November 23, 2022

PU Men’s Hockey Drops Two to Quinnipiac, But Tigers Buying Into Focus on Toughness

NO QUIT: Princeton University men’s hockey player Noah de la Durantaye brings the puck up the ice in recent action. Sophomore defensemen de la Durantaye scored the lone goal for Princeton as it fell 4-1 to No. 4 Quinnipiac last Friday night. A day later, the Tigers lost 4-1 in a rematch with the Bobcats to move to 2-5 overall and 2-5 ECAC Hockey. The Tigers will play a two-game set at RIT this weekend with contests slated for November 25 and 26. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden 

After losing its first three games of the season, the Princeton University men’s hockey team got on the winning track with a pair of shutout wins over Yale and Brown.

“The first couple of weeks at Harvard and home with Cornell and Colgate, I was trying to find out what the identity was of our players and now I know their identity,” said Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty, whose team blanked Yale 3-0 on November 11 and edged Brown 1-0 a day later. “Now it is just building upon it and getting better. We are tough to play against, not just gritty. Our turnover ratio for full possession turnovers in the defensive zone has dramatically decreased where we are not giving second chances. That was a primary focus coming into the season, being quicker on our outlets and getting out of our zone.”

Princeton displayed its toughness against last Friday evening as it hosted No. 4 Quinnipiac, falling 4-1 to the high-powered Bobcats despite outshooting them 23-18.

“It was just clog the neutral zone, finish checks, and just be back on top of the third guy, they are a heavily skilled team,” said Fogarty, who got a third period goal from sophomore defenseman Noah de la Durantaye in the defeat. “I thought we did a really good job of that. They haven’t been held to 18 shots all year or five in one period. I thought we played well tonight.”

Princeton fought hard to generate shots against Quinnipiac but didn’t get the bounces.

“It was getting to the net, they do a good job of playing very strong in front of [Yaniv] Perets,” said Fogarty. “We knew we had to get shots and traffic in the third. We wanted to get to two. It was going to the net and getting in the red zone. That was one of our keys, it was good to get that last one there. The shots were right there, it was a back and forth game We had a couple good looks early. Spencer [Kersten] just missed one giving over his glove in the first period. They are a really good hockey team and we are emerging to be a very good hockey team.”

In Fogarty’s view, the Tigers have plenty of room to grow with a lineup on Friday that included seven freshmen and three sophomores.

“It is a youthful team,” said Fogarty. “We are playing a team with 10 players having played over 100 games and our top guy is at 67. We are a young team, we need to keep learning.”

A night later, Princeton played hard again, falling by the same 4-1 margin to the Bobcats in Hamden, Conn., as it moved to 2-5 overall and 2-5 ECAC Hockey.

“I like what we are doing,” said Fogarty, whose team will play a two-game set at RIT this weekend with contests slated for November 25 and 26. “Our guys are showing a lot of determination. They are trying to set a legacy for the next 100 years to close the 100 years here in Baker with what we have done and where we need to go. They are playing really hard and they have stuck with it. Our guys have really bought in, there is a collaboration with the staff and players on where we want to get to and it is showing already.”