Princeton Gets Blanked By Dartmouth

Davis or PhinneyHANOVER, N.H. – When Dartmouth scored to take the 1-0 lead in the first, Princeton skated back as Big Green fans pelted the ice with tennis balls. But after the tennis balls were swept away for a clean surface just minutes later, the Tigers refused to falter.

They rebounded by outshooting Dartmouth 17-4 and controlling play in the second and outshooting the Big Green in the third.

“Our play of the game has greatly improved. From [when] our staff came, what we were looking for is what we’re seeing,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said.

While the Tigers threw 17 shots on net in the second, a breakdown led to Dartmouth’s goal – all the Big Green needed as Charles Grant made 37 saves in the 2-0 win.

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“When you’re on the road and you get plus-30 chances, 30 shots on goal, you’re showing progress because you have the puck more,” Fogarty said. “We had some great scoring chances again and that’s what you want to have – the opportunity to have scoring chances. That’s something that [we’re] progressing for the last year and a half.”

Alex Jasiek struck first, while Jack Barre helped the Big Green capitalize on a Princeton mistake to go ahead 2-0. The Tigers responded by outshooting the Big Green in the second and third in an effort to tie the game. Princeton finished with 37 shots to Dartmouth’s 23.

“From this road trip we had opportunities both nights to score goals and [outshot Dartmouth] 17-4 in the second period,” Fogarty said. “We controlled majority of the play and just unfortunate one breakdown, we doubled up it goes the other way early in the second.”

The Tigers also continued strong defensive play, keeping most shots to the perimeter. Colton Phinney finished with 21 saves.

“We played very solid 5-on-5 [in] both games on the road. It doesn’t matter about home or road games, it’s how you play. we played very solid 5-on-5 throughout the weekend,”

While Fogarty was pleased with the team’s 5-on-5 play, Princeton has struggled on the power play – going 0-for-3 in the loss. But, The Tigers created some opportunities on their last power play in the third.

“We changed the philosophy to having a 5-on-5 mentality,” Fogarty said. “When you start thinking power plays, it’s 5-on-4. You go into a setup mode and not moving your feet. We’re moving off the puck and trying to get shots down. So it’s more of a 5-on-5 mentality that we’re bringing with our power play.”

 

The next step for the Tigers is to convert their chances, but the team is on the right path.

“I’m pleased with the progression, where we’re going in transitional game from defense to offense,” Fogarty said. “The guys realize [if] we come back in units of five, [it] creates opportunities in the offensive zone.”

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Princeton Falls To Harvard Despite Strong Effort

AmbrosiaBOSTON – Throughout the second period, Princeton hockey fought with Harvard, trying to free the puck and generate some scoring chances. The Tigers continued the trend in the third, trying to find the equalizer down 2-1.

“I will take that game every day how we played,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “We did a lot of good things between the dots, disrupted a lot of transition from Harvard with our sticks down and we had four Grade-A scoring opportunities, a post, 2-on-1, couple open nets and I would take that type of game how we played the rest of the way through.”

But the Tigers couldn’t solve Harvard’s Merrick Madsen, eventually falling to the Crimson 4-1 on Friday night.

“[Colton Phinney] didn’t have to make as many big saves this time,” Fogarty said. “I thought the Harvard goalie made some big saves.”

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Harvard outshot Princeton 36-24, but the Tigers took several shots from just outside the crease, especially in the second and third periods.

“It was a solid game for us and [there were] just a couple of panic plays that created 2-on-1 opportunities for the third goal,” Fogarty said. “We just have to remain patient for 60 minutes and keep getting these situations so our team learns how to be in these situations.”

Harvard took the lead early when Sean Malone scored on the power play 1:56 minutes into the game. The Crimson controlled the play in the first. Harvard’s Tyler Moy added a goal early in the second, but the Tigers dominated the period.

