Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 12
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
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MOORE SUCCESSFUL: Princeton University men’s hockey senior captain Mike Moore heads up the ice last weekend in Prince-ton’s best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series against visiting Yale. Last Sunday, defenseman Moore contributed an assist as second-seeded Prince-ton blanked seventh-seeded Yale 4-0 to win the decisive Game 3 and earn a trip to the ECACH semifinals. The Tigers, now 19-13, face eighth-seeded Colgate on March 21 at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. in one semi with third-seeded Harvard playing fifth seed Cornell in the other. The winners will play in the title game the next night.

PU Men’s Hockey Outworks Yale, Earns Trip to ECACH Final Four

Bill Alden

Their backs hadn’t been to the wall all season but the players on the Princeton University men’s hockey team were primed for the challenge.

After starting its best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series against visiting Yale with a 3-0 win Friday night, second-seeded Princeton squandered a 2-0 lead the next night in falling 4-3 to the seventh-seeded Bulldogs in Game 2.

Sitting in the locker room before the decisive Game 3, Princeton senior captain and star defenseman Mike Moore was confident that his last game at Baker Rink would be a night to remember.

“We knew there were two teams playing desperate hockey, playing for their lives tonight,” said Moore.

“We had confidence in that room that if we played with the same team intensity we had through the whole season, we would come out on top and have success tonight.”

In a case of déjà vu, Princeton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on first period goals by Brett Wilson and Cam MacIntyre.

This time, the Tigers weren’t about to squander their advantage. “Coming in we said, we aren’t going to lay back,” said Moore, a native of Calgary, Alberta.

“We were going to keep going and keep pressing. We needed to bring the offensive intensity to them and force them to play in their zone. I thought we did a good job of not staying back on our heels.”

The Tiger offense kept pressing the issue as Brendan Kushniruk tallied in the second period and then freshman Matt Arhontas broke away for a beautiful short-handed goal in the third period that provided the final margin of victory in a 4-0 Princeton win before a crowd of 1,234.

The win advanced the Tigers, now 19-13, to an ECACH semifinal clash with eighth-seeded Colgate on March 21 at the Times Union Center in Albany, N.Y. with third-seeded Harvard playing fifth seeded Cornell in the other semi. The winners will play in the title game the next night.

In the raucous celebration that followed the win, Moore lingered on the ice with classmates Landis Stankivech, Kyle Hagel, and Keith Shattenkirk.

“You saw the seniors out on the ice afterward, we were pretty excited,” recalled Moore, who got an assist on the Arhontas goal.

“The last time you walk out of Hobey Baker Rink, you get to say you won your last game there and that’s always exciting. The seniors knew it was a big night for us, it could have been our last college game.”

For Moore, the win was even more special considering how far Princeton has come since it went 8-20-3 in his freshman season.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” explained the rugged 6’1, 200-pound Moore, a first-team All-Ivy League performer this season.

“We are pulling the same way, we believe in playing the same kind of hockey. Once we bought into it, we put in a lot of hard work and a lot of commitment. Once we made that commitment to play as a team, we had the results. It’s a sense of accomplishment where the program has gone and to be a part of that improvement.”

That commitment was reflected in Princeton’s stifling defensive effort which saw sophomore goalie Zane Kalemba record 31 saves in earning his second shutout in three nights.

“The forwards were going all game,” said Moore. “From the net out, we played well. Zane played incredible again; that’s what you need any time a team goes on a deep playoff run.”

Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky lauded his team’s defensive work as it earned the program’s first trip to the ECACH semis since the 1998-99 season.

“I think Zane said it best, Brad Schroeder had more saves tonight than I did,” recalled a smiling Gadowsky.

“They all did that, they all played big. Kevin Crane played a great game. Mooresy was Mooresy. Zane certainly played great but credit has to go to the overall defense of the team, especially the defensemen blocking shots.”

Gadowsky was proud of his team’s overall intensity as it built on its early two-goal lead.

“There wasn’t any letdown, they made sure of that,” said Gadowsky. “You could hear them on the bench; they weren’t going to let what happened last night happen tonight. Yale is a very hard working team, I thought they played very well. I’m proud of our guys because we matched their intensity and we did it for 60 minutes.”

The Tigers got good work from all four lines as its offensive balance once again made a big difference. “I think we’ve been saying it for awhile, when we get scoring from several places, that’s key for us,” said Gadowsky, whose team led the ECACH in scoring. “We got scoring from all over and that certainly helps our cause.”

The 5’7, 145-pound Arhontas came up big for the Princeton cause as he tallied a goal in each playoff game. “He has [taken it to a new level],” said Gadowsky of Arhontas, who came into the series with five goals on the season.

“You know he is one of those guys who does a lot to help you win hockey games. When he’s scoring, he’s just so valuable. That was such a huge goal, they score there, it’s a two-goal game. He gets a shorty and a beautiful one at that.”

The work of Princeton’s freshmen defensemen has helped Princeton win a lot of games this winter. “I think I’ve said it all along that one of the reasons for our success has been the quick transition of our young defense,” asserted Gadowsky, whose freshman defenders include Taylor Fedun, and Matt Godlewski.

“Mike Moore really deserves a lot of credit for how they all play. He really does, not only his example of leadership but before preseason I’m not even allowed on the ice. And Mooresy just did a tremendous job of working with the young defensemen and getting them ready. That’s a huge factor for us.”

In Gadowsky’s view, Moore was following the example set by the leaders who came before him as Princeton started its climb up ECACH ladder.

“It is a process; obviously we’re very proud of what this team does,” added Gadowsky.

“But we’re also talking about the work of Pat Neundorfer, Darroll Powe, Dustin Sproat, Daryl Marcoux, and the rest of them. There are a lot of guys that worked very hard to get here so I’m happy for them as well.”

Moore, for his part, is ready to work hard for the Final Four as Princeton looks to capture its first ECACH title since the 1997-98 campaign.

“We have a whole week to prepare for that,” said Moore. “It’s going to be intense, just like it was when we had the two weeks off before this. We are just going to stick to playing Princeton hockey, nothing changes. Just keep up the commitment.”

A commitment that has seen the face of Princeton hockey change drastically since Moore walked on campus in 2004.

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