Senior winger Andrew Ammon continues to impress, but shorthanded goals by Yale sink the visiting Tigers.
As the season moves tantalizingly close to the ECAC playoffs, men’s hockey (5-20 overall, 4-14 ECAC) continues to display flashes of brilliance. Senior winger Andrew Ammon has maintained what has been a singularly impressive run of form in his team’s split weekend against Brown (10-12-3, 7-10-1) and Yale (13-8-4, 8-7-3). A win in Providence prevented the Bears from earning their second straight season sweep over Princeton and also served to break the five-game winless streak for the Tigers. A 7-5 loss the following night prevented the Tigers from continuing to build momentum.
On the season, Ammon has tallied 20 points on 10 goals and 10 assists, good for first on the team. The squad’s starting left winger totaled a wild eight points on the weekend, with three coming as assists in Friday’s victorious effort, and three more and two goals coming the following night. Linemate, classmate and starting center Andrew Calof teamed up with Ammon — as seems customary — to provide two assists against Brown and further increased his scoring tally with two assists and a goal the following night.
“It definitely has an effect on you,” Ammon said of his recent scoring tear. “Obviously there’s nothing more exciting than scoring or being part of a goal. But I think while it’s happening, you’re just kind of sticking to the process and do your own job. I think that’s the approach I took out there this weekend.”
The tight 3-2 contest at Brown featured an unusual penalty shot. First-team All-Ivy selection Matt Lorito, who converted the opportunity for his team’s second goal, was taken down during what was judged to be a breakaway opportunity. This would be the first such play of freshman goaltender Colton Phinney’s career.
Princeton’s three goals came from freshmen: defenseman Hayden Anderson, center Ben Foster and winger Ryan Siiro. In total, the Tigers managed 31 shots on goal against Brown’s Tyler Steel.
Steel was compelled to skate off the ice to give his team the extra skater, but the man-up Bears only managed one shot. Princeton has yet to allow an extra-skater goal this season.
Interstate 95 connects Brown to Yale in a sub-two hour drive. The Tigers traveled for the next night’s competition. It proved to be a shootout, with 12 scores in all.
Princeton faced down a three goal deficit at the 11:26 mark in the second period. Ammon continued to play the role of hero with a pair of goals 40 seconds apart at the 12:23 and 13:03 marks. Yale’s second shorthanded goal of the night gave the home side a two-goal cushion once again.
“I don’t really know what to think about them. I think they were just bad breaks on our part,” Ammon, who was on the ice for all three Yale goals, explained. “They got the puck behind our D and got a jump. One was a breakaway goal and another was a two-on-one. So it’s something we’ll have to look at and something we should definitely fix. Because that can be a game changer right there.”
Goals continued to come for both sides, while Princeton and Yale tallied 35 and 39 shots in total. Siiro put in his fifth goal of the season on a power play late in the second period. Calof and sophomore defenseman Kyle Rankin scored within just over a minute of each other to draw closer at 6-5.
At the 18:22 mark, Yale’s Charles Orzetti faced a five-minute major penalty for a high hit on Ammon. For the ensuing faceoff Princeton pulled senior goaltender Sean Bonar for a 6×4 advantage. The Bulldogs’ Kenny Agostino managed to snag the puck off the draw and hit the back of an empty net for his team’s third shorthanded goal and the nail in the coffin.
Regarding the Tigers’ late-season play, Ammon talked about a team that still is looking to find and solidify their strengths.
“Right now we’re trying to find our identity. In our league every team makes the playoffs,” Ammon explained, “So it’s all about getting hot at the right time. That’s what we’re working on right now. We’ve been making some positive strides as far as our team play is concerned.”
Additionally, the senior added that the team will have to make strides on defense if they hope to be contender in the postseason.
“Working on team defense and sticking to our system in our defensive zone is huge for us. I think we’re doing a better job offensively, which is good to see. We’re putting up some goals. So I think if we can just hunker down and play tough in front of our net in our zone, that would help a lot.”
The Tigers will return to Baker Rink this upcoming weekend to face New York rivals Colgate and Cornell in what will be their final home series of the year.
