Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXI, No. 43
 
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
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MOORE TO COME: Princeton University men’s hockey defenseman Mike Moore looks to send the puck up the ice in action last season. The 6’1, 200-pound Moore had 14 points last season and led the Tigers in the plus/minus category. He figures to be the cornerstone of the Tiger defense as Princeton looks to build on the success of last winter when they advanced to the ECAC Hockey League quarterfinals for the first time since the 1998-99 season.

PU Men’s Hockey Opens Season This Week; Looking to Build on Last Winter’s Success

Bill Alden

Last winter saw a series of breakthroughs for the Princeton University men’s ice hockey team.

The senior-laden Tiger squad finished in sixth place in the ECAC Hockey League (ECACHL) regular season standings, the program’s top finish this century and its best since placing fourth in 1998-99.

Princeton bested Brown 2-1 in the opening round of the ECACHL playoffs. By winning the opener of the series, Princeton broke a 17-game losing streak in playoff action. The series triumph was the program’s first since 1998-99.

The team, which fell to Dartmouth in the ECACHL quarterfinals, went 15-16-3 as it won its most games in a season since going 20-12-2 in 1998-99.

As Princeton looks ahead to the 2007-08 campaign, which starts with a game at Yale this Friday evening in a non-conference contest in the Ivy Showcase, Tiger head coach Guy Gadowsky knows it’s going to be tough to produce an encore to last year’s heroics.

“We’re losing nine seniors so it’s going to take time,” said Gadowsky, who is entering his fourth season at the helm of the Tiger program and has a record of 33-54-9.

“It’s going to take time for them to develop confidence. They believe they can improve on what we did last year.”

Gadowsky acknowledges that it is going to require a joint effort to make up for the void left by the graduation of captain Darroll Powe.

“We are losing more than goals with him, leadership was the number-one thing that Darroll provided,” said Gadowsky, who also lost number-three scorer Grant Goeckner-Zoeller (26 points) and fourth leading scorer Kevin Westgarth (24 points) to graduation.

“He was second in scoring (28 points on a team-high 13 goals and 15 assists) but he did so many other things for us. He provided energy and toughness.”

The Tigers will be looking to the juniors Lee Jubinville (29 points) and Brett Wilson (23 points) and sophomore Mark Magnowski (23 points) to pick up some of the slack left by the trio of departed forwards.

“We’re definitely looking to Lee to be a big part of our offense,” said Gadowsky, who should also get production up front from veterans Kevin Kaiser, Dan Bartlett, Kyle Hagel, Brandan Kushniruk, and Keith Shattenkirk. “We also look to Brett Wilson and Mark Magnowksi for offense. Mark had an amazing freshman year.”

An emerging force up front could be sophomore Cam McIntyre, who notched 13 points in his debut season. “Cam really finished strong in the second half last year,” said Gadowski.

“I think he had eight goals after Christmas; he’s building on that. He’s looking good physically and he’s much more confident with the puck.”

Another revelation could be pint-sized freshman Matt Arhontas. “He is only 5-5 or so but wait ’til you see him play,” said Gadowsky. “He’s like Powe out there.

The energy provided by Arhontas should fit into the freewheeling offense favored by Gadowsky.

“We may have lost some size and strength but we should have better puck movement,” said Gadowsky, whose club scored 102 goals last season, hitting the century mark for the first time since 1998-99.

A prime mover on the Tiger blue line will be senior defenseman Mike Moore.

“Mike moves the puck, he plays on the power play and he’s a good penalty killer,” said Gadowsky of the 6’1, 200-pound Moore who had 14 points last season.

“He’s one of the most feared hitters in the league and he led us in plus/minus last year.”

Sophomore Jody Pederson figures to be a big plus for the Tigers this season.

“Jody has put on some weight; he put on some girth,” said Gadowsky, whose returning defensemen include Kevin Crane and Brad Schroeder. “He’s a very good looking hockey player; he’s tall, heads-up, and a smooth skater.”

Freshman defenseman Matt Godlewski (6’1, 190-pounds) will add some size and skill to the Princeton defensive crew.

“Matt is one of the quickest skaters on the team and he had one of the fastest wrist shots in our skills competition,” said Gadowsky, whose freshman blue liners include Taylor Fedun and Cam Ritchie.

The development of the Tigers’ freshmen defenders will be critical to the team’s success this season.

“A big question for us is how fast they can adjust to college hockey,” said Gadowksy of his freshman defensemen.

“We’re looking at the defense to be better at moving the puck up the ice to start the transition. You can’t guess how that’s going to go but if they develop quickly, we could make additional progress on last year.”

Princeton’s goaltending rotation is still a work in progress. “It is wide open right now,” said Gadowsky, whose goalies include sophomore Zane Kalemba (a 2.89 goals against average in 21 games last year), junior Thomas Sychterz (3.66 goals against in five games) and freshman Alan Reynolds.

“Zane did some good things as a freshman but we need him to improve on that. Thomas had a strong finish and seems to be building on that. Reynolds comes in with some very good numbers (21-9-4 with a 2.63 goals against average for the Toronto Jr. Canadians in the OPJHL). He was the Rookie of the Year in his league.”

The Tigers are happy to be opening the season by playing someone in their own league. “In the past, we would start with non-conference teams that had already played several games and had a month of practice,” said Gadowsky.

“We would get caught off guard and it wasn’t good for our RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). Yale is in the same boat as we are and that’s a good test.”

Gadowsky is excited to set sail with his players. “It’s an amazing group of guys; they work hard but they know how to have fun,” said Gadowsky. “I really enjoy being in the locker room with them.”

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