Princeton Opens Home-And-Home With 6-0 Loss To Quinnipiac

PRINCETON, N.J. – It took Quinnipiac 6:31 minutes to rack up four goals on Princeton on Tuesday night.

While the Tigers managed to slow down Quinnipiac’s offense later in the game, the Bobcats added a couple more before the end of the second period for a 6-0 win at Baker Rink.

“That game was a product of Quinnipiac being a better hockey team,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “I can’t say any more than that.”

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Quinnipiac entered the match as one of the top teams in the country, undefeated until recently. Behind the New Jersey native Clifton brothers, Travis St. Denis and Sam Anas, Quinnipiac played like a No. 1 team.

“Quinnipiac is a good team,” Fogarty said. “As coaches, we speak to the media [and] a lot of times you say what went wrong with your team and that was a poor performance and you give all the clichés when in fact you have to look at the other team and say that’s a pretty damn good hockey team.

“And that’s what the difference was. Anas, St. Denis, the goaltender, that’s the difference. We don’t have that, but they do. That’s why they’re No. 1 in the country and that’s why we got beat 6-0.”

Connor Clifton struck first, scoring just 1:34 minutes into the game. K.J. Tiefenwerth added a goal less than four minutes later, followed by Derek Smith. Tim Clifton scored at the 8:05 mark and St. Denis scored the last goal of the first period. The Bobcats also converted on two of their three power-play chances in the first.

“They were a better hockey team,” Fogarty said. “When you’re playing the top team in the nation you better be hitting on all cylinders. And [they] did a great job of jumping on every loose puck and our inability to make contact as the first guy up ice was the difference in many odd-man rushes and many scoring opportunities they had.

“We have to do a better job of making sure we don’t lose our man up the ice without contact of their players.”

Princeton struggled to establish possession in the first, attempting just a few shots and several Grade-A chances. But the Bobcats countered with six Grade-A chances in the frame, two of which resulted in goals.

“We [were] caught between of trying to go and then you’re caught between going back,” Fogarty said. “You [have] to fully commit or you play a trap, and we don’t play a trap. You [have] to fully commit to the systems in hand.”

While Princeton played slightly better as the game went on and generated some chances, the Tigers were unable to slip one past Michael Garteig. The goaltender, who finished with 21 saves, was replaced in the third with senior backup Jacob Meyers. Princeton’s Colton Phinney finished with 37 saves in the loss.

The Tigers were outshot 43-24 on the night, with most of their quality attempts coming in the second and third. By that time, the Bobcats were already winning by five goals and had eased off the pressure.

“When it’s 6-0, they’re going to lay off the gas so the game’s going to look a little more even,” Fogarty said.

The Tigers traveled to Quinnipiac to face the Bobcats in the second half of the home-and-home between the two teams.

“[We] have to slow them down,” Fogarty said. “[We] have to have the first guy up ice, make sure he has contact and slow them down. It’s the only way we’ll be able to win.”

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Princeton Resumes Season With Home-And-Home Against Quinnipiac

After a short holiday break, Princeton men’s hockey resumes its season with a home-and-home series against Quinnipiac. The Tigers will host the Bobcats on Tuesday and travel to Quinnipiac on Wednesday.

The Tigers are coming off a loss and so are the Bobcats, who earned its first defeat of the season the last time it played. Quinnipiac went 17 games before losing, suffering a 4-1 defeat against Boston University on Dec. 12.

Despite the loss, the Bobcats are still one of the best teams in the country, if not the best. The well-coached program is first in the ECAC, just one point ahead of Cornell. Quinnipiac has the nation’s best defense, allowing 1.39 goals per game. A part of that success comes from Michael Garteig. Garteig is third in the country with a .948 save percentage, and he’s the only top-three netminder who’s started more than 10 games.

The Bobcats also average 3.56 goals per game, which is eighth in the country. Sam Anas leads the team with 10 goals and 19 points. Travis St. Denis has nine, while Clifton also has 10 goals.

The Tigers are currently in a three-way tie for seventh, thanks in part to a sweep of Brown and Yale. While Princeton finished the first half of the season with a loss to Penn State, the Tigers have had three wins in their last six games. The Tigers now have four wins this season, and it’s the fastest Princeton has reached that total since the 2011-12 season.

