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Vol. LXV, No. 5
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
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FED EXPRESS: Princeton University men’s hockey star Taylor Fedun sends the puck up the ice in recent action. Last Friday, senior captain and defenseman Fedun scored two first period goals to help the Tigers top St. Lawrence 5-3.

Despite Pulling Out Wins at St. Lawrence, Clarkson, PU Men’s Hockey Still Looking to Pick up the Pace

Bill Alden

Having gone 6-1-1 in its last eight games before a 16-day exam break, the Princeton University men’s hockey team picked up where it left off when it resumed action by hosting Sacred Heart last week.

The 19th-ranked Tigers cruised to a 7-1 victory, outshooting the Pioneers 59-20 on the evening.

But Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky knew that his team was heading for some tougher sledding as it headed north last weekend for games at St. Lawrence and Clarkson.

“It is a good game to have but a tough one to play,” said Gadowsky, referring to the win over Sacred Heart which was the 100th victory of his Princeton tenure.

“That Friday/Saturday after exams is always very tough. We have had problems with that weekend.”

As the Tigers played at St. Lawrence last Friday night, it looked like they may stay on cruise control as they built a 2-0 lead after one period on two goals by senior defenseman and captain Taylor Fedun.

But Gadowsky knew the score was deceiving. “Feds took the bull by the horns,” said Gadowsky referring to Fedun. “They outshot us 8-5 in the 5-on-5. We were grinding; we were not in the flow.”

Even though the Tigers weren’t in a rhythm, they were still able to grind out goals. After a St. Lawrence tally early in the second period, Andrew Ammon and Mike Kramer scored to give Princeton a 4-1 advantage.

The Saints scored two goals in a 70-second stretch at the end of the second and the beginning of the third to narrow the gap to one but the Tigers answered again as Andrew Calof wristed home a feed by Mike Kramer. That was the final tally as Princeton held on for a 5-3 victory.

Gadowsky tipped his hat to freshman Calof, who has emerged as the Tigers’ top assist man this winter.

“Calof has been playing well from the start but has really picked it up recently in terms of creating scoring opportunities,” said Gadowsky of Calof, who ended the weekend with a team-high 18 assists with nobody else on the team having more than 10. “That was a beautiful goal on Friday.”

The next day, the Tigers had to work extra hard at Clarkson as they pulled out a 4-3 win in overtime.

“They are a very good team; we were very fortunate to come out with a win,” said Gadowsky, whose team improved to 14-6-1 overall and 9-4-1 in ECAC Hockey action with the victory. “We had to grind again; it was one of those tough ECAC games.”

The Tigers fell behind 1-0 as the Golden Knights scored midway through the first period. Princeton, though, quickly knotted the game at 1-1 as senior defensemen Matt Godlewski scored 44 seconds after the Clarkson goal. The Tigers then forged ahead later in the period on a goal by Ammon.

Clarkson scored the only goals of the second period and the teams headed into the final 20 minutes deadlocked at 2-2. Ammon scored 27 seconds into the period to give the Tigers the lead. Less than five minutes later, Clarkson answered with a goal to make it 3-3 and neither team was able to find the back of the net in regulation and the game headed into overtime.

The extra session, though, didn’t last long. Tiger forward Brodie Zuk won the opening faceoff and Princeton senior star Kevin Lohry tracked down the puck and raced into the crease and fired a shot that beat the Clarkson goalie to the far post nine seconds into overtime for the winning tally.

In reflecting on the dramatic win, Gadowsky pointed to his team’s veteran leadership as making the difference.

“Matt Godlewski got things going for us in the first period and then we had to ride K-Lo’s back,” said Gadowsky. “Kevin took over in OT, it was like he said I am going to end this.”

Emerging junior star Zuk took over the playmaking, matching his game-high with three assists on the evening.

“Brodie has been coming up with those kind of performances previously,” asserted Gadowsky of Zuk, who now has 12 points on the season with two goals and 10 assists.

“Before the break, he had games where he was the best forward on the ice. He is not only playing well offensively but has been showing up defensively.”

While Gadowsky was proud of the way his team gritted out the wins last weekend, he recognizes that it needs to play sharper to keep pace in the ECACH.

“It’s a tough, tough weekend to get four points and its nice to have the confidence to get the four points when you aren’t in a flow,” said Gadowsky.

“We had some great saves and lots of luck. If we don’t play better than this, we are going to have trouble winning a lot of ECAC games.”

The Tigers face some tough ECACH tests this weekend as they host No. 11 Union (18-7-3 overall, 10-3-1 ECACH) on February 4 and No. 9 Rensselaer (17-6-3 overall, 9-5 ECACH) the next day.

“There are no surprises there,” added Gadowsky, whose club is currently third in the ECACH standings, sandwiched between Union in second and Rensselaer in fourth.

“They were picked to finish high and both had wins over a darn good hockey club (then-No. 1 Yale) last weekend.”

In Gadowsky’s view, the Tigers need to get up to speed on all levels in order to be a very good hockey club.

“We need to get back in the flow and start playing with pace and tempo,” said Gadowsky.

“I am talking about speed in decision-making, not just skating fast and moving the puck. We were able to work on conditioning and skills in the break but not at game speed.”

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