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Princeton's Regional Run Cut Short by Louisville

Posted by Graham Turk on February 27, 2016

Riding a 5-game win streak and a CSCHC Championship, Princeton rolled into Dale City Virginia for its first ACHA Regional appearance in team history. Their opponent: the Louisville Cardinals, also seeking their sixth straight win after a dominant performance in the TSCHL playoffs, knocking off top-seeded Ohio University in the final to take the title. Two league champions with one spot in the second round up for grabs.

Louisville set the tone early, using the Olympic-size ice to its advantage. The Louisville offense put on a passing clinic, confidently gaining the offensive zone and pressuring the Tiger defense. Turk was busy early, making a flurry of saves on more than one occasion. The Tigers countered with some prime offensive chances of their own, but were unable to break through. Shortly after the midway mark, Louisville set up in the offensive zone and worked the puck around to the top of the circle. The forward offered an errant shot, but it was blocked in front of the net and shoved over the goal line. Just under three minutes later, Louisville entered the Tiger zone on a fast break. A scramble in front left the point unguarded. The puck found its way to the defenseman who blasted a slapper through traffic into the net. Louisville held its 2-0 lead as the period came to a close.

The Tigers shook off their bus legs as they entered the second period. Louisville pressed on with the same offensive fervor, but the Tiger defense was up to the task. Mac Hugin captained the back line with relentless pressure. Hannah Sorkin was a wall, turning aside countless odd-man opportunities. Ryan Gizzie and Dennis Guo were ferocious in front of the net to allow Turk to track pucks and make an eventual 18 saves in the period. On the offensive side, the Tigers sticks started to come alive. Unable to convert on several great rebound chances, it looked like the score might remain locked after two. But at the 14 minute mark, Drew Bennett entered the zone on a pass from Guo. He used the defenseman as a screen and caught the goalie off guard with a low shot through the five hole. The Tigers carried the momentum into the locker room, facing a familiar 1-goal deficit going into the third period.

Princeton's momentum was aided by an early Cardinal cross-checking penalty. The Tigers went to work on the powerplay. Ben Sorkin took his usual position at the half wall. He fed the puck to Dennis Guo at the top of the blue line. He took a low shot that appeared to be going wide. But Patrick Hompe was in the perfect position, and made an incredible play to tip it through the goaltender's legs, erasing the deficit to knot the game at 2. The Tiger looked possessed; they swarmed the Louisville zone and peppered the goaltender. Princeton got a prime chance to seize the lead when a Louisville defenseman was called for a hooking penalty. Several chances ensued on the power play; early on, Hompe took a one-timer from the slot that the Cardinal goaltender managed to get a blocker on. Just as the penalty came to a close, Louisville won the puck in the Tiger zone. Turk picked up a shot late from in tight and was unable to control the rebound. The Louisville forward got to the puck and flipped it over Turk's glove into the net. Reminiscent of the TCNJ championship game, the Tigers were dealt a devastating momentum shift. But another Cardinal penalty gave them a chance at a tie. One minute into the powerplay, Bennett collected a pass from Guo as he entered the zone. His initial shot was turned aside, but he found the rebound and banked it off the goalie's skate to tie it up at 3. The teams lined up at the center dot with 7:30 to decide their fates. Tiger forwards Peter Kuenne, Matt Kelly, and Alex Vukasin were tenacious in their puck pursuit. Momentum shifted back and forth as the teams traded odd man rushes. With 5 minutes remaining, the Tigers took their first penalty of the game to put Louisville up a man. The Tiger PK locked down the opposition for most of the man advantage. Mac Hugin and Antoine Crepin-Heroux sacrificed the body to keep the puck away from the net. As the powerplay came to a close, a shot from outside got blocked in front. Just as Turk got back to his feet, the Louisville forward slapped it under his pad for the 4-3 lead. The Tigers had 4 minutes for a tying goal, but this time they couldn't find the comeback magic that had carried them to Virginia. As the clock wound down, Louisville gained control and sent the puck into an empty net, punching their ticket to play Penn State in the second round.

