December 12, 2018

Slumping Tiger Men’s Hockey Falls Twice to ASU, Will Look to Snap 7-Game Slide Against Penn State

DEVIL OF A TIME: Princeton University men’s hockey player Alex Riche, right, goes after the puck in recent action. Last Saturday against visiting Arizona State, senior forward Riche contributed an assist in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to the No. 19 Sun Devils to get swept in the two-game set between the foes, having lost 4-0 a night earlier. The Tigers, who have now suffered seven straight losses to drop to 3-8-1 overall, face No. 9 Penn State (11-5-1 overall) on December 15 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It didn’t take long for a struggling Princeton University men’s hockey team to dig a hole as it hosted No. 19 Arizona Stare last Friday at Hobey Baker Rink in the opener of of a two-game set between the foes.

Coming into the evening mired in a five-game losing streak, Princeton yielded a goal in the first 15 seconds of the contest and found itself trailing 2-0 by the end of the first period.

“We were very soft in the first period; on the very first shift, we come down in bad coverage,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty. “That is inexcusable, we have to be ready to go from puck drop.”

The Tigers were ready to go in the second period, generating a slew of scoring opportunities as they outshot the Sun Devils 21-8 but it was to no avail as they didn’t find the back of the net.

“We played well, you can’t spot a team 2-0,” said Fogarty. “It is hockey. The goalie stands tall; [Joey] Daccord played well in goal for them [45 saves]. He made some great saves; he made some point blank ones.”

Princeton outshot the Sun Devils 12-7 in the third period but couldn’t solve Daccord as Arizona State added two unanswered goals.

“It was a good second period but you get judged on wins and losses and that is another loss,” said Fogarty. “You have to bounce back and be ready to go tomorrow.”

A night later, Princeton fell behind 2-0 once again but bounced back to even the game at 2-2 in the second period on goals by senior stars Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau. Neither team scored in the remainder of regulation, but the Sun Devils broke through with a tally in overtime to post a 3-2 victory.

With Princeton, now 3-8-1, facing high-powered and ninth-ranked Penn State (11-5-1) on December 15 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, the Tigers will have to shore things up along the blue line.

“You never know if you are going to score a goal but you can control the defensive zone,” said Fogarty, whose team lost to the Nittany Lions 4-2 in its season opener on October 26.

“You have to make sure that the defensive zone is very strong and shots come from the outside. There were too many shots from the inside.”