Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 49
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
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KAISER RULE: Princeton University men’s hockey junior Kevin Kaiser streaks up the ice in recent action. Kaiser has scored six points this season, centering a productive line that also includes Brandon Kushniruk and Kevin Lohry. Princeton, now 9-2 overall and 7-1 in ECAC Hockey play, hosts Quinnipiac on December 3 in a non-league contest before going on break until after Christmas.

With Kaiser Centering Productive Line, PU Men’s Hockey Sitting Atop ECACH

Bill Alden

Coming into last Wednesday evening’s game against visiting Quinnipiac, junior forward Kevin Kaiser hadn’t scored a goal yet this season for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

Kaiser picked a good time to end his drought, tallying a goal in the last minute of the second period that proved to be the margin of victory in a 2-1 win over the Bobcats before a crowd of 1,455 at Baker Rink.

The humble Kaiser was not carried away by breaking the ice after going eight games without a goal.

“I was coming out of our zone with the puck and I threw it wide to Kevin Lohry; he’s got great speed and he chased the puck down,” recalled Kaiser.

“He made a nice drop pass to Matt Godlewski and he just found me wide open in front and all I had to do was basically tap it into an open net.”

While he hadn’t found the back of the net until Wednesday, Kaiser was happy with how things were clicking with his line that includes Brandon Kushniruk and Lohry.

“I think its all a function of our line playing really well lately,” said the 5’9, 175-pound native of Pelham, N.H., who centers the line with Lohry at left wing and Kushniruk playing right wing.

“Our line has had the last three game-winning goals. We have really been working hard. When that happens, that’s when you start scoring.”

The line kept producing two nights later as senior captain Kushniruk scored to help the No. 7 Tigers top fourth-ranked Northeastern 5-3 in the first game of the RPI tournament in Troy, N.Y. The victory gave Princeton its eighth win in a row, three short of the program record.

A day later, Kaiser added two assists but it wasn’t enough as Princeton tasted defeat for the first time in three weeks, falling 6-4 to unheralded Mercyhurst in the RPI title game, leaving the Tigers at 9-2 overall and 7-1 in ECAC Hockey play.

For Kaiser, playing with Kushniruk and Lohry has him thinking that the Tigers can play for titles as the season unfolds.

“It’s a pleasure playing with Kush; he is a leader for a reason; he works so hard,” said Kaiser, whose production has helped Princeton climb atop the ECACH standings where it has piled up 14 points with Cornell, Harvard, and Dartmouth locked in a three-way tie for second at 10.

“I have actually been playing with him for almost two and a half years since my freshman year. Lohry complements us really well; he has a ton of speed and sees the ice really well. We have been playing together since the first game of the season so we have come a long way. The chemistry is really building.”

Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky likes what Kaiser adds to team chemistry.

“He is one of those guys that is valuable to a team in so many ways,” asserted Gadowsky.

“Those are the guys that score big game-winning goals and he did today. His linemate Kush did it the last two games. Hard working guys that please the hockey gods seem to get it done and Kevin did it tonight.”

The line’s success of late has catapulted sophomore Lohry into the limelight.

“I would have said Kevin Lohry is the best hidden player in the league but he’s not hidden any more,” asserted Gadowsky, whose team will host Quinnipiac on December 3 in a non-league contest before going on break until after Christmas.

“Everybody knows about him; his speed causes so many problems. His speed alone creates a lot of offense and you are seeing that from Kush and Kaiser. Lohry deserves a lot of credit for the offense that line is producing.”

A key to Princeton’s success is its scoring balance which is reflected by the fact that 11 players already have five or more points this season.

“We have always strived for that,” said Gadowsky, referring to his team’s balanced attack.

“We felt that this year we would get that more than in any other year. We have had some great surprises; Sam Sabky is having a tremendous start offensively so he has given us a boost. I love the way Lee Jubinville played tonight. His line with Brett Wilson and Marc Hagel were flying and creating a lot of opportunities. Once the puck starts going in for them, I think we will be a scary offensive team.”

Princeton was not scared going into its match-up with Northeastern. “It’s a great opportunity the way it shook out, No. 4 against No. 7 on neutral ice,” said Gadowsky, who got two goals from Hagel in the win over the Huskies.

“I am sure it is going to be looked at not only by people here in Princeton but around the college hockey nation so it’s fun to play in those games.”

Kaiser, for his part, thinks the Tigers are in for a fun winter. “I think we are really confident in what we are doing right now,” said Kaiser, who now has 25 points in his Princeton career.

“We have been doing the same things since my freshman year; we are just getting better at it. We haven’t changed anything, we are just improving. We trust each other. We trust the system and everyone goes out and works hard. When you have that kind of accountability around the room, good things are going to happen.”

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