It was a tough way to go out, but the loss took nothing away from Princeton's incredible season. Posting a 15-7-1 record, the 2015-2016 Tigers went farther than any club hockey team before them. The CSCHC title was the team's first league championship since 2004-2005. As they look ahead to next year, they are excited to get back to work in their quest to get to the ACHA national tournament. Signing off until next season, your webmaster and hisorian, #30.

ACHA D2 Southeast Regional Tournament Info

Posted by Graham Turk on February 23, 2016

This weekend Princeton travels to Dale City, Virginia for the ACHA D2 Southeast Regional Tournament. All games will be played at Prince William Ice Center in Woodbridge, VA. Princeton's tournament schedule is listed below. The format is single elimination so the latter two games are contingent on wins in the previous game:

Friday, February 26, 7:30PM: #12 Princeton vs #9 Louisville

Saturday, February 27, 1:20PM: Lowest remaining seed vs #3 Miami (OH)

Sunday February 28, 2:50PM: Lowest remaining seed vs Highest remaining seed

Bennett's OT Winner Gives Princeton CSCHC Title

Posted by Graham Turk on February 21, 2016

On Sunday morning, second-seeded Princeton and crosstown rival first-seeded TCNJ faced off with the CSCHC championship on the line. It was the third matchup of the season between these teams, having split the previous two. And those who were in attendance were in for a wild ride. TCNJ got out to a quick start and capitalized on a long offensive possession at the 15-minute mark. A shot from the point was tipped by a TCNJ stick and found the top corner of the net. Princeton woke up after the goal against and used their speed to get some prime scoring chances. The TCNJ netminder stood tall to deny the Tigers a tally. TCNJ used its size to its advantage and dominated the physical play. Midway through the frame, a blocked shot at the blue line led to a TCNJ breakway. The forward deked in close but Turk stetched for the pad save to keep the deficit to 1. A string of TCNJ penalties eventually gave the Tigers a 5-on-3 powerplay. After several blocked shot attempts, it looked like Princeton might come away empty-handed. But as the first penalty expired, Alex Vukasin picked up the puck from Dennis Guo and slid it across to his Ryan Gizzie. Gizzie hesitated, then blasted a slap shot through heavy traffic and into the back of the cage. The teams were knotted at 1 as the period came to a close with the Tigers holding a slight shot advantage.

Princeton came into the second with momentum after the late goal. They cycled the puck effectively in the offensive end to draw defenders down from the point. But time and time again, TCNJ players sacrificed the body to block shots and keep the puck to the perimeter. On the other end of the ice, TCNJ found its groove in the O-zone, setting up from behind the net to set up one-time shots that Turk had to direct to the corners. The teams traded fast breaks as the period neared the midway mark, the TCNJ netminder coming up huge to keep the puck out and TCNJ coming oh so close to converting on cross-ice pass 2-on-1 chances. A Princeton penalty gave the Lions a golden opportunity to take the lead. After one minute of effective penalty killing by the Tigers, TCNJ set up their umbrella. The puck came to the defenseman at the top of the zone. He ripped a slap shot low and the TCNJ forward in front got a stick on it to deflect it in: 2-1 TCNJ. But just like yesterday's semifinal game, Princeton seemed energized after surrendering the lead. The very next shift, a fast break led to a scramble in front; freshman Patrick Hompe somehow got his stick on it to shovel it over the goal line. At 2-2, the teams settled in to tighter play. After some back and forth in the neutral zone, a TCNJ defenseman carried the puck over the offensive blue line. His shot missed wide of the net, but the puck bounced hard off the back boards to the side of the net. A trailing forward was in perfect position to offer a shot that snuck under Turk's pad as he sprawled for the save attempt, giving TCNJ a 3-2 lead that they carried into the third period.