Princeton’s offense has improved vastly from last year. After having the country’s worst offense last season, the Tigers now average 2.31 goals per game. A big part of that has been the freshmen. Rookie Ryan Kuffner is tied with sophomore David Hallisey for the team lead with nine points.

On the back end Princeton has relied heavily on netminder Colton Phinney, who has a .937 save percentage. He’s also been the backbone of Princeton’s penalty kill. It dropped out of the top-five recently but still sits at 16th with a .860 conversion rate.

Where Princeton Scored Its Goals From In The First Half (Interactive)

So far this season, Princeton’s offense is averaging more than last year. The Tigers score 2.31 goals per game, as opposed to 1.30 goals per game, which ranked last in the country that year. There are several factors behind the increased output, including more familiarity with the team’s systems. I took seven of the shot charts from the first half (I’m missing all the road games except for Penn State) and compiled a shot chart where Princeton’s goals were scored from.

https://public.tableau.com/shared/R2G49C78C?:display_count=yes

Princeton Hockey Mailbag

Ryan Kuffner splits Penn State defenders

It’s the holidays, there’s no hockey and just a little bit of a break. But before I take some time off, here’s a Princeton hockey mailbag for the first half of the season.

If you have any additional questions for a future mailbag, you can tweet me @icehockeystick, tweet the blog @puhockeyblog, or email me at jashvinapshah@gmail.com.

https://twitter.com/davependrys/status/675116530460434433

Definitely faster. The Tigers have actually relied on their freshmen in recent history, and they’ve had many rookies who’ve been thrust into important roles. We saw that last year, with Eric Robinson and David Hallisey contributing on offense and Joe Grabowski earning to-pairing minutes on defense. But none of the freshmen have put up numbers the way Max Veronneau and Ryan Kuffner have.

It usually takes a semster for freshmen to really adjust to the collegiate game, but the two have benefitted from chemstiry created in junior hockey. They’re both skilled players, and so is Alex Riche. I knew they’d contribute and probably lead the team, but I didn’t realize their contributions would be this much.

Then you have Spencer Kryczka, who’s worked his way into the lineup almost every night. He’s more of a physical forward, but has added a few points. And on the back end, Princeton has relied on Josh Teves in a thin defense. While Teves (and all the freshmen) still has room to learn, he’s been a big part of the defense, and has helped offensively.

What are some pre/post game traditions? – Anonymous

I actually don’t have many, and definitely not as many as when I was at Boston University. I still make/bring my coffee with me, something that’s lasted since junior year of college. My favorite pregame tradition has to be walking around the rink. I’ll usually take a lap or two just to look at the old pictures and see if any familiar faces are hanging around. I love having pregame chats with fans and families. Then I usually walk around the benches or the penalty box to get some photos for my gameday Instagram picture.

As far as post-game tradition goes, my favorite is definitely the drive home! It’s the most relaxing part of the day and I usually blast some upbeat music to go with it. After that, I’ll put on some tea, write my post-game stories, edit some photographs and usually watch a horror movie while I’m editing pictures.

The best thing, though, is being at the rink after the game. Nothing compares to the peace of an empty hockey rink.

https://twitter.com/davependrys/status/675116934158000128

While Jonathan Liau was one of the offensive leaders last year, he didn’t contribute much statistically to the team this year. While he was still with the team, he actually only missed two games, but put up three points. Liau was arguably one of the faster players on the team, though, and the Tigers lose depth with his departure. It doesn’t seem like there’s much of a void to be filled, though, only because the underclassmen have really bolstered the offense.