Princeton’s Tommy Davis scored less than four minutes later, a play that started when Davis helped free the puck from a Crimson player. Davis skated into the right circle to convert the feed from Ryan Kuffner to bring Princeton within one.

The Tigers were unable to tie the game, and Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey converted a 2-on-1 chance to bring the game to 3-1. Vesey also scored the team’s empty netter.

“[We need to get] in those familiar situations,” Fogarty said. “A person like Vesey has that open net, he knows [what to do]. He’s been in that situation before, so it’s a common occurrence for him. For some of our guys, they haven’t had that common occurrence through their careers. But we did a great job of creating those opportunities from plays in our defensive zone.”

It was Princeton’s second loss of the season to Harvard, as the Tigers dropped a 3-0 decision in November. But Fogarty said he could see the improvement.

“The way we played through the 5-on-5 for the 52 minutes, [if] we continue to do that with those habits that we had throughout the game, we’re going to find success. It’s still going to take time. You’re playing aginst a top-5 team in the country and you have equal scoring opportunities and a couple awesome grade-A looks. … We’re just a couple inches away and we’re sitting here and it’s a different story or we’re still playing hockey right now in overtime.”

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Princeton Travels to Dartmouth, Harvard

Kelsey Koelzer
Princeton women’s hockey, on an 11-game winning streak, travels to Dartmouth and Harvard this weekend. The Tigers last faced both teams in December near the beginning of the winning streak. Princeton stole a 1-0 overtime win against Harvard before defeating Dartmouth 4-1.

The Big Green are on a 12-game winless streak that stretches back to Nov. 27. Dartmouth’s last outing was a 2-0 loss to Harvard. Laura Stacey leads the team with 18 points, while Robyn Chemago has a .920 save percentage.

The Crimson just defeated Dartmouth, a win that snapped a three-game losing streak. Miye D’Oench leads the team with 22 points while Emerance Maschmeyer has a .947 save percentage through 14 games.

Karlie Lund is still Princeton’s leading scorer with 22 points. But Kelsey Koelzer, the defender who scored the game winner against Harvard, has 17. Netminder Kimberly Newell has a .947 save percentage.

Princeton Travels to Harvard, Dartmouth

Princeton men’s hockey travels to Harvard and Dartmouth this weekend, the second meeting between the teams this year. When Princeton hosted the two at Baker in November, the Tigers lost 3-2 to Dartmouth before dropping a 3-0 game to Harvard.

“Hopefully we’ve improved since then, which we have,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “It’s tough. Harvard’s a very good team, Dartmouth is streaking. You just try to get points, as many points as you can each game. One or two, that’s what you’re looking for, especially how tight the standings were.”

The Tigers will play the Crimson on Friday night, which will be televised by NESN. On Saturday, faceoff is set for 7:30 p.m.

The Tigers are on a three-game unbeaten streak, with ties to RPI and Union and a win over AIC. The Crimson are 5-3 in January, with losses to BU, Quinnipiac and Clarkson. Dartmouth is on a five-game winning streak, defeating Holy Cross, Clarkson, St. Lawrence, Cornell and Colgate.

“Our game vs Dartmouth was pretty sloppy if I remember correctly,” junior Tommy Davis said. “We got to watch some video on them this week and just be ready. It’s not really about them, it’s more about us and having a third guy high and supporting the puck.”

Harvard’s Jimmy Vesey is one of the top scorers in the nation and leads the country’s sixth-best offense.. He has 30 points, while Alexander Kerfoot has 22 and Kyle Criscuolo has 21. Merrick Madsen has played the most in net and holds a .933 save percentage.

Jack Barre leads Dartmouth with 16 points. Charles Grant has earned the bulk of minutes this season and has a .919 save percentage, but James Kruger was in net when these teams played each other earlier.

The freshmen are still leading the way for Princeton, as Ryan Kuffner has 13 points. Sophomore David Hallisey has 10 points, but has missed the past few games. Colton Phinney has started every game in net and has a .927 save percemtage.