Coming out of the locker room, Princeton knew that time was of the essence. Down a goal against a strong defensive team, the Tigers needed to get something going right off the faceoff. But TCNJ was up for the task and shut down early Princeton attempts to gain the zone. Having played just over 4 minutes, TCNJ circled back behind their own net for a regroup. As Drew Bennett approached on the forecheck, the defenseman lost the puck and Bennett tapped it in before the goalie could react. But the Lions were resilient, and on the very next shift, after a Tiger giveaway in the D-zone, a TCNJ forward snapped a shot from the circle over Turk's glove to regain the lead. With the huge momentum shift and emotional letdown, it was uncelar whether the Tigers could come back yet again, already having cancelled 3 one-goal leads. For a while it didn't look good for Princeton. TCNJ locked down with even more fervor than in the early minutes, sending the puck deep into the Tiger end to make them chase. The clock was winding down as the 8, 7, then 6 minute-marks went by without signs of life from the Tiger's offense. As time neared 5 minutes, Drew Bennett picked up the puck with speed in the neutral zone. Cutting wide and maintaining possession with his long reach, he drove to the net. At the last second, rather than shooting, he dished a pass to the cutting Matt Kelly, who sent it through the netminder for the 4-4 tie. The remainder of the period featured safe plays from both sides as neither team wanted to make the pivotal mistake. Regulation came to an end and the teams headed back to the locker rooms slated for a sudden-death overtime.

Sudden death overtime. Perhaps the most exhiliarating fixture in all of sports. One shot and game over. Add to it the stakes of a league championship and we were in for a storybook ending. The overtime period began with TCNJ applying heavy pressure in the offensive zone. Turk smothered several shots up high to deny rebound chances. A neutral ice turnover gave TCNJ a 2-on-1 and a prime chance at victory. The forward came in with speed checked for pass, then ripped a wrist shot that sailed just over the crossbar. After several high-flying shifts that failed to produce a goal, the line of Kelly, Bennett, and Kuenne took the ice. A chip-out in the D-zone sent the puck to neutral ice. Bennett picked up a pass breaking along the wing. Carrying the puck on his forehand, he cut to the net. His initial shot attempt was turned aside, but Bennett was persistent. Getting his stick on it a second time, he jammed the puck over the goal line, emptying the Princeton bench as all the players piled on Bennett in celebration. After losing 4-5 in overtime almost exactly two years ago to TCNJ in the league semifinal, this win was all the sweeter. Captain Matt Kelly accepted the Playoff Champion trophy and Bennett was awarded tournament MVP, having notched 4 goals and 2 assists in the two playoff games. By virtue of the victory, the Tigers earned a spot in the ACHA D2 Southeast Regional Tournament next weekend in Dale City Virginia, where they will face off against top-ranked teams in the country. This is the first league championship for the Tigers since the 2004-2005 season when they upset Wagner College for the MACHA title. After a 2014-2015 campaign that often featured an 8-skater Princeton roster, it's unlikely that anyone expected the Tigers to bounce back in this fashion. The victory was fitting ending to a great season.

4-Goal Second Period Lifts Tigers to Championship Game

Posted by Graham Turk on February 20, 2016

It was a rematch of last weekend as the Princeton Tigers took on the Millersville Maurauders in the second CSCHC semifinal game, this time at Ice Line. Millersville had beaten West Chester to advance to the semis. It was a heated start to the game as Princeton put heavy pressure on the opposition. Despite several scoring chances, the Tigers were unable to solve the Millersville netminder, who came up with several big saves to keep it 0-0. 8 minutes into the period, a big hit in open ice resulted in a lengthy Millersville possession in the Tiger end. After working it around the perimeter, a Mauarauder forward fed an open man in front of the net. He patiently waited, then roofed the puck over Graham Turk's shoulder for the important first goal. But Princeton was not discouraged. Just two minutes later, after setting the puck up in the O-zone, a shot came from the point. Traffic in front resulted in a scramble and the puck found Captain Matt Kelly's stick who buried it into the net. Energized by the tying goal, Princeton played with a jump for the remainder of the period. A few mad scrambles in front almost yielded a Tiger lead, but the score remained knotted as the teams went to their locker rooms, due in large part to stellar Millersville goaltending.

