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Tigers Complete 6-Point Weekend With Wins Against Seton Hall and Millersville

Posted by Graham Turk on November 13, 2016

Following the OT victory, the Tigers faced Seton Hall on the road. The teams were tied after 2 periods with Tiger goals coming from Christian Bischoff and Peter Kuenne. In the opening minute of the third, Antoine Crepin-Heroux broke the tie on a pass from Mac Hugin. A boarding penalty against Princeton gave the Pirates a key opportunity to tie. But the Tiger PK answered the call in a big way. Two shorthanded goals, by Christian Bischoff and Antoine Crepin-Heroux, widened the margin to 3, which is how it ended. Coleman Merchant was sensational in net, making 38 stops.

On Sunday, Millersville visited Baker Rink looking to put a stop to the Tigers' momentum. The Marauders turned up the heat early, pinning the Tigers in their defensive zone for long possessions. Graham Turk made 19 saves in the first period to keep it locked at 0-0. A locker room reset brought life to the Tiger offense. Bennett (with 2), Vukasin, and Crepin-Heroux gave the Tigers a 4-0 lead after 11 minutes. Millersville notched a power-play goal shortly after, but the Tiger defense put a stop to the momentum with textbook shutdown hockey, especially by sophomore defenseman Ryan Gizzie. Vukasin scored a beautiful wrist-shot goal early in the third to make it 5 with Sorkin and Zhou getting assists. Gorgeous forechecking and penalty killing by David Crane, Peter DeMatteo, and Christian Bischoff held off the Millersville attack. Meanwhile the defensive tandem of Hugin and Ryan-Dehejia was cool with the puck, clearing the zone with authority. Turk finished with 41 saves in the winning effort.

Bennett Wins it in Overtime Against West Chester

Posted by Graham Turk on November 11, 2016

Princeton was back in action on Friday against West Chester on the road. The Tigers played a strong first period but couldnt find the net. Defenseman Ryan Gizzie had several key blocks and forward David Crane was dominant on the forecheck. Princeton got the offense going in the second period. First, Ben Sorkin took a pass on the move from Ryan Gizzie. He let rip one of his trademark low wrist shots that beat the West Chester goaltender 5-hole. The next minute, Gizzie found Vukasin on a similar play. The senior forward took a low snap shot that found the back of the net, giving the Tigers a 2-goal lead. It was back and forth the rest of the period with each team killing off a penalty. A late hooking call on the Tigers put West Chester on the PP. After a textbook penalty kill, Mac Hugin found a gap and rushed the puck through the neutral zone. He took a shot from outside, streaked past the defenseman and chipped in his rebound for a key shorthanded goal. But on the very next shift, in the dying second of the period, West Chester tallied their first goal on an end-to-end rush by the defenseman.

West Chester came out firing in the third. Turk turned aside two back door chances to keep it at 3-1. But an odd-man rush at the 14-minute mark produced a West Chester goal on a shot high glove side. Princeton sured up its defense on the ensuing possessions. They killed off two big penalties and things were looking good for the Tigers. But with 5 minutes remaining, another penalty put West Chester up a man. The Golden Rams worked the puck up to the point late in the PP. The defenseman took a shot that somehow got through everyone and found the back of the net. All of a sudden it was 3-3; the Tigers' 3-goal lead had evaporated. A careful last 3 minutes in regulation did not produce a winner.

Princeton bounced back from the drop of the puck in OT. Playing 4-on-4, the Tigers leveraged their speed to generate chances. 3 minutes into the frame, Drew Bennett took a pass from Ryan Gizzie. Gaining the zone, he took a shot, found his own rebound, then curled around the net. With the goalie moving back across, Bennett took a shot with almost no angle that clanked off the post and in to seal it for the Tigers. Princeton improves to 8-1 in the CSCHC.

Princeton Heads Into Fall Break With Win Against Rutgers

Posted by Graham Turk on October 28, 2016

The Tigers faced off against Rutgers for the second time in 5 days in the last game before fall break. Rutgers broke through first on a rebound goal in front of the net. With under 2 minutes left in the first, Princeton went up on the man advantage. Unable to get anything on net for most of the powerplay, they finally gained possession with 20 seconds remaining. Mac Hugin worked it from the blue line to Drew Bennett down low. He issued a perfect pass to Ben Sorkin on the back door, who slid the puck into an empty net to tie the score at 1-1.

