The men’s hockey team started its season with a bang in a 3-2 overtime win over Dartmouth in the Liberty Hockey Invitational on Oct. 25. Since then, the Tigers (1-3 overall, 0-2 ECAC) seem to have lost their way, losing to Yale in the Liberty Invitational, to Cornell in Ithaca and, most recently, to Colgate at Starr Rink in Hamilton, N.Y. on Nov. 2, leaving them with an uphill battle in the ECAC.
Though these were all tightly contested affairs, the Tigers fell behind early and faced deficits of two or more goals in each of their last three games. Princeton had to play catch-up all game against Yale (2-1-1, 1-0-1), going down 2-0 early. They came within one goal twice, halving the Bulldogs’ lead on a goal from senior forward Andrew Ammon 19 minutes into the final period, but could never draw even.
Ammon assisted junior forward Tyler Maugeri as Princeton attempted another third-period comeback against Cornell (3-1, 1-1), but the Big Red’s four points proved too much to overcome.
“So far, the season has shown the team that the ECAC is a total dogfight and any team can win on any given night,” sophomore forward Michael Zajac said. “Every game is absolutely necessary to win, and we go into every tilt expecting to come out victorious. We have a very experienced, skilled squad, and we look forward to making our mark on the Princeton hockey tradition this year by winning championships like the Ivy League Championship, ECAC Championship and the NCAA Championship.”
Princeton held its own for two periods against Colgate (3-5-1, 1-1-0), and the match was scoreless going into the final frame. The Raiders came out firing, however, and scored twice in the first five minutes. A goal from freshman forward Ryan Siiro in the ninth minute put Princeton back in the game, but Cornell added another goal eight minutes later to seal the win.
The Tigers’ season now gets into full swing with six games in the next 14 days. All six will be played at Baker Rink and will give the Tigers an opportunity to assert their home advantage as they try to reverse their fortunes.
Princeton starts this series of games against Yale on Friday at 7 p.m. and will then play conference games against Brown, Dartmouth, Harvard and Quinnipiac. Zajac was confident his team would fare better in those matches.
“We hold each other accountable every day in practice, meetings and in the classroom to bring our downright greatest effort in order to achieve our goals,” he said. “Anything less than that is unacceptable, and, as a team, we take great pride in what we do, paying close attention to our team culture and attitude.”