After strong Princeton pressure late in the first frame, Millersville came out flying. In the opening minute, a pass came to the front of the Tiger net after a strong offensive shift by Millersville. The Maurauder forward in front found the puck, and issued a turn-around wrist shot into the bottom corner of the net, seizing momentum and the 2-1 lead. Yet again, Princeton remained focused after surrendering a goal. Just over two minutes later, the Tiger's all-junior line carrried it through the neutral zone. Alex Vukasin went wide with the puck. Looking shot, he delivered a perfect tape-to-tape pass to Ben Sorkin on the back door, who converted for his 14th of the season. A penalty shortly after the ensuing faceoff put the Tigers on the powerplay. 30 seconds into the man advantage, Connor Grogan gained the zone with speed and dropped it off to Dennis Guo. Guo hit Drew Bennett, on the way to the net. Bennett deked, found twine, and selected his go-to Patrick Kane celebraton to give the Tigers their first lead of the game. The Tigers played some strong defensive hockey in the middle of the period. Ultimately surrendering just 4 more shots in the period, the defensive core was textbook on clearing the front of the net and blocking shots. Forwards Patrick Hompe, Andrew Zhou, and David Crane were monsters on the forecheck, throwing the body around liberally to prevent zone entries. With just over 5 minutes remaining in the period, a Millersville forward hit Mac Hugin from behind, giving the Tigers a 5-minute powerplay. It didn't take Princeton long to capitalize - 20 seconds in Connor Grogan played it to Peter Kuenne in front. After getting denied on the initial shot attempt, Kuenne willed it over the goal line on a gritty second-effort goal. A delay of game on the ensuing faceoff put the Tigers up 5 on 3. This time it took even less time to convert. Setting up at the blue line, Dennis Guo slid the puck to Bennett, who fired a rocket one-timer off the crossbar and in. Princeton was unable to widen the lead in the remaining PP time and carried a 5-2 lead into the third.

Princeton knew to expect a strong push from Millersville at the start of the period. The Tigers played a smart game, chipping pucks out of the zone and dumping it deep into the opposition's end. Defensemen Ryan Gizzie, Christian Bischoff, and Hannah Sorkin prevented Millersville forwards from getting to quality scoring areas. Princeton withstood the initial surge and the clock wound down to 10 minutes. However, a turnover in the defensive end gave a Millersville forward a chance from the front of the net. He took a wrist shot and squeaked between Turk's arm and body to find the back of the net. The goal gave the Millersville bench and fans a major jolt and a Princeton penalty in the next minute gave Millersville a great chance at cutting the deficit to one. Antoine Crepin-Heroux led the PK unit with several key break-ups at the blue line. Guo and Gizzie sacrificed the body to block shots. The penalty came to a close but Millersville was just getting started. The final 6 minutes of the game featured a deluge of Maurauder pressure. The puck was frequently in the Tiger's end, forcing them to call a timeout to settle down. As the pressure continued, Mac Hugin commanded the defensive effort, sending it high and out of the zone whenever the puck touched his stick. Turk was busy, forced to turn aside 15 shots in the period from all angles. Millersville pulled the goalie in the last minute, but the Tigers managed to hold on for the 5-3 win, earning a spot in the finals against TCNJ tomorrow at Ice Line.

Princeton Secures First Round Playoff Bye with 6-2 Win Over Millersville

Posted by Graham Turk on February 12, 2016

In its last regular season game of the 2015-2016 campaign, Princeton travelled to Lancaster, PA to face off against Millersville. Both teams could clinch a first round playoffs bye with a win. An aggressive theme emerged from the drop of the puck. Drew Bennett drew an early tripping penalty carrying the puck up ice and let the Tigers go to work on the powerplay. Patiently working it around the perimeter, Princeton moved the puck to Alex Vukasin. He cut below the goal line then fed Ben Sorkin in the slot. After a slight head fake, Sorkin roofed it top shelf past a screened goaltender, a true beauty, for the 1-0 lead. Both teams showcased their high powered offenses for the remainder of the period. Millersville generated several scoring changes in close, but Graham Turk shut the door. The Tigers killed off back to back penalties late in the period with cluth shot blocking and sound positioning. The teams combined for 26 shots in the first frame, yet the score stood at 1-0 when the buzzer sounded.

