first minute or 58 [minute], you still have the same focus,” Fogarty said. “We’ve been very attentive and detail orientated, I think the guys played well throughout the whole game.”
For the second-straight game, Princeton allowed 25 shots or less on goal. Phinney finished with 24 stops.
“I’m not seeing as much time in our defensive zone as last month, so that’s a great stride,” Fogarty said. “We’re not expending a lot of energy chasing the puck, we’re jumping [more quickly] to stop any cycles and any long-withstanding pressure.”
The Tigers played without Tommy Davis and Jonathan Liau. Davis received a five-minute major and game misconduct for butt-ending on Saturday. Liau did not play later in Saturday’s game and is not injured.
Princeton failed to score on either of its two power play chances, while killing off two Quinnipiac power plays.
The Tigers have now played in two games since the holiday break, and Fogarty said he has a better understanding of his team’s identity. Fogarty said Princeton’s strengths are its work ethic and attention.
“You’re starting to see a pattern now,” Fogarty said. “The first half of the season before Christmas we said was going to be a learning process.
“Now it’s execution and [doing] things that we’ve been working on. Now there’s no excuses, you have to bring your A game every night, and we’ve seen that now from a lot of guys [in] two consecutive nights against a top opponent.”