Vol. LXII, No. 11
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
WILL TO WIN: Princeton University mens hockey junior star Brett Wilson controls the puck in recent action. Wilson, a second-team All-Ivy League performer at forward, figures to be a key performer as second-seeded Princeton hosts No. 7 Yale this weekend in a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series. There are tickets remaining for the March 14 and 15 games and they can be purchased at the ticket office in Jadwin Gym.
It was a rare sour note in the uplifting winter produced by the Princeton University mens hockey team.
Playing in its last regular season weekend, the Tigers fell 4-3 at Clarkson on February 29 and 3-2 at St. Lawrence the next day.
The setbacks left Princeton with a 17-12 overall record and a 14-8 mark in ECAC Hockey play, good for second place in the leagues final standings.
With Princeton hosting seventh-place Yale this weekend in a best-of-three ECACH quarterfinal series, Tiger head coach Guy Gadowsky is hoping that those losses will prove to be a blessing in disguise.
We got a 2-0 lead in the St. Lawrence game and the players were thinking we have second place wrapped up, said Gadowsky, whose team is slated to play the Bulldogs at Baker Rink on March 14 and 15 with game three on March 16, if necessary.
They took their pedal off the gas. You cant do that, it was a good lesson to relearn. It should be a good reminder. We have been playing hard for 60 minutes; thats something we have done well.
Indeed, coming into that final weekend, Princeton had won 12 of its last 14 games and was poised to knock Clarkson out of first place in the ECACH standings.
The Tigers took a 3-2 lead into the third period of the game with the Knights but couldnt hold on as Clarkson rallied for the win.
In Gadowskys view, his squad showed its quality against Clarkson even though it fell short. That was a good hockey game, said Gadowsky. It was two good teams playing hard; they just scored one more goal than we did.
With Princeton having last weekend off due to a bye, the goals is to get the team clicking on all cylinders for the showdown with Yale.
The bye came at a good time for us, we used it to recover from some injuries, said Gadowsky, whose team is currently ranked 16th nationally.
We havent had everybody at the practices but the players who have been there have been working hard.
The Tigers will have to work hard if they are to overcome Yale (15-12-4 overall and 9-9-4 in ECACH play), who comes into the weekend on a high, having beaten Rensselaer 3-2 in overtime on both Friday and Saturday to win the ECACH first round series between the schools.
Princeton won all three meetings with Yale during the regular season, topping the Bulldogs 6-2 in a season-opening non-league contest and then posting 4-3 and 4-2 wins in ECACH play.
Despite having swept Yale, Princeton knows it cant take the Bulldogs lightly. Their speed is a challenge; they are a very fast team, said Gadowsky of the Bulldogs, who feature up-and-coming stars in sophomores Sean Blackman and Mark Arcobello together with freshmen Broc Little and Denny Kearney.
They are an excellent team. They showed grit last weekend winning two games in overtime. Their goaltending has been fantastic, they have two goaltenders [Billy Blase and Alec Richards] who can win games.
Princeton, for its part, has the offensive firepower to test any goalie. The Tigers are led by junior Lee Jubinville, the Ivy League Player of the Year, who scored a league-high 37 points on 11 goals and 26 assists.
Jubinvilles classmate and linemate, Brett Wilson, earned second-team All-Ivy honors with 31 points on a team-high 13 goals and 18 assists while bruising sophomore Cam MacIntyre chipped in 26 points on nine goals and 17 assists.
While the trio of Jubinville, Wilson, and MacIntyre have piled up some glittering numbers, the Tigers have plenty of balance on offense with 14 players having at least 10 points.
The Tiger defense is anchored by senior captain Mike Moore, a first-team All-Ivy performer at defenseman who chipped in 18 points on five goals and 13 assists. Princetons corps of defenders also includes freshmen Taylor Fedun, Cam Ritchie, and Matt Godlewski together with sophomores Jody Pederson and Kevin Crane.
Princetons last line of defense, sophomore goalie Zane Kalemba, isnt flashy but he has proved to be cool in the clutch, having compiled a goals against average of 2.64 in earning second-team All-Ivy honors.
If Princeton is to earn a spot in the ECACH Final Four in Albany, N.Y. from March 21-22, it will have to utilize its balance and speed.
We need all four lines to play well, we need to be playing a high-speed game, said Gadowsky. Its ECAC hockey so we will need to get some bounces. There is no way to control that.
Facing an old Ivy archrival in the friendly confines of Baker Rink should help Princeton make its own luck.
Playing at home doesnt guarantee anything but it is a plus, said Gadowsky, whose team topped Brown last year in the first round of the ECACH playoffs but then fell in the quarterfinals at Dartmouth.
Its much better to not have to travel. In any sport, when two top Ivy League teams play each other, there is something extra in the air.
And if Princeton can produce the 60-minute efforts that have been its custom this season, they should get a trip to Albany.
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