The Maurauders turned up the heat in the start of the second. The Tigers defense faced heavy pressure early on, but kept the opposition to the perimteter. On the offensive side, Princeton was unable to convert on several odd man rushes broken up by the Millersville defense. Midway through the period Millersville set up behind the Tigers net. A slick pass was issued to the front of the net and promptly ohe-timed in to tie up the game. Just three minutes later, a turnover in the neutral zone resulted in a Millersville odd man rush. The puck slid over to the winger who surprised Turk with a backhand that beat him glove side. Just like that the Tigers were down 1-2. Millersville pressed hard for the insurance goal - the Tiger defensive effort was up to the challenge, clearing the front of the net to let Turk see pucks. As the period neared the two minute mark, Peter Kuenne picked up the puck in the defensive zone. Sprinting through the neutral zone he earned a two-on-one with linemate Drew Bennett. Looking pass the whole way, he fooled the goaltender with a short side snapper that sailed past the blocker into the net. And boom, 2-2 game going into the third - this is when heroes are born.

The third period opened with tight defensive play. Neither side wanted to make a mistake that might lead to the all-important tie breaking goal. This brand of play continued for the first 8 minutes. Then the Sorkin-Vukasin-Crepin-Heroux line took the ice. Cycling the puck down low, eventually Vukasin emerged with it and sent a low shot towards the net. The goaltender got a pad on it but the rebound came right back. In the blink of an eye, Antoine Crepin-Heroux charged to the rebound and one-timed it over the goalie's pad and into the net, sending the Princeton bench into raucous celebration. The scorer attempted a Patrick Kane celebration behind the net but lost his balance and looked silly. Millersville made a desperate push to knot the score in the ensuing minutes. After a prolonged period in the defensive end, Alex Vukasin emerged with the puck and a head of steam. Carrying it into the offensive zone, he found Drew Bennett trailing for support. Bennett picked up his head as he took it to the net and fed a perfect pass to the cutting Peter Kuenne who buried it with authority for his second goal of the contest. With 8 minutes left, the game was far from over. Millersville swarmed Princeton and peppered Turk with shots, but a penalty at the 6-minute mark broke the surge. After an unsuccessful power-play attempt, the Tigers went back into lock-down mode for the remainder of the game. With just over 1:30 remaining, Millersville pulled its goalie for the extra attacker. Sorkin fought off several defenders to emerge with the puck at his own blue line, then fed his linemate Vukasin who calmly deposited it into the empty net. Sorkin tacked on another in the closing seconds on a rebound from Drew Bennett for the 6th Tiger goal of the evening. With the victory, the Tigers clinched a first round bye in the CSCHC playoffs next weekend. They play Saturday against the lowest remaining seed at Ice Line in West Chester, PA.

Captain Kelly Leads Tigers To Senior Night Victory

Posted by Graham Turk on January 17, 2016

The Tigers squared off against NJIT for their first game in 2016. Before the puck drop, the team honored its two seniors, Kevin Lopez and Captain Matt Kelly, in their last game at Baker Rink. Evidently Princeton was inspired by occasion. In the fourth minute, the Junior line struck twice within 35 seconds. First Alex Vukasin popped in a rebound goal in front of the net. On the same shift, Ben Sorkin picked up the puck in the slot and rifled a wrist shot past the NJIT goalie. Crepin-Heroux assisted on both goals. Princeton kept the pressure on but the score remained 2-0 for the majority of the period. At the 5-minute mark, the Bennett-Kelly-Grogan line established possession in the O-zone. After a determined effort by Grogan to win the puck in the corner, he threw it to the front of the net. Matt Kelly was in perfect position and slammed the rebound under the goaltender. A member of the crowd shouted "Last goal at Baker" but Kelly would ultimately prove that wrong. NJIT was awarded a power play on an interference call. Despite a strong PK effort early on, NJIT eventually worked it to the point and the defenseman blasted one threw a screen into the back of the net. It looked like the momentum was turning in NJIT's favor as the period came to a close when Drew Bennett took the ice. He took the puck wide and sent it to the net, which got threw traffic to find twine.

