Senior Star Gorman Following in Family Tradition, Emerging as a Leader for Princeton Men’s Hockey
FAMILY BUSINESS: Princeton University men’s hockey player Liam Gorman controls the puck against Colgate last Saturday. Senior forward and captain Gorman tallied a goal and an assist but it wasn’t enough as Princeton fell 4-3 in overtime to the Raiders. Gorman is filling a family tradition playing the Tigers as his father, Sean ’91, was star and a captain for the Tigers and his younger brother, Brendan, is a freshman forward for Princeton. The Tigers, now 0-3, play at Yale on November 11 and at Brown on November 12. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
For Liam Gorman, playing for the Princeton University men’s hockey team is a family affair.
Gorman’s father, Sean ’91, was star and a captain for the Tigers. This winter, Gorman’s younger brother, Brendan, has joined the program as a freshman forward.
Last Saturday as Princeton hosted Colgate and held its annual Senior Night, Gorman’s parents were on hand at Hobey Baker Rink to see their sons in action.
For Gorman, following in his father’s footsteps as one of the captains for the Tigers is particularly meaningful.
“It is a huge honor, especially after my father being a captain here,” said Gorman, a 6’3, 199-pound native of Arlington, Mass. “It is really cool, continuing that legacy is something I am really proud of.”
Having his brother add to the family legacy has also been cool.
“It is awesome, we played a little bit in high school,” said Gorman, who has been skating on a line with his brother and junior Ian Murphy. “I was a senior and he was a freshman, but this is our first time really getting to play together on the same line so that is really cool being on the ice together. When each other scores, that is some really cool stuff. We just look at each other. We have that little connection, like I remember that one from the back yard.”
Against Colgate, Gorman got the scoring started with a goal 5:34 into the contest.
“I got pretty lucky for the most part,” said Gorman, reflecting on the tally. “I was just hounding, doing my job. The guy coughed up the puck and gave me a quick breakaway. Coming from the angle I was coming at, if I really pushed hard, I could slip it through and I got lucky there.”
With the game knotted at 2-2, the Gorman brothers combined for a goal as freshman Brendan took a feed from Liam and Murphy to find the back of the net.
“I was looking to just get the puck out of the zone at that point,” said Gorman. “After that, it was all Murph (Ian Murphy) and Brendan. They took care of it after that, he has got a wicked shot so whenever we can get the puck on his stick in the o-zone it is a good thing.”
But it was Colgate that buried the shots over the rest of the contest as the Raiders scored with 7:14 left in regulation to force overtime and then tallied in the first minute of the extra session to win 4-3.
“We just have to be able to put those stretches together and make it a full game,” said Gorman, assessing the defeat which left the Tigers at 0-3 overall and 0-3 ECAC Hockey with one point in the league standings due to the tie in regulation. “We are building off of each game if you look at it from the start of the season through today. We have played some good competition these first three games, it was a test right off the bat, I think we held in for the most part across the board for all three games. We just have to do a better job at really settling on then at the end.”
With Princeton falling 3-1 to Cornell on Friday, Gorman believes the Tigers made progress this weekend.
“We feel we made progress, especially after the way last night went,” said Gorman. “The first period was horrible, the second period less bad and the third period was good. We brought that into tonight. We really played but we just fell off the gas a little bit at the end there. We got unlucky with a couple of penalties. We have got to be disciplined there too.”
Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty was disappointed to see his team come up short despite a good effort.
“We played well the entire game; that is a team that was in our conference’s final four last year and is returning all of their top gunners,” said Fogarty. “I thought we outclassed them for three periods and had a chance in overtime. Our guys are putting their hearts and souls into it and that is one of those games where you want to be rewarded.”
The Tigers have been snake bitten so far this season with three tight defeats.
“We have had a lead against Harvard (a 4-2 loss on October 29), we had a chance to tie the game against Cornell and then we lose in overtime,” said Fogarty.
“We are right there, we just have to get to the next step of winning the game.”
In the loss to Colgate, taking three penalties in the third period, including a five-minute major 20 seconds into the frame, hurt Princeton.
“The penalties hurt us most definitely, especially being shorthanded for nine minutes in the third period out of 20,” added Fogarty. Still, Princeton was able to forge ahead with the goal by the younger Gorman.
“We responded, we scored right away,” said Fogarty. “Our guys are resilient, they bought fully in. They love each other, they want to play for each other.”
The play of the Gorman brothers was a bright spot in the defeat to Colgate.
“They were better tonight, they didn’t have their identity last night but tonight they were going,” said Fogarty. “Both of them scored. It was a great start by Liam and Brendan is going to be a special player for us. He already has two goals in three games. When he has the puck, he reminds me of some players who have made money playing hockey that I have coached along the way.”
Along the blue line, senior Pito Walton and freshman Tyler Rubin have gotten off to a good start this season.
“Pito is playing well, Tyler is creating,” said Fogarty. “We are a young team. We are doing a lot of great things, everyone is all in and that is why today hurts.”
Due to that youth, Fogarty is being patient with his squad.
“In 2016-17, the program started to turn around; we started the year 0-6 and then we almost got to .500,” said Fogarty. “We won the championship the next year. It just takes time for the young guys to learn how to win. We are playing some pretty good hockey right now, we are competing very hard.”
With Princeton playing at Yale on November 11 and at Brown on November 12, Fogarty believes the Tigers can get on the winning track.
“It is watch the penalties, that is a big part; we have to control that,” said Fogarty. “I like how we play. I like where we are going. A lot of people are giving us no credit. Those men in there are definitely not a 12th place team. We will continue to show that in practice and games.”
Gorman, for his part, believes that the Tigers are primed for a breakthrough.
“I think just across the board from top to bottom it is being consistent in your game; making sure that every line that goes out there is contributing, maybe not exactly the same but doing their part in working to get the job done,” said Gorman.
“It is just going to be getting the job done. We can’t keep having these moral victories and being happy or content with a good thing here, a good thing there. We have got to put it all together and pull out a win here.”