PU vs. AIC 1.26.16 Photos

Johnny Mueller hits Matt Nelson

Here are photos from Princeton’s 1-0 win over AIC on Tuesday:

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Ben Foster Returns In Win Over AIC

PRINCETON, N.J. – Ben Foster smiled as one of Pitbull’s songs surged through the locker room walls, seeping into the dim video room after the game.

“This is it right now. Can you hear it right now? I don’t even know what song is that,” Foster said.

“I do speak Spanish actually but I don’t know the name of the song.

“This is our win song.”

The song was Pitbull’s Don Omar, a five-year-year old tune that celebrates Princeton’s wins. On Tuesday night, Don Omar was blasting after a 1-0 win over AIC, Princeton’s fifth of the season. But for Foster, it also represented his return after a two-game absence.

“It’s good to be back,” Foster said. “It’s hard to sit on the stands and watch the team. We had two good games when I was out [which was] nice to see, but it’s always nice to be able to contribute.”

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The junior missed Princeton’s last two games before break, ties against RPI and Union, due to an injury. When he returned on Tuesday night, Foster skated on a line with Eric Robinson and Mike Ambrosia. But when fellow forward Max Becker left with an injury, Princeton coach Ron Fogarty began double-shifting Foster.

“He had more energy when we started double-shifting him because his shift management was better. He wasn’t out for a minute a half as he was one time the first,” Fogarty said.

“With him less is more, again. Foster is very effective when his shifts are under 30 seconds. … When they start to drag to 35-40, he doesn’t have the best stride like Robinson, where he can mask a lot of things, because he’s built on effort and smarts. So quick shifts are better for [Foster] and we double shifted him for that reason try to get him going.”

The junior forward didn’t score, as the Tigers struggled to slide a shot past AIC’s Jacob Caffrey all night. But Foster made some smart passes to his linemates, including Robinson.

“It’s pretty obvious that he’s got NHL speed,” Foster said. “He’s almost too fast for me. But you give him the puck and he just flies down the wing and he’s able to make plays and he’s a really good hockey player. [He’s] easy to play with.”

Foster hasn’t scored much this season and has five points – half his total from last year. But Foster’s regular linemates, Robinson and David Hallisey, are two of Princeton’s top scorers. And Foster, who was tied for second in Tiger scoring last season, has continued improving this year.

“Playing away from the puck and jumping to support, that’s probably the biggest thing,” Fogarty said.

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Princeton Resumes Play With Win Over AIC

nelsonPRINCETON, N.J. – On a rare Tuesday night in front of a crowd of 842, Princeton took the ice after a two-week break from hockey. But when the puck dropped against AIC, the Tigers couldn’t play the way they needed.

“I didn’t think we played well in the first,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “I thought it was very sloppy. [There were] a lot of individual efforts [and] we weren’t attacking in units of five, so it was kind of one-hitters and done. There [were] a lot of perimeter shots, but there wasn’t a lot of traffic as well. So the goalie made some big saves, but there wasn’t much for him to look around.”

The Tigers improved slightly as the game continued, finally putting one past AIC’s Jacob Caffrey in the 1-0 win.

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“The second period was better. We started to come back and come together [in] five man groups rather than just two guys not coming back hard and staying up by the blue line,” Fogarty said. “That was a poor transitional game that we played, with a lot of transitional opportunities. We were very poor in trying to manufacture transition plays from guys being lazy not getting out of the zone.”

The victory was Princeton’s fifth of the season, marking the first time the Tigers have surpassed four wins since the 2013-14 season.

“It’s good to get any win under the belt right now when you’re rebuilding,” Fogarty said. “Personally, it’s great. We won four last year, now we have five with a chance to add more. That’s moving towards a personal goal.”

Sophomore Ryan Berlin broke the scoreless tie with 14:10 minutes left in the game. Tommy Davis picked the puck up at the top of the right circle and sent it on net, where Berlin sent it in.