An early Rutgers penalty in the second put the Tigers back up a man. This time is was Gizzie who fed Bennett on the back door for another power play goal. At the 8 minute mark, the Scarlet Knights had maintained a long possession in the O-Zone. From behind the net, they worked the puck to the slot, where a quick shot ricocheted off a skate and found the back of the net. But just 4 minutes later, Dennis Guo stopped the puck at the blue line, walked in, and took a low wrist shot that the goalie never saw. The puck slid into the bottom corner of the net, reclaiming the 1-goal Tiger lead.

Early in the third period, Gizzie handed off to Guo in the neutral zone. Guo found Vukasin along the boards. The senior forward beat the defenseman wide, cut to the middle, and roofed a wrist shot short side high to widen the margin to 2. Down to 9 players, the Tigers summoned an incredible effort to shut down Rutgers. Captain Mac Hugin was unbeatable on defense, blocking shots and stopping odd man rushes every shift. Turk came up with some big saves to prevent the game from getting interesting. 4-2 Tigers was how it stayed until the final buzzer. Turk earned his 6th win of the season and the Tigers improved to 7-1 in the CSCHC and 12-1 overall.

Tigers Split Weekend Against NJ Foes

Posted by Graham Turk on October 23, 2016

Princeton continued CSCHC play this weekend against two local rivals, TCNJ and Rutgers. On Friday the Tigers played host to TCNJ. Ben Sorkin got on the board early with a quick-release snap shot from the top of the circle that found the back of the net. After a long possession in the offensive zone, TCNJ cashed in on a shot from the hashmarks to tie it at 1. Another goal on the ensuing shift gave them the 1-goal lead. The second period featured tight defense by both sides. The Tigers killed off two penalties and Graham Turk made 11 saves to hold TCNJ scoreless. In the final minute, Alex Vukasin picked up the puck with speed in the neutral zone. He created space, was given time to shoot, and ripped a shot under the crossbar to knot the score at 2. Princeton has seized the momentum and came out strong in the third but were unable to convert early. At 7 minutes in, a high zone clear found a streaking TCNJ forward, who converted a breakaway with a glove-side wrist shot. Five minutes later, TCNJ scored again on an odd-man rush for the all-important insurance goal. The Tigers battled to get back in the game but were unable to crack the TCNJ netminder. The Lions tacked on 2 empty-net goals for the 6-2 victory.

On Sunday, the Tigers travelled to Rutgers looking to bounce back from their first lost of the season. It didn't look good early, as the Scarlet Knights scored two quick goals within the first 7 minutes. But the Tigers responded in a big way. In the remaining 13 minutes of the period, Princeton scored 5 goals to take a commanding 3-goal lead. First was Bennett, then back-to-back tallies from Sorkin, followed by Crane, then Marshall. Dennis Guo tacked on a 6th early in the second period on a feed from Bennett. With shutdown hockey from a 3-man defensive core and stellar goaltending from Coleman Merchant, who finished with 29 saves, the score remained at 6-2 until the final buzzer.

Tigers Earn Two Hard-Fought Wins Against CSCHC Opponents

Posted by Graham Turk on October 15, 2016

The Tigers looked to take the Ivy League Championship momentum into league play as the battled Monmouth and Seton Hall this weekend. On Friday against Monmouth, Princeton jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on two goals from Antoine Crepin-Heroux assisted by Drew Bennett with Dennis Guo getting a secondary assist on the latter goal. But Monmouth cut the lead to 1 on the ensuing shift on a goal from in close. The game took a sour turn in the second period when a Monmouth defenseman took a charge at Antoine Crepin-Heroux, sidelining the Princeton forward for the rest of the game with a concussion. In what became an emotional and physical second period, Monmouth knotted the score at 2 at the midway mark, which is how it remained going into the third. The final frame featured a goaltending clinic on both ends. Coleman Merchant came up with 9 big saves and the Monmouth netminder made 20 of his own. The final buzzer sounded and the teams entered an overtime period. Skating at 4-on-4, empty ice abounded. With just over 2 minutes remaining, Ryan Gizzie picked up a pass from Dennis Guo in his own zone. Skating with a head of steam, he subtly faked inside then beat the defenseman on the outside. Approaching the net, he slid a perfect pass to Alex Vukasin on the back door, who one-timed it home. The Princeton bench erupted onto the ice to mob Vukasin, who improved the Tigers record to 9-0.