The first half of the second period was a goaltending clinic. Coleman Merchant was sensational, coming up with big save after big save to sustain the three goal lead. Princeton had several great scoring chances but couldn't convert. As the period wound down, an NJIT defenseman flipped it high out the defensive end into the neutral zone. Caught by surprise, the Tiger defense couldn't beat a streaking NJIT forward to the puck, who picked it up with speed, drove to the net, deked Merchant and slid it over the goal line. At 4-2, NJIT was right back in the game. But just one minute later Drew Bennett gained possession in the neutral zone. He pulled a textbook toe-drag to beat one defender then issued a no-look pass to Matt Kelly in front of the net, who redirected the pass into the corner of the net for his second goal of the game, proving the heckler wrong. Another Princeton penalty gave the Highlanders a chance to once again cut the lead to two. Courageous shot blocking by Andrew Zhou kept the puck away from the net early in the powerplay. The puck eventually worked its way to the neutral zone. Sorkin picked it up and took it wide into the zone. Seeing two NJIT defenders coming his way, he stopped on a dime, split them while cutting across the middle of the ice, and shot across his body into the bottom right corner for an absolute beauty of a goal.

In the third period the Tigers shut down the NJIT attack with tough defense by Dennis Guo and Hannah Sorkin. Forwards Matt McKinlay and David Crane were all over the ice, hounding the opposing defensemen and making it hard for them to move the puck. Merchant was perfect in the period and Bennett tacked on another goal to make it a 7-2 final. In the assist department, Connor Grogan finished with 3 and Ryan Gizzie with 2. Merchant made 28 saves for his third win of the season. Fittingly, Matt Kelly was awarded the player of the game award in his last home game as a Tiger. The team has two weeks off for the academic intersession. They play next on 2/12 on the road against Millersville for the last regular season game.

Tigers Close Out 2015 With a Bang

Posted by Graham Turk on December 11, 2015

Princeton travelled east to Jersey Shore Arena to take on league leader Monmouth University. It was the Tigers' last game of 2015, and they determined to close it out on a high note. The first few minutes featured fast-paced action with a bevy of fast breaks, rushes, and hits. Though both teams had scoring chances, it wasn't until the 10 minute mark that someone broke the scoreless tie. Drew Bennnet hit Alex Vukasin in motion with a crisp pass. Vukasin took the puck wide and looked toward the net. Sneaking behind the defense was Mac Hugin, activating on his turbo jets; Vukasin rifled it across the ice to Hugin who willed it into the net for the 1-0 lead. The Tigers came close to widening their lead several times in the following minutes, but couldn't find the back of the net. Then, with 30 seconds left, Monmouth scored on a rebound goal in front to knot the score. It looked like the teams were heading to the locker rooms in a 1-1 tie. The line of Sorkin, Vukasin, and Crepin-Heroux had other plans. They raced into the zone after the faceoff and gained control of the puck. After two shot attempts, Crepin-Heroux picked up the puck on the goal line and threw it at the net. The puck deflected off something and found its way in for a dramatic goal at the 3-second mark.

Princeton knew it had to survive a Monmouth surge at the beginning of the second. The Tigers handled the pressure well; Matt McKinlay and the forwards applied heavy pressure in the neutral zone and the defensive core prevented the Hawks from generating high quality scoring chances, highlighted by textbook 1-on-1 shitdowns by Ryan Gizzie and Deniis Guo. At the 12 minute mark, the Tigers broke through for the all-important insurance goal. David Crane won the puck in the defensive zone and chipped it to his linemate Andrew Zhou. Zhou fed Patrick Hompe who came in on a two-on-one, looked pass, then ripped it through the goaltender's legs. Princeton followed that up with two goals from Connor Grogan (on a beautiful pass from Drew Bennett) and Antoine Crepin-Heroux. The Tigers killed off a key penalty in the closing minutes, helped in large part by courageous shot blocking by forwards Andrew Zhou and Patrick Hompe.