Women’s hockey splits weekend against Ivy rivals on senior weekend
At Baker Rink, the women’s team similarly split their weekend series. The Tigers (13-10-4 overall, 9-8-3 ECAC) put forward a pair of strong team efforts on their senior weekend. In what will quite possibly be the Tigers’ final home contests, the hosts managed a convincing 3-0 shutout of Brown (4-18-5, 3-14-3) but fell in a 5-3 contest the following day to Yale (8-13-6, 6-8-6), which sat right below them in the standings.
In the first contest, the strength of the Tigers’ forwards — senior center Denna Laing managed two points on the night while freshman center Kelsey Koelzer notched three — proved too much for Brown to handle. Three second period goals within just over six minutes sealed Princeton’s season sweep of the series.
Tied at 0-0 after 20 minutes of play, neither team had been able to find offensive consistency or a finishing touch. At the 8:31 mark of the second period, Princeton saw a prime opportunity. Due to a tripping penalty followed by a hooking infraction, the visitors would have to play 54 seconds down two skaters. The Tigers were able to move the puck with relative ease, and they fired a barrage of shots which skirted just wide of Brown senior goaltender Aubree Moore and the net. Three minutes and 53 seconds of power play did not yield a Princeton goal. However, with 9:26 left on the clock, Koelzer fired a first-time rocket shot from the point which found its target and proved to be the game-winning effort. The assist came from junior defender and co-captain Gabie Figueroa, whose 10 assists on the season rank third on the team.
One more power play goal gave the Tigers breathing room. Laing demonstrated characteristic vision in finding goal scorer junior winger Brianna Leahy just above the crease only 10 seconds into the power play. The next and final goal was set up for Laing by Koelzer, who earned the assist with an on-point pass from behind the net.
The following day gave fans at Baker Rink a much closer contest. Yale’s bench preferred to stay standing for the entirety of the contest. This simulated readiness did not appear to be enough to upend a determined home side, as Princeton held a 3-1 lead after 27 minutes. But thanks in great part to the individual heroics of Bulldog winger Jackie Raines, the Bulldogs managed to secure a win and repay the Tigers for the 3-2 Princeton win in New Haven earlier this year. Raines notched a hat trick plus one with impressive speed and skill around her opponent’s net.
The game began after Princeton’s six seniors received the recognition of the Baker crowd. While replicas of their jerseys hung in the rafters, the team’s freshmen played — as they had the previous night — as if to honor their veteran leaders. All three goals for the home team came from rookies.
Unassisted off a Bulldog turnover, freshman winger Hillary Lloyd notched her second goal of the year at the 2:57 mark. Lloyd earned her second point of the night with an assist from behind the net to classmate and center Fiona McKenna. This power play goal near the end of the first period coupled with a score at the 7:23 mark in the second brought McKenna’s goal tally to four on the season.
The Tigers barely had time to celebrate either goal, for within 15 seconds of both scoring plays, the Bulldogs — namely, Jackie Raines — responded with goals of their own. Similarly, the senior week celebration was curtailed by Yale’s come from behind efforts, as the three goals from freshmen would provide the Tigers’ only points.
It took until just north of the final period’s 10-minute mark for the visitors to find the game-winning goal. Yale’s Raines had her first shot deflected off a pad of sophomore goaltender Kimberley Newell, but the puck found its way back to her stick for a put-back past Princeton’s sprawled goalie.
A fourth goal for Raines — the winger skated behind the Princeton goal and wrapped her shot around the pipe — made things desperate for the Tigers. With three minutes left to play and an extra-man advantage, the home team pulled Newell and put six skaters on the ice. Though Princeton managed move the puck almost at will, the Bulldogs held strong as seconds passed with increasing weight.
The visitors aimed distance shots at Princeton’s empty net. No more goals would come in the contest, however, and Yale skated off victorious.
Four points separate the Tigers from fourth-place Quinnipiac. The top four teams earn home-ice advantage, and with the Bobcats holding a 1-0-1 head-to-head advantage over Princeton, it appears that this year’s team will have to go on the road for at least one of its playoff matchups.