The next night Princeton faced Seton Hall. The shorthanded Princeton squad of 10 skaters seized an early lead on a goal by Alex Vukasin from Peter Kuenne and David Crane. Seton Hall scored 2 in the last 5 minutes of the period to transform a 1-goal deficit into a 1-goal lead. Princeton couldn't solve the Seton Hall netminder for most of the second. But with 4 minutes remaining, Drew Bennett picked up a pass from Ben Sorkin as he crossed the blue line. Bennett protected the puck with his long reach, cut to the middle, and slid the puck past the sprawling goaltender to knot the score at 2. Princeton came out firing on all cylinders in the third. Eventually tallying 18 shots, the ice tilted in the Tigers' favor but they couldn't break through. Strong defense by Christian Bischoff, Andrew Zhou, and Kesin Ryan Dehejia held the Pirates to just 4 shots. It looked like the Tigers were headed to OT for the second straight game with just 5 minutes remaining. But lightning never strikes just once. Bennett fed Sorkin, who sauced a pass to Alex Vukasin. With a flick of the wrist, Vukasin ripped a shot low that got under the netminder's pad to give the Tigers a 3-2 lead. Hugin, Guo, and Gizzie put the Tiger's defensive zone on lockdown in the final 4 minutes, ending any hopes of a comeback. The Tigers improved to 10-0 on the season with the victory. Graham Turk finished with 26 saves for his 5th win of the season.

Kuenne's Goal Clinches Ivy League Championship for Princeton

Posted by Graham Turk on October 9, 2016

This weekend, the Tigers competed in a 6-team Ivy League Tournament that include Harvard, Brown, Dartmouth, Columbia, and Penn. Princeton first played Columbia and emerged victorious by a 15-2 margin. Many Tigers found the scoresheet, highlighted by Drew Bennett's 6 goals. Freshman goaltender Evan Majic earned his first win as a Tiger. In the second round robin game, Princeton played long-time rival Harvard. The Tigers pounced on scoring opportunities early and jumped out to a 3-0 first period lead. With stellar goaltender from Coleman Merchant, who made 35 saves, Princeton held on for a 6-2 win, securing them the top spot going into the elimination round.

Due to the tournament seeding, Princeton again met Harvard in the semifinal on Saturday night. Strong Crimson goaltending prevented a similar early Tiger lead as the afternoon contest and the teams remained scoreless after one. Alex Vukasin provided the all-important spark just 22 seconds into the second period with a goal. Antoine Crepin-Heroux tallied his own midway through the frame, but the Tigers surrendered a power play goal late in the period, giving them a slim 1-goal margin after two. It was deja vĂș from the drop of the puck - this time Antoine Crepin-Heroux scored on the opening shift. The Tigers clamped down on defense, led by captain Mac Hugin and a tenacious forechecking effort by David Crane, Andrew Zhou, and Christian Bischoff. With 29 total saves by Graham Turk, the Tigers held on for the 3-1 lead and punched their ticket for a date with Penn in the final.

Played at the historic Class of 1923 Arena, the championship had the makings of a classic before the puck dropped. Peter Kuenne got the scoring going early with a beautiful wrist shot over the goalie's glove on a perfect feed from Drew Bennett. Bennett tacked on his own on a pass from Andrew Zhou in the latter half of the period. But Penn wouldn't go away, and with just 28 seconds remaining scored on the powerplay to make it 2-1 Tigers.

The Tigers went down a man early in the period, and it didn't look good for their lead. But a great defensive break-up by Antoine Crepin-Heroux led to a Drew Bennett breakaway. Denied on the first attempt, Bennett put home the rebound to reclaim the 2 goal lead. For the second time, this lead was short-lived. Still on the powerplay, Penn scored on an odd-man rush. 5 minutes later, they scored again from in tight on a rebound. All of a sudden it was 3-3 and the tide had shifted. The Tigers caught a break with a penalty called on the Quakers, and made their opponents pay. Antoine Crepin-Heroux caught a pass from Mac Hugin and buried a shot to make it 4-3, which is how it stayed entering the third period.

Princeton just had to hold on for the win. But it's never that easy. After an uneventful first 8 minutes, Penn put the pressure on in the attacking zone. A scrum along the boards led to a chance in front, and the Penn forward buried the puck between Turk and the post. It was pandamonium in 1923 Arena and all the momentum was with the Quakers. But on the very next shift, Mac Hugin took an innocent looking shot from the point that sailed wide. It careened off the lively back boards and found the stick of Peter Kuenne, alert and in position. He wasted no time to bury the puck into an open net: 5-4 Tigers. For the remaining 10 minutes, the Tigers survived attempt after attempt from the Quakers. In the dying moments, Princeton went into shell mode and kept the puck anywhere from the front of the net. When the dust settled, the scoreboard showed 5-4: the tigers were Ivy League Champions.