Princeton stayed strong in the third period, tacking on two more goals in the early parts. Crepin-Heroux scored on gorgeous low wrist shot for his hat trick. Then Drew Bennett found the back of the net on a pass from Crane. Defensemen Hannah Sorkin and Christian Bischoff commanded a penalty kill to keep the Hawks to one. With 4 minutes left, the Tigers were back on the power play. After moving the puck around, a scramble in front left Ben Sorkin in the slot with the puck on his stick. He snapped a howitzer into the top corner to make it 8-1 Princeton, and that's how it stayed. The Tigers close out 2015 in third place in the CSCHC with a 7-3-1 league record. They have off for the winter break. The team will be back at Baker Rink on January 16th for a date with NJIT.

Shorthanded Tigers Battle Valiantly Against Army

Posted by Graham Turk on December 5, 2015

Princeton took on Army West Point Saturday night in a rematch of last season's opener. The Tigers had a squad of 8 skaters, including one unnamed player who forgot his hockey bag on campus and another one who broke a blade and was forced to play with two different skates. It was the Battle of Thermopylae for Princeton, facing a tough Army squad. Despite these setbacks, the Tigers put forth an incredible effort in a 2-5 loss. They skated with their opponents all night, holding the Black Knights to 4 goals. Scoring from Princeton came from Alex Vukasin on a beautiful one-timer and Drew Bennett, who cleaned up the rebound off a great play by Christain Bischoff in front. This came after Bischoff was cut down by the West Point goalie's pad on a breakaway effort. On the defensive end, freshman goalie Coleman Merchant was outstanding, finishing with 53 saves (and two penalty minutes). Gritty play from Antoine Crepin-Heroux and Peter Kuenne put pressure on the West Point defense all game. Ryan Gizzie, Mac Hugin, and Dennis Guo held the fort down for the Tigers, all playing seriously extended minutes.

Gritty Team Effort Lifts Tigers Over West Chester

Posted by Graham Turk on December 4, 2015

Princeton was back in action for the first time since Thanksgiving. They made the trip south to take on West Chester University at Ice Line. Plagued with injuries, the Tigers had only 11 skaters. Despite their low numbers, the Princeton pressured West Chester from the opening drop of the puck, led by a ferocious Peter Kuenne. The period was characterized by many stoppages; both teams put a fair number of shots on goal but were unable to get to the rebounds. The Tigers played a sound defensive game, led by Ryan Gizzie and Hannah Sorkin, moving the puck well in their own end on breakouts.

West Chester came out strong to start the second period. On the second shift, they gained control under the Tiger goalline. A pass squeaked through to the front of the net where the Golden Rams forward pulled it to his forehand and finished it top shelf. Princeton were sparked by the goal against and tightened up defensively. Just two minutes later Ben Sorkin carried the puck over the blue line, hesitated, then snapped a shot that caught the goalie by surprise and found the back of the net: 1-1. Back and forth play ensued after the tying goal. The teams were knotted at one when a West Chester shot came from the point. A deflection in front changed the shot's direction, but Graham Turk made a last second adjustment to squeeze the pads together for the save. Mac Hugin picked up the rebound and dished it to Antoine Crepin-Heroux, who fed Drew Bennett, who bid his time then hit Crepin-Heroux on the back door for a bang-bang goal: 2-1 Tigers. Princeton held off the West Chester attack for the rest of the period to carry a 2-1 lead into the third period.

