Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 49
 
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
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WINNING MARK: Princeton University men’s hockey star Mark Magnowski glides up the ice in a game earlier this season. Last Saturday, sophomore Magnowski notched the winning goal as Princeton edged visiting Union 4-3. It was Princeton’s first win at Baker Rink after four straight home losses. Princeton, now 5-5 overall and 4-4 in ECAC Hockey League play, will host seventh-ranked Notre Dame this weekend for a two-game set on December 7 and 8.

Showing Renewed Attention to Detail, PU Men’s Ice Hockey Edges Union 4-3

Bill Alden

Showing attention to detail at both ends of the ice, the Princeton University men’s hockey team roared out of the gate this season with a 3-0 start.

In winning the games at Yale, Cornell, and Colgate, the Tigers outscored their foes by a combined 11-4 and seemed poised to have a big November.

But Princeton’s focus wavered and the team went on to drop five of its next six contests, including four straight home contests.

As the Tigers hit the ice last Saturday night against visiting Union, the team was looking to recapture some of the tunnel vision it showed earlier in the season.

“I think we needed to get back to doing the things that we have control over,” said Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky.

“We needed to work on the penalty kill, special teams, and handling things in the neutral zone. I think once we had some early success, we started to care more about the result than the process.”

Princeton displayed an attacking mentality, jumping off to a 2-0 lead on goals by Brett Wilson and Lee Jubinville. After a Union tally, Princeton answered back in style as Wilson notched another goal and Mark Magnowski found the back of the net.

The Tigers did surrender two third-period goals but tightened up the defense after that to skate away with a much-needed 4-3 win before a Baker Rink crowd of 1,119.

While it wasn’t the sharpest effort, Princeton did kill three of four Union penalties while tallying one power play goal. Sophomore goalie Zane Kalemba made 32 saves in earning the win.

In assessing the game, Gadowsky acknowledged that it was critical for his players to taste victory at home.

“We did play better and achieve some of our objectives,” said Gadowsky, whose team improved to 5-5 overall and 4-4 in ECAC Hockey League play.

“As I left the coaches room after the game, I walked down the hall with one of our defense men, Taylor Fedun, and he said ‘we got that monkey off our back.’ I think you need to establish things at your home rink. I feel much better about things after that game.”

Gadowsky cited junior star Wilson’s effort as emblematic of how Princeton went about its business in the win over Union.

“Brett played some of the best defensive hockey he has played since he got here,” asserted Gadowsky of Wilson who had three points on the evening and now has 12 points on the season with four goals and eight assists.

“He was working very hard away from the puck; doing things for the team. It’s good to see him get rewarded offensively for that.”

The return of sophomore forward Mark Magnowski from injury gave the Tigers a lift. “We didn’t have Mark for four games,” said Gadowsky. “The injury to Mark didn’t help; he fills two roles for us. He’s an offensive player and he is also good on the penalty kill. He got the game winner against Union; he played very well on his line with Kevin Lohry.”

In Gadowsky’s view, topping Union was critical for a Princeton team that is looking to be an ECACHL contender.

“That was a big win, especially when you look at the league schedule,” said Gadowsky, whose team is currently in a three-way tie for third in the ECACHL standings with Cornell and Quinnipiac.

“We haven’t played our best hockey but neither have the other teams. The hockey is a lot better in March than it is in November.”

The Tigers will face some good hockey this weekend when they host seventh-ranked Notre Dame (14-4 overall, 10-2 in Central Collegiate Hockey Association play).

“I think it will be a good experience playing against Notre Dame,” said Gadowsky. “They are one of the best-coached teams in the country; you know they will execute their system.”

If Princeton can focus on executing the things it can control, it could make Notre Dame’s visit to Baker Rink uncomfortable.

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