Strong Defense Lifts Princeton Over NJIT

Posted by Graham Turk on October 1, 2016

Princeton looked to keep the momentum going against NJIT. The Tigers jumped to a quick start; on the first shift, Antoine Crepin-Heroux fed linemate Peter Kuenne in the slot, who buried a wrist shot over the goalie's pad for the 1-0 lead. The Tigers couldn't find a way to score for the remaining 19 minutes, but a spirited defensive effort and 12 saves by Graham Turk kept the Highlanders off the board.

NJIT hit the ice with passion in the second. Just after the one-minute mark, an NJIT roofed a shot on a 2-on-1 to knot the score at 1. High speed back and forth action ensued, with chances at both ends. The Tigers got a man advantage close to to the 12-minute mark. On a beautiful cross-ice feed by Peter Kuenne, Drew Bennett slid a shot under the goaltender's stick. Just 6 seconds later, Kuenne went bar down to collect his second of the game. But NJIT would not go away. On a powerplay of their own, they scored from a tight angle to cut the Tiger lead in half. As the period was coming to a close, the Tigers gained the zone on an innocent looking play. Andrew Zhou threw the puck to the net. The goaltender made the save, but Christian Bischoff found the rebound and buried it for the insurance goal.

The Tigers set the tone early on in the third. An early goal by Antoine Crepin-Heroux increased the lead by one. From then on out, the Tiger defensive core put on a clinic. Dennis Guo, Mac Hugin, Kesin Ryan Dehejia, and Ryan Gizzie were rock solid in the d-zone, limiting the opposition to outside shots and doing a superb job clearing the front of the net. An NJIT power play goal at the 10-minute mark put the Tigers on their heels, but they held strong. A late goal by captain Mac Hugin put the icing on the cake for the 6-3 win. The Tigers improved to 3-1 and 2-0 in CSCHC league play. They are back in action tonight against Penn at home.

Tigers Open CSCHC Play With Win Over Scranton

Posted by Graham Turk on September 23, 2016

Princeton was back in action Saturday night, this time against new CSCHC member Scranton. This was the first matchup in recent memory between the two teams, and neither one knew what to expect. The beginning of the game showcased each team's speed, as they traded odd man rush chances. With 12 minutes remaining, Peter Kuenne buried a 2-on-1 goal from a great pass by Drew Bennett. Just 14 seconds later, Antoine Crepin-Heroux stayed hot with a blistering slap shot goal. Scranton got one back in the second period on a shot from the goal line. But Bennett seized the two-goal lead back with a beautiful breakaway goal. The Tigers then went down on a 5-minute penalty kill after a major was called. Scranton got back within one with a scramble goal midway through the man advantage. But the Tigers responded immediately, this time on a blistering wrister by Crepin-Heroux while still on the kill to make it 4-2. The Tiger defense, led by Mac Hugin and Dennis Guo, held off the Scranton attack for the remaining minutes of the power play. Bennett tallied his second of the evening in the dying minutes of the period to take a 3-goal lead into the locker room.

Princeton was unable to capitalize on several powerplay chances early in the third. After a string of penalties on the Tigers, it was their turn to hold off a surge. The Princeton penalty kill units put on a clinic, led by the shot-blocking efforts of Andrew Zhou and the puck possession skill of Alex Vukasin. The Tigers kept the defensive zone sealed off for the remainder of the game and collected their first victory in CSCHC league play to make it 2-0 on the weekend.

Princeton Claims First Win of 2016-2017 Campaign

Posted by Graham Turk on September 23, 2016

On Friday, Princeton looked to bounce back against a strong Navy opponent. After surrendering an early goal, the Tigers stormed back - Antoine Crepin-Heroux netted two goals, one on the power play, to put the Tigers up 2-1 at the buzzer. The second period featured the Coleman Merchant show - the sophomore netminder was 12 out of 12 on shots faced, making some dazzling saves. With the help of a Drew Bennett breakaway goal, the Tigers took a 3-1 lead into the third period. Any thought of a Navy comeback were silenced with an early goal by Antoine Crepin-Heroux on a breakaway. The Tigers added 4 more late in the period by Kuenne, Crepin-Heroux (for his 4th of the night), Bennett, and Crane. Merchant finished with 22 saves for his first victory of the season.