Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 3
 
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
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(Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia Flyers)

HIGH FLYER: Former Princeton University men’s hockey star Darroll Powe heads up the ice in recent action for the Philadelphia Flyers of the NHL. Powe, a 2007 PU graduate who scored 60 points in his Tiger career, has emerged as a solid performer for the Flyers in his second campaign with the team. The burly 5’11, 212-pound forward has 11 points so far this season in 31 appearances.

Former Tiger Star Powe Enjoying the Ride; Playing on Big Stage for Philadelphia Flyers

Ed Benkin

Darroll Powe has fond memories of his days walking down the hallway to the ice at Baker Rink while playing for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

But Powe’s recent journey to a different ice surface symbolized just how far the Princeton product has come.

As a member of the Philadelphia Flyers, Powe hit the ice on New Year’s Day when the Flyers faced off against the Boston Bruins in the NHL’s Winter Classic at Fenway Park.

With all due respect to the friendly confines of Baker, walking out to play at Fenway was a bit more memorable.

“It was a great feeling,” said forward Powe, 24, recalling the scene on January 1 as a national television audience of millions looked on at what has become the league’s signature regular season event.

“It was really one of those goose bump moments. Throughout the game, I caught myself looking around and kind of chuckling realizing where I was. In three short years, from playing at Baker Rink to playing at Fenway Park in front of 40,000 people, it’s pretty crazy.”

The road from Baker to Fenway symbolizes just how far Powe has come in such a short time.

After serving as a team captain at Princeton and notching 60 points during his Tiger career from 2003-07, Powe joined the Flyers former AHL affiliate, the Philadelphia Phantoms.

The burly 5’11, 212-pound native of Kanata, Ontario quickly ascended up the pro ladder, making the Flyers roster before the start of the 2008-09 season and wasting little time in becoming a fixture in the Philly lineup.

Powe scored six goals and added five assists in 60 games during his rookie year. He was often on the ice in the final minutes when the Flyers were protecting one-goal leads and scored his first career playoff goal in the first round against the Penguins last season.

“You get more confidence when you play more,” said Powe in assessing his rookie campaign.

“You’re more comfortable with how things are in the league. You get more comfortable with your teammates and with the system you play in and it definitely goes a long way in helping your game.”

Powe was off to a fast start this season before he was sidelined by a shoulder injury. He returned to the lineup on December 23 in Tampa Bay and has remained in the lineup ever since.

“It’s more of a matter of getting back into shape now than how the shoulder is feeling,” said Powe. “I had a good month of rehab. My shoulder is feeling strong and it’s good to be back playing games.”

It is no coincidence that since Powe returned to the lineup, the Flyers have been winning. The team went 7-1-1 in Powe’s first nine games back from injury.

The Flyers also made a coaching change during Powe’s absence, but the Princeton product enjoys playing for the demanding Peter Laviolette.

“He’s got a fun system to play in,” asserted Powe. “It’s high energy and high tempo. It takes some time to adjust to that. We’re there now and just able to play hockey again.”

Powe showed plenty of energy during his Princeton career and credits Tiger head coach Guy Gadowsky with playing a major role in his development.

“It was the turning point in my career when Guy came in,” said Powe, who notched 28 goals in his 120 appearances for Princeton.

“It’s not only what he taught me on the ice, but also what he taught me off the ice. Things like how to be a professional and work ethic. It made me a better player and a better person and it got me where I am today.”

Powe is always happy to brag about the success of his alma mater. The Tigers have become an NCAA tournament team over the past two seasons and Powe isn’t afraid to let his Flyer teammates know about it.

“I love to talk about the program they have there now,” said Powe, who helped the Tigers top Brown in the opening round of the ECAC Hockey playoffs in his senior year, giving the Tigers their first post-season series win since 1999.

“Some of the guys may be tired of hearing about it, but I never get tired of talking about it, so they’ll just have to deal with it.”

The Flyers are back in the playoff race with the help of Powe, currently standing 10th in the Eastern Conference at 23-21-3, just points away from the eighth and final playoff slot.

After a December slump, the Flyers could return to the post-season, and Powe believes they would be a very dangerous team if they make it into the battle for the Stanley Cup.

“Everyone in our room believes we have a team that can beat anyone,” maintained Powe, who had 11 points for the Flyers on eight goals and three assists so far this season in 31 appearances.

“We had a tough stretch and it was one that no one really understood. We kind of battled our way out of it and have things rolling in the right direction now. Confidence is building.”

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