A pair of home losses for the Tigers last weekend included a close battle with No. 14 Clarkson. This Friday, Princeton men’s hockey (4-19 overall, 3-13 ECAC) will begin a New England series against Ivy rivals Brown (9-11-3, 6-9-1) and No. 13 Yale (12-7-4, 7-6-3). These matchups mirror the Tigers’ home-opening showdowns in early November at Baker Rink, both of which resulted in losses for the hosts.
Senior winger Andrew Ammon now leads his team in scoring with 12 points following a two-goal performance against Clarkson. Classmate and center Andrew Calof — a nominee for league Player of the Week honors — provided Ammon with assists on both scoring plays and currently ranks second on the team in scoring. Calof has found particular success against Brown in his career, scoring four goals and adding seven assists in nine games.
Freshman Colton Phinney and senior Sean Bonar have guarded the net in 12 and 14 games, respectively. Combined, their save percentage of .890 is higher than only those of Dartmouth and St. Lawrence. Shot opportunities have been easy to come by for Princeton’s foes, as their opponent’s shot total of 803 is only better than Colgate’s 821.
Brown has dropped its last three but sports a pair of high-scoring sophomore forwards in Mark Naclerio and Nick Lappin (30 and 28 points, respectively). In the overall series against Princeton, the Bears hold an 84-65-8 edge.
Yale currently sits in the ECAC’s sixth spot. Bulldog goalies — freshman Alex Lyon has started in 20 games with a 2.28 goal against average — combine for the league’s best save percentage. The squad has fairly balanced scoring, with senior forwards Kenny Agostino and Jesse Root leading their team with 22 points each and nine skaters having tallied 10-plus points on the season.
In the conference table, the Princeton men currently sit dead last. However, every ECAC men’s team participates in the 12-team playoff tournament. The Tigers will hope that quality late-season play will develop into the form and momentum needed to pull off a first-round road upset against what will likely be a very strong side.
Senior weekend falls this Friday and Saturday for the women’s side.
Princeton women’s hockey (12-9-4, 8-7-3) managed to avenge the two midseason home losses to ECAC rivals St. Lawrence and Clarkson this past weekend with a 2-1 away victory over the Saints and a 2-2 overtime tie with the No. 3 Golden Knights. The Tigers will try to put together similar results this weekend, using the motivation of potential season sweeps over Brown (4-16-5, 3-12-3) and Yale (7-13-5. 5-8-5) in what will possibly be their final home matchups of the year.
Seniors have provided no small amount of offensive production and leadership for the Tigers. Senior forwards Denna Liang, Sally Butler and Rose Alleva rank first, second and fourth in scoring and together account for a third of their team’s total points.
The play of senior goaltender Aubree Moore has been a late-season highlight for Brown. This past weekend saw her named ECAC Goalie of the Week for her 51-save shutout against Rensselaer and her allowing only one goal on 27 shots against Union. Her .929 save percentage is good for fourth in the conference, but her defensive unit’s 892 shots allowed ranks second-worst behind Union’s 924.
A back-and-forth November battle with Yale in New Haven saw a goal by sophomore center Jamie McDonnell give the Tigers the final lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Currently, Princeton sits just above Yale in the conference table, holding a four-point lead in the sixth spot.
The Bulldogs have gone winless the past two weekends of play. Forward Phoebe Staenz has led her squad in scoring with 23 points in only 17 games. However, she is currently representing her native Switzerland in the Olympics and will be unavailable for Yale.
In the Princeton Athletic Communications podcast, co-captain Liang discussed the potential playoff scenarios her team faces. The conference’s top eight teams make the playoffs, and the top four teams earn home-ice advantage in the first round. Princeton currently sits just three points behind fourth-place Quinnipiac.
“We would love to have home ice,” Liang said, “but the league is so close right now, and everybody is upsetting and surprising everyone. So it’s really hard for us to look at the schedule and know where we’re going to end up and know where anyone else is going to end up.”
She also highlighted the resiliency of her squad and the Tigers’ prowess in the final period of games.
“If we play the way we are playing, and start more games the way we finish,” she explained, “I think we really have the opportunity to surprise some people in the playoffs. It is going to be a huge weekend for the seniors especially. We’re definitely not letting our guard down because we beat them earlier in the season. As we’ve shown, and as other teams have shown, anything can happen. I hope we can do really well and I know everyone’s going to be focused. But they’re going to want to win as bad as we do.”