Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 51
Happy Holidays!
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
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ZONE COVERAGE: Princeton high senior defenseman and co-captain Dean DiTosto controls the crease in recent action. DiTosto’s superb play in the defensive zone has helped PHS produce a solid start. Last Monday, DiTosto chipped in an assist as PHS topped Hamilton 7-2 to improve to 4-2 going into the holiday break. The Little Tigers open the 2011 portion of their schedule by playing Nottingham on January 3 at Mercer County Park.

Senior Star DiTosto Showing Sense of Urgency; as PHS Boys’ Hockey Takes 4-2 Mark Into Break

Bill Alden

Dean DiTosto is looking to squeeze everything he can out of his senior season with the Princeton High boys’ hockey team.

“I just want to do the best I can,” said star defenseman and co-captain DiTosto.

“This year it is a little different; it is more important. It is my last year and I don’t know how much more hockey I am going to play in my life later on. I am just trying to play the game and enjoy it as much as I can.”

DiTosto and the Little Tigers played the game hard right from the start last Thursday as they faced perennial power Hopewell Valley at Mercer County Park. PHS came out flying and took a 1-0 lead late in the first period on a DiTosto power play goal.

“In the beginning we wanted to come out really hard,” said DiTosto, whose tally came on a blast from the point.

“I think it was important that we got that first goal. We controlled it on that 5-on-3 and I was lucky to get wide open enough to be able to put it in.”

Luck turned against PHS as it fell behind 2-1 in the second period and it looked like HoVal had seized the momentum of the contest.

The Little Tigers, though, were determined to keep fighting. “In the locker room after the second period we were just talking about coming out flying and sticking it to them and killing off the penalty,” said DiTosto.

PHS did come out flying, as freshman defenseman Patrick McCormick scored a goal to tie the contest at 2-2. The Bulldogs responded with two straight goals but the Little Tigers kept fighting.

Junior forward Kirby Peck then scored for the Little Tigers to make to make it 4-3 with 7:36 left in regulation. PHS kept pressing forward, generating a couple of outstanding chances in the waning seconds after it pulled goalie Josh Berger to get an extra attacker.

“We were down 4-3 but we came back,” said DiTosto. “Against a team like HoVal, some teams might have given up but we scored a goal and almost tied it up.”

While PHS head coach Tim Campbell didn’t like the final result, he had no qualms with the effort he got from his players.

“I take a lot of positives away from this game,” said Campbell. “On the scoreboard, we lost but I am super, super proud of these guys. They did everything I asked them to do. There was absolutely no give up in this team.”

In Campbell’s view, his club reached an early season crossroads after struggling in the second period.

“We came in after the second period at intermission and I said you have one of two ways you can go here,” recalled Campbell.

“You can throw it in because we don’t have a deep bench and HoVal knows that or you can dig deep and see where that takes you.”

By playing hard to the final whistle, PHS applied a lesson Campbell has been emphasizing since he took the helm of the program in 2007.

“I think these guys realize that it doesn’t matter what the score is or who you are playing, there is no give up,” said Campbell.

“The guys who have been with me for four years are starting to see that if you just grind for a full 45 minutes, you never know what is going to happen.”

Campbell doesn’t want to dwell on what is going to happen when he doesn’t have DiTosto along the blue line.

Every time I think about him graduating, it makes me cry,” said Campbell, with a wry chuckle.

“He is always in the action. Right now, he sees the end of the season coming one game at a time and he doesn’t want to let it go. The end of the season is going to come at some point and my big thing for these guys is I don’t want them to look back and regret it. I want them to leave it all on the ice, win or lose.”

In Campbell’s view, his corps of forwards left it all on the ice against HoVal.

“It is nice that we got all of our forwards involved; we put the puck on the net a lot tonight,” said Campbell, whose team generated 23 shots on the evening.

“The perennials like Fraser Graham and Peter Twining played well. Will Greenberg is the silent assassin and Kirby Peck is a good power forward to have.”

There appears to be good things on the horizon for PHS. “I like what I see; I like the intensity and emotion,” said Campbell, whose team built on its positive effort against HoVal to beat Hun 4-1 on Friday and then top Hamilton 7-2 on Monday to take a 4-2 record into the holiday break.

“We don’t look past anybody on our schedule, I don’t care who it is. Getting wins as early as possible takes off a lot of pressure at the end of the year.” DiTosto, for his part, saw the HoVal game as a harbinger of wins down the road.

“Yes we lost but this is mid-December and we are playing this well,” said DiTosto, who will look to keep playing well when the Little Tigers open the 2011 portion of their schedule by playing Nottingham on January 3 at Mercer County Park.

“I want to see how we play in mid-January when it is crunch time. We could not have matched up this well against HoVal at this time last year.”

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