What’s your go-to song/artist before a game? – Anonymous

It usually varies, depending on what I’m listening to at the time. I do have a set playlist of songs I listen to, all upbeat tracks. I like Shake It Off, because it’s really applicable to journalism (and the first place I heard it was at Baker Rink!) But I usually listen to Shake It Off on the way home. I like listening to “I Lived” on the way over, because it really calms me down. Defying Gravity from Wicked is also one of my go-to songs before games. The rest are a bunch of Hindi songs 🙂

Princeton doesn’t track advanced stats, although College Hockey News tracks things like Corsi. While I think they would be helpful, they’re not nesecary at the moment (especially because it’s hard to do in college hockey, including player Corsi). There are certain advanced stats I’d like to calculate (if time permits) because I do think they can help tell the story better!

https://twitter.com/davependrys/status/679434928036139008

Definitely higher. I knew they would be above 12th, but certainly didn’t predict they’d be tied for seventh. I also didn’t see them beating Yale – that was a huge win. It’s largely been a down or inconsistent year for the ECAC, which has contributed to some wacky standings in the conference. Given the way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Tigers hosted a first-round playoff series.

I would like to do more mailbags in the future, so if you have any questions, you can tweet me @icehockeystick, tweet the blog @puhockeyblog, or email me at jashvinapshah@gmail.com.

Princeton Men’s Hockey MVP of the First Half

Tyson Spink with a scoring chance on Colton Phinney

Princeton’s improved offense has been a big storyline this year. The team has played a lot better, a byproduct of knowing its systems much better than last year. But the biggest reason for any of the team’s success is the same as last year – netminding.

Before the season started, head coach Ron Fogarty said he was going to need Phinney to be on his best every night. And Phinney at his best means he won’t give up easy goals, and he’ll make big saves when he needs to.

After spending the summer at Devils’ development camp, Colton Phinney has played even better this year.

While Princeton is playing more sound defensively this year and hasn’t turned the puck over as much, Phinney’s still been there to stop it when they have. The junior has a .937 save percentage, 13th in the country.

While there have been many impactful players for the Tigers this year – like David Hallisey, the freshmen and Eric Robinson – there’s no question Phinney has been instrumental in the team’s four wins.

MVP of the first half: Colton Phinney

Phinney has a .937 save percentage this year, 13th in the country. He doesn’t get caught out of position much, but still makes the highlight-reel saves when he needs to.

Princeton Women’s Hockey MVP of the First Half

Kimberly Newell watches from the crease

A big reason behind Princeton’s success in the first half has been both the freshmen as well as the defense. Karlie Lund has been an offensive force, helping the Tigers to the NCAA’s 10th-best offense. But the Tigers also have a good defense.

And they have some good defenders, including Kelsey Koelzer- who’s also second on the team in scoring with 12 points. But the backbone of that defense has been senior Kimberly Newell.

After splitting a couple of starts early in the season, Newell took hold of the starting position and has helped the Tigers to the nation’s seventh-best defense. Princeton allows just 1.62 goals per game. And the Tigers also have the second-best penalty kill in the country.

MVP of the first half: Kimberly Newell

It’s hard to vote against a goaltender as good as Newell, especially when she’s been the backbone of a defense and an excellent penalty kill. Her save percentage of .947 ranks seventh in the country.

Princeton Men’s Hockey Unsung Hero of the First Half

David Hallisey

While the freshmen have been important in the team’s progress, several veteran players have been especially important, including the upperclassmen and co-captains who’ve helped the freshmen transition.

Sophomore David Hallisey is tied for the team lead with nine points, which is much higher than his total from last year. Hallisey was a good player as a freshman, but an injury cut his season short 15 games in.

There’s also Eric Robinson, who head coach Ron Fogarty called Princeton’s most improved player. His Six goals less the team, and he’s been an excellent penalty killer.

On the blue line, Joe Grabowski leads all defensemen with four points. Freshman Josh Teves isn’t far behind with three of his own. And his partner, Tommy Davis, also has three points. The Tiger blue line is still fairly young, although the return of Kevin Liss – when he’s been healthy – has added some experience.

Co- Unsung heroes of the first half: David Hallisey and Tommy Davis

There are many players who’ve stepped up this year who don’t get much recognition. That could be Ryan Siiro or Garrett Skrbich, two players who helped Princeton sweep Brown and Yale. There’s also Ben Foster, who’s one of the team’s most skilled players.

But Hallisey is quietly having quite a comeback year after his injury, and hasn’t looked out of sync despite missing the second half of last season.

