PU Men’s Hockey Rallies to Tie LIU in Baker Debut, Displaying Promise with Encouraging 3-1-1 Start
By Bill Alden
With the Princeton University men’s hockey team playing its first game at Hobey Baker Rink in more than 20 months last Saturday evening, the Tigers gave the fans on hand their money’s worth.
Hosting Long Island University, Princeton jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Liam Gorman and Ian Murphy only to see the Sharks tally four unanswered goals in the second period to go up 4-2. Princeton responded with goals by David Ma and Corey Andonovski in the third to force overtime. Neither team scored in overtime and the game ended in a 4-4 tie.
Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty was thrilled to see his players hit the ice at Baker Rink for the first time since losing 2-0 to Brown on February 29, 2020.
“To be back home after 623 days was great,” said Fogarty.
“There was great excitement from the players. They had a major jump in the first part of the game, we played really well throughout.”
While Fogarty would have liked to see his team pull out the win, he was happy with how his players dealt with the ups and downs of the contest as Princeton moved to 3-1-1 overall.
“I like how we handled adversity,” said Fogarty. “We were up two and then down by two and then to come back and tie it and have some chances in overtime. We did a lot of good things. I believe we deserved to win on Saturday where we probably deserved to lose on Friday (a 2-1 win at LIU) on Long Island. They were two types of games.”
The Tigers have been handling their business well in the early stages of the season.
“I like our style of play for most part of our last four games,” said Fogarty.
“The underclassmen are doing a great job of just contributing. They have jumped right in, facing every challenge and exceeding expectations for sure. In the past, maybe we have had some individuals that have done a great job to get those wins. It has been a great team effort to get us to 3-1-1.”
The squad’s blue line unit has made a big contribution to the solid start.
“I believe the whole defense corps has played extremely well, it is the deepest we have had,” said Fogarty.
“Pito [Walton] had a great weekend against Yale and Brown. David Ma had a great game against LIU on Saturday and Mark [Paolini] has been contributing. The defense have been able to seek out scoring opportunities because the forwards are supporting them up high and giving them some space to attack the net.”
Sophomore forward Murphy is emerging as an offensive catalyst for the Tigers.
“Ian Murphy has been playing well, he just does his job every time he is on the ice,” said Fogarty of Murphy who has two goals and two assists so far this season.
“He knows what type of a player he is and what his line mates expect of him. He is a very good complement player to a line. He knows exactly what he is going to do and he always does the right thing.”
The Tigers did a lot of good things in their first ECAC Hockey weekend as they defeated Brown 6-3 on November 5 and then topped Yale 6-2 a day later.
“That weekend was more indicative of how we were playing in preseason and practice,” said Fogarty.
“I thought the game against Army (a 4-1 loss on October 30) was more of the wrong direction. It wasn’t a surprise how we played against Yale and Brown, that was the expectation that I had for Army and we didn’t execute our play to our standard. We just need the consistency to permeate down from the upperclassmen that we have to play this way all of the time.”
As Princeton looks forward to getting back on the Baker Rink ice to host St. Lawrence on November 19 and Clarkson on November 20, Fogarty wants to see his players build on the positives they displayed against LIU.
“We are looking for our consistency of play,” said Fogarty.
“If we can play like we were doing with the good things on Saturday and improve on them we should be OK.”