Princeton was unable to cash in on an early power play. They played a disciplined game in the following minutes, limiting the Golden Rams to outside shots. At the 12-minute mark the Tigers earned another power play. This man advantage was quite different. The Tigers won the faceoff. Alex Vukasin feathered a pass to Mac Hugin who teed off on a one-timer. The puck was ticketed for the goaltender's glove until Antoine Crepin-Heroux tipped it perfectly over the glove and into the net for the all-important insurance goal. West Chester was fired up to get back into the game. But on the very next play Dennis Guo, playing a rare shift at forward, raced into the zone like an aggravated dragon. He muscled the defenseman to win the puck, then fed Alex Vukasin. Vukasin went for the wrap-around and tucked it between pad and the post for the fourth Tiger goal. West Chester called a time out to compose themselves. After the timeout they stepped up their game and were all over the Tigers in the offensive zone. Although the Tigers withheld the initial surge, West Chester had another long shift in the o-zone and converted on a screened shot from the top of the circle. Down just 2 goals, West Chester was operating with all cylinders firing. For a few shifts they dominated the Tigers and threw everything at the net. But the Tiger defensive effort, highlighted by key blocked shots from Matt McKinlay and great net-front presence by Ryan Gizzie, kept the Golden Rams to 2. West Chester pulled the goalie for one last effort. After fending off an attack, Drew Bennett threw the puck from his own blue line all the way down the ice into the empty net to seal the deal. It was a huge win for the Tigers, who travel north to Newburgh for a date with West Point tomorrow night.

Tiger Offense Explodes in 16-2 Win

Posted by Graham Turk on November 22, 2015

In its only game of the weekend Princeton made the short trip north to Seton Hall. The Tigers, kennly aware of their tendency to start slowly, made a strong effort to jump on the Pirates early. Just 50 seconds into the game Drew Bennett finessed the puck around the opposing goaltender and slid it into the net. Princeton struck again after a period of even play when Patrick Hompe sent a wrist shot past the goaltender. Back to back goals by Bennett and Hompe at the end of the frame increased the Tiger lead to 4. Seton Hall got on the board in the closing minute to make it 4-1.

The Tigers wasted no time in the second period. On the man advantage, Mac Hugin let go a scorcher from the point that found the top left corner. After a few spectacular saves by Kevin Lopez in net, the Tigers poured in 3 more goals by Kelly and Vukasin (2) with some beautiful assist work by Ben Sorkin and Ryan Gizzie. The Tigers wouldn't let up, sealing off the defensive zone led by Christian Bischoff and the Princeton defense. Goals by Crepin-Heroux, Kuenne, Crane (on a great pass from Zhou), and Bennett (for his hat trick) widened the lead to 12 going into the final period.

Princeton continued its strong play in the third with more key saves by Kevin Lopez. Hompe got on the board for a hat trick, followed by Guo for his first of the year. Seton Hall scored a pretty breakaway goal. In the next minute, however, Gizzie put in a rebound in front and then, with a minute left Bennett got his fourth of the evening. The Tigers are off for the Thanksgiving weekend. They travel to Ice Line to battle West Chester on December 4th.

Princeton Can't Erase Early Deficit

Posted by Graham Turk on November 14, 2015

The Tigers opened the second half of the season with a crosstown battle against TCNJ: Tigers vs. Lions (vs. Bears, oh my). In their previous meeting, the Tigers came back from an early 0-2 hole to win 5-3 at Baker. After the Fall-break layoff, Princeton looked a bit rusty from the drop of the puck. TCNJ generated some high-quality scoring chances in the opening minutes but were unable to capitalize. It wasn't until a Tiger powerplay that the Lions cashed in. A TCNJ forward won the puck behind the net and fed his teammate alone in front of the net, who one-timed it home. TCNJ then went on a powerplay of its own. A stray shot from the point deflected off a forward in front of the net and wound up over the goal line. The Tigers regrouped with a timeout. However, another penalty in the ensuing shift put them a man down. A second penalty gave the TCNJ a lengthy 5-3. After killing off the first minute, the TCNJ power play unit took charge. The puck moved around the perimeter of the zone, then found a forward at the hashmarks. He took a shot through a heavy screen that found twine. The period ended with TCNJ holding a commanding 3-0 lead.

Princeton came out much stronger in the second period