“We came out [really] slow against Quinnipiac,” forward Ben Foster said. “We didn’t have a great first period tonight, but at least we were tied 0-0 after the first and the second and then [Berlin] was able to pop one in the third and give us the win.”

Berlin’s goal was the first of the season and his third career point – all goals.

“It was good. The guys that have limited ice, they sometimes don’t want to make mistake because they want to continue to play,” Fogarty said. “And it was a show of a aggression and jumping and rewarded with a goal.”

The two teams were engaged in a fast-paced, back-and-forth game, but the Tigers outshot the Yellow Jackets 43-23. Caffrey, making his first collegiate start, made 45 saves. Colton Phinney ended with 23.

Princeton created the most Grade-A chances in the first and third frames. The Tigers kept almost all AIC shots to the perimeter, but allowed a couple of scoring chances – including a couple shorthanded bids.

“We just had some breakdowns,” Davis said. “When you see a game like this on a schedule, I don’t want to say you take it lightly, but a little bit you do because they’re not in our conference, there’s nothing on the line really. And it’s a Tuesday night, there’s not a lot of fans here. So it was just a general like lulls here and there but I think we battled through it. And we ran into a hot goalie too so that didn’t help us.”

The Tigers, who finished 0-for-2 on the power play and didn’t take any penalties, are on a three-game unbeaten streak.

“I think the turning point for us was really the Yale-Brown weekend when we realized that we can actually finish games and not just stick around in games,” Davis said. “So this weekend’s a [really] good test for us.”

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Analysis: Princeton vs. Harvard 12.4.15

For this portion, I wanted to look at Princeton’s 2-1 overtime win against Harvard in December. For those who remember, the tight game ended with a fantastic play from defender Kelsey Koelzer in the extra frame. I actually wasn’t at this game, so I saw the whole game for the first time specifically for this post.

I didn’t have many areas of focus, but here were some things I looked for:

  • Karlie Lund: The freshman has been unstoppable for Princeton, and I was looking for some clips that would show what’s helped her succeed.
  • Kelsey Koelzer: Last week head coach Jeff Kampersal told me that Koelzer, a forward converted to defense, has been getting better on the defensive side. So I was looking for her defensive plays.
  • The power play: Kampersal has been emphasizing that Princeton needs to work on its power play. The Tiger advantage is 23rd in the nation.

Let me start with Koelzer. Her goal was incredible, but I wanted something that showcased her defensively. So I found this clip of Koelzer, where she makes a good defensive play. I circled her in the first frame so you can see where she starts and how she reacts calmly to the play:

Koelzer-D-play

Koelzer isn’t extremely close to the play, but she does a good job of getting over to Harvard’s forward and knocking the puck away. Koelzer is known pretty well for her offensive ability though, which brings me to her game-winning goal:

koelzer-goal

I don’t think Koelzer’s goal needs any explanation, so I’ll go to my next point – the power play. The Tigers turn the puck over a lot on the power play and have trouble moving it or getting any Grade-A shots off. It’s the same for opponents when Princeton is on the penalty kill though, and in this game they shut down the nation’s top power play unit.

I’ve talked a lot about Karlie Lund and how effective she’s been for the Tigers. Here’s a clip of her bringing the puck in Princeton’s offensive zone, and I want you to watch how she gets the puck past a couple of Crimson defenders:

Lund

And here’s another one of Lund, who picks the puck up in Harvard’s zone and tries to get an angled shot off:

lund-scoring-chance

I was also hoping to grab some footage of Stephanie Sucharda, because she’s also been a force on the blue line. I was unable to get some footage, but she’s played well on the point for the power play.

Something else I wanted to note was Kimberly Newell’s play. It’s no secret she’s one of the best goaltenders is the country, and she proved it in the game. Newell was especially pressed in the third period but wasn’t giving up many second chances on net (one of the few times she did resulted in Harvard’s goal).

That’s all for now, but hopefully I can get to some more games – especially since the current team (which is on a 10-game winning streak) has solidified since this game.

