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Men's side returns to Baker rink; women travel north to face no. 3 Clarkson, St. Lawrence

Coming off a pair of away losses to Ivy League rivals Harvard and Dartmouth, the men’s hockey team (4-17 overall, 3-11 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) will continue conference play this weekend against St. Lawrence (9-14-3, 3-8-3) and Clarkson (16-10-2, 9-5 ECAC).

Senior goalie Sean Bonar, working in a two-man rotation with freshman Colton Phinney, comes off an impressive performance against Dartmouth. His 43 saves ties his career high. The Tigers took down the Big Green in two overtime contests earlier this season, but last Saturday they were unable to keep their opponent’s shot total down and allowed 48 attempts on goal, including a first period which saw 22 Dartmouth shots.

Offensively, junior forward Tucker Brockett has put together one of the more impressive seasons for the Tigers thus far. One of only five players to play in all 21 contests, he leads the team in points with two goals and nine assists. This Princeton squad has, however, struggled to find a finishing touch on offense. Their 40 total goals equates to 1.9 per game, currently making the Tigers the only conference team with a GPG below 2.0. Special teams have also been an issue. A penalty kill percentage of  76.9 ranks 9th out of 12 in the ECAC, while the power play success rate of 15.6 — extra-man situations have yielded just 12 Princeton goals — ranks only ahead of Harvard’s 13.5.

St. Lawrence has struggled to put together wins of late, with last weekend’s 2-1 home win over Union breaking a nine-game winless streak. The Saints will look to run their offense through senior forward Greg Carey. The 2012-13 All-America selection and Hobey Baker Award finalist just had a 20-game scoring streak snapped and ranks third among the nation’s point scorers. His younger brother, center Matt, ranks third among the nation’s freshmen in points scored.

Clarkson’s Golden Knights sit just inside the top half of the league table with a small positive scoring margin of +.27 — scoring 2.61 and allowing 2.34 goals per game. Most of their offense comes off the sticks of forwards Ben Sexton and Allan McPherson, who have notched 22 and 20 points respectively.

The women’s team (11-9-3, 7-7-2 ECAC) will travel to the far-upstate New York pair of matchups at St. Lawrence (9-15-3, 8-5-3 ECAC) and no. 3 Clarkson (21-4-3, 12-2-2 ECAC). The Tigers come off a weekend where they split a home series against Harvard and Dartmouth. Senior forwards Denna Liang and Sally Butler have been the focal points of the Princeton offense. Together, they combine for 36 points and 23 percent of the Tigers’ shots.

Earlier this year, the Orange and Black hosted a strong Clarkson squad — then ranked eighth nationally — which managed a 7-0 away victory which snapped a five-game streak without a Princeton loss. The next day the Tigers suffered a similarly disappointing 1-4 home loss to St. Lawrence.

St. Lawrence sits just above the Tigers in the ECAC standings, having played some of their strongest hockey of late, with a five-game winning streak only just broken this past Tuesday at Syracuse. The Saints have gotten the better of Princeton of late, winning the last four matchups. The Tigers currently lead the series 27-21-3.

Princeton will have to be on the lookout for defender Mel Desrochers. Deroschers leads the Saints with 26 points (eight goals and 18 assists), a tally which puts her third among defenders nationally.

Last season, the squad managed to upset a Golden Knights team that was then ranked seventh in the nation by an away score of 4-1. Friday evening they will face an uphill battle against a team that occupies the number two spot in conference rankings and boasts the country’s leading scorer in senior forward Jamie Lee Rattray (25 goals, 23 assists). Rattray and the rest of the Knights’ offense have scored an impressive 106 goals over 28 games, equating to a league-best GPG of 3.79.

In the net for the Golden Knights, Erica Howe won ECAC’s January Goaltender of the Month honors. Her save percentage of .941 is good for second in the conference and near the top of women’s Division I. Clarkson’s defensive unit has allowed only 1.07 goals per game, a mark which ranks among the nation’s best.

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