Davis has been Princeton’s best defenseman over the past two years. Last year was a little difficult for Davis, essentially serving as his freshman season as the defender missed most of his rookie year with an injury. This year, Davis has been much steadier on defense, and a good partner for freshman Teves.

Princeton Women’s Hockey Rookie of the First Half

Stephanie Sucharda

The Tigers enter the midseason break tied with Harvard for second in the ECAC. Princeton has the nation’s second-best penalty kill, a good defense and average 2.75 goals per game – good for 10th in the country.

The Tigers welcomed four newcomers this year – Karlie Lund, Stephanie Sucharda, Kimiko Marinacci, Keiko DeClerck. All have played in all 16 games, except for DeClerck, who’s played in five. They’ve all been impactful in their respective positions – something head coach Jeff Kampersal predicted before the season started.

Lund and Sucharda have been especially impactful, bolstering the attack and the blue line. Lund is the team’s leading scorer, and has 18 points through 16 games. She’s fourth nationally amongst freshmen forwards and ranks second in points per game.

“Karlie Lund is a gifted playmaker. She can make the players that she plays with better,” Kampersal said before the season started.

Sucharda has been stable on the back end, and has added seven points of her own.

“She can really, really get back there. She’s a steady presence, she moves the puck really well [and] she can get out of trouble,” Kampersal said early in the season. “So she’s really good in terms of helping us break the puck out.”

Rookie of the First Half: Karlie Lund

It’s hard to choose just one player when all freshmen have been contributing. But Lund’s impact on Princeton’s offense, which ranks 10th nationally, can’t be overlooked.

Princeton Men’s Hockey Rookie Of The First Half

Josh Teves

Princeton enters the holiday break with four wins. While it might not seem like much, it’s a big improvement from last season. While the second year under head coach Ron Fogarty has helped, the freshmen have also been an important factor in the team’s improvement.

The Tigers welcomed six freshmen this year – four forwards, a defenseman and a goaltender. Princeton looked to the rookies to contribute early, and especially to add some offense. They’ve done that, contributing 24 of Princeton’s 72 points and nine of the team’s 30 goals.

It’s usually challenging for freshmen to adapt to college hockey. That’s been the case for Princeton’s rookie class, which has committed some mistakes and turnovers. But overall their impact has been more positive than negative, and almost each freshman has seen substantial minutes. That includes power play and penatly killing time. The only freshman who hasn’t played is netminder Austin Shaw, who’s currently third on the goaltending depth chart.

But Max Veronneau, Ryan Kuffner, Alex Riche, Josh Teves and Spencer Kryzcka have all seen regular playing time. Kuffner and Veronneau have stood out statistically and on the ice, with nine and five points, respectively. They each have four goals, while Kuffner’s nine points is tied for the team lead. Kuffner and Veronneau played together in the CCHL, and their chemistry has translated over to Princeton. Several weeks ago, the pair joined with Riche to create an all-freshman line. It’s been one of Princeton’s best lines that’s generated quality scoring chances.

“They don’t know any better. Sometimes being naive is great and they’re naive,” Fogarty said after the loss to the NTDP. “They don’t know what they’re supposed to do. Just go play hockey. It’s great.”

Riche may not have as many points as his counterparts, but his play has improved over the season. You also can’t overlook Kryczka, who’s added a physical presence to the team. Riche has four points, while Kryczka has three. Kuffner, Riche, Veronneau and Teves have all played in all 13 games, while Kryczka has played in nine.

Teves has been an important addition to the blue line. He’s been playing with upperclassman Tommy Davis to create one of the more offensive Princeton pairings. Teves, who has three points this season, has also played on special teams.

Co-Rookies Of The First Half: Max Veronneau and Ryan Kuffner

With so many freshmen stepping up, this was a difficult choice. But the talent and skill of Kuffner and Veronneau have infused some much-needed life into the offense, and their impact is evident both on and off the scoresheet. The first half of the season is usually a learning curve for freshmen, which means the pair should be able to contribute even more next semester.

Princeton vs. Dartmouth 12.5.15 Photos

Here are pictures from Princeton’s win over Dartmouth:

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