Analysis: Princeton vs. Harvard 11.14.15

I went back and re-watched Princeton’s 3-0 loss to Harvard from November. I’m at every home game, but taking pictures for two periods limits my visibility, and the side view from the stream on Ivy League Digital Network lets me see more than I would from a corner (or from the press box).

This was a game that was very close, as Princeton trailed 1-0 until very late in the game when the Crimson potted two empty-net goals. There were a couple of things I wanted to watch for here:

  • Are the freshmen getting protected starts? The freshmen have been impactful this year, especially the line of Max Veronneau, Alex Riche and Ryan Kuffner. At the time of this game, Riche wasn’t with Veronneau and Kuffner. But the two rookies together were dominant and contributing points. There are game situations that can help this – are they starting mostly in the offensive zone (protected starts)? And how much ice time are they getting? I couldn’t actually tackle the second question, though.
  • How did the defense perform? I’m probably the most interested in Princeton’s defense, and have been since last season. I think it’s one of the team’s most improved aspects from last year.

That was my main focus, although I picked up some other observations while watching. Unfortunately my time has been limited since hockey resumed after winter break, so I wasn’t able to watch and pick up some more – but I did take some clips to analyze some points. And his game happened a few months ago, so the Tiger team that played then is different than the current one. (Hopefully I can also look at a more recent game).

Let’s start with the first period and Harvard’s goal. It was a play right off the faceoff, with Jimmy Vesey tipping Desmond Bergin’s shot from the point. The entire play started with the faceoff win, which brings me to this point – faceoffs has been a huge issue for Princeton both in this game and during the season. The Tigers are winning just 41 percent of their faceoffs.

Here’s Harvard’s goal:

Harvard-goal

Like I mentioned before, faceoffs weren’t a strong suit for Princeton in the game. The Tigers got better at it as the game went on, but I think it was a considerable factor in Princeton’s struggle to generate offense.

Here’s a clip I wanted to share of Princeton winning a faceoff at center ice and breaking the puck out (there’s no point to this, I just liked it):

F-woin-and-breakout

Princeton’s offense isn’t a powerhouse, but it’s been much better than last year. If the Tigers won more faceoffs and controlled the puck off the drop, it would help their offense a lot – especially on the power play. I don’t have any clips to share of their man-advantage, but part of the reason they’ve struggled to generate chances is a lost faceoff that leads to a quick clear.

Speaking of offense, the freshmen aren’t getting protected zone starts. They also aren’t being placed in easy situations and have sometimes created their chances from nothing. I’ll use the clip of Max Veronneau and Ryan Kuffner below, where Veronneau forces a turnover near the blueline and Kuffner picks it up for a shot:

Veronneau-takeaway

I thought the defense struggled a little bit early in the first, but they settled down and became better later in the game. There was still some running around/breakdowns at times in the game, but not much. Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty talks a lot about keeping shots to the perimeter, and it’s part of the reason why Princeton has been successful on defense. They might allow many shots, but they’re not quality shots. The Tigers do a pretty good job of protecting their net, which brings me to the next point – the penalty kill. Princeton’s penalty kill was ranked very high nationally when they played Harvard, and Harvard had the best power play at the time. The Tigers did a great job of limiting chances on the penalty kill, but it helps when you have a player like Eric Robinson who can kill shorthanded time with some offensive chances.

But as I mentioned above, there were some defensive breakdowns – including one that led to Colton Phinney’s cartwheel save – remember that? One of the defensemen was too high into the offensive zone, leaving Quin Pompi as the only defenseman back in the play having to defend two Crimson players.

D-breakdown

And lastly, I wanted to share this play from Garrett Skrbich because I liked it. He helps create the turnover (or creates, the camera angle makes it a little hard to see) at neutral ice and then gets in a great position for a Grade-A chance.

skrbich

That’s all for now, but if there’s anything you’d like to see more of, please let me know!