February 1, 2017

Princeton Men’s Hockey Shines at Philly Event, Overcoming Late Deficit to Stun No. 4 Penn State

STATEMENT GAME: Princeton University men’s hockey player David Hallisey controls the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, junior forward Hallisey scored two goals as Princeton rallied from a 4-2 third period deficit to defeat No. 4 Penn State 5-4 at the Wells Fargo Center in the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff. The Tigers, now 8-11-2, play at Yale on February 3 and at Brown on February 4. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

It was a situation that could have gone downhill quickly for the Princeton University men’s hockey team.

Coming off a 14-day break for exams and facing No. 4 Penn State before a crowd of 15,127 in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pa. on hand for the Philadelphia College Hockey Faceoff, Princeton found itself trailing 1-0 just 51 seconds into the contest.

But the Tigers wasted no time in erasing that deficit as junior forward Max Becker found the back of the net 34 seconds later to knot the contest at 1-1.

“It was a good response; they scored less than a minute in and then on our next shift we responded,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty.

“That was good for the mental part of the game and our energy. The longer you are down in a game like that, the more pressure that comes to your mind. We have been on a long break, we handled it really well. That is when we really started going; that kept it going and believing that we were going to be OK and keep with the systems.”

The Tigers took the lead midway through the first period in a goal by David Hallisey. But the Nittany Lions regained momentum, scoring two unanswered goals to take a 3-2 lead into the second period. Penn State extended its advantage to 4-2 as the teams hit the ice for the third period.

After killing a 5-on-3 power play early in the final period, Princeton caught fire, scoring three unanswered goals to pull out a dramatic 5-4 victory.

“There are ebbs and flows of the game and then the next sway was to make it 4-3 so now you are within one early in the third,” said Fogarty, whose team improved to 8-11-2 with the win.

“The 5-on-3 was a product of the game; it was unfortunate, a couple of penalties against us. Our penalty kill did a great job. We had three or four blocks during that penalty kill, which was huge.”

In reflecting on the win, Fogarty believed that his players were fueled by the excitement in the building.

“It was a great atmosphere and it was a great experience, there is no question,” said Fogarty.

“When you have an opportunity to play in an NHL facility; first it is unique and great for the guys who aspire to be pro players but then when you have a crowd, it makes it better.”

With Penn State led by former Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky, who employs a crowd-pleasing run-and-gun attack, the Tigers were determined to keep up with the high-powered Nittany Lions.

“We knew they were going to put up a lot of shots, they are a team that shoots a lot but doesn’t give up many,” said Fogarty, whose team was outshot by a slim 47-41 margin.

“I ws impressed that we got 41; that is the most they have given up all year. Our energy coming out of the break was really good.”

Junior star Hallisey showed a lot of energy for the evening, notching Princeton’s third goal to go with his first period tally.

“He is getting to the net and he has got a quick release,” added Fogarty.

“There was a tip-in on the power play and then a nice power play with the puck below the goal line in the third period; he showed really quick hands to put it by (Peyton) Jones.”

The game-winning score came from senior Ben Foster with 1:26 remaining in regulation.

“For the senior line to score the goal and to put the final period on a great story there for the day was really great,” said Fogarty.

“They will remember it. You have an opportunity to have a great memory and then you realize that in the game, it is going to go a long way. They will talk about that game for many years. When they are alums, they will reminisce on when you got that goal. You think back on how great an experience it was. I am happy for Ben.”

Fogarty was happy to see a number of players get on the score sheet as freshman Liam Grande added a goal with sophomore Max Veronneau, sophomore Josh Teves and freshman Jackson Cressey each picking up two assists, and freshman Joey Fallon, sophomore Ryan Kuffner, senior Quin Pompi, and senior Ryan Siiro getting credited with one helper apiece.

“It was a balance of opportunities as well; we had a couple of defensemen who had tipped pucks,” said Fogarty.

“There was a lot of scoring when you have 41 shots on goal, you get that. It was a fun game to watch from behind the bench. It was a great atmosphere and we look forward to doing it again in two years.”

With Princeton getting back in ECAC Hockey action this weekend by playing at Yale on February 3 and at Brown on February 4, Fogarty is hoping his team can maximize its opportunities down the stretch.

“Our season now is kind of broken up into five parts; the 0-6-1 start, then the winning streak and you come off a break and then you come off another break,” said Fogarty.

“We have got to treat the next eight games as another big segment for us with ECAC play. We have to capture ECAC wins and then we will prepare accordingly for the playoffs. It is prepare for Yale but make sure that the things we were doing well against Penn State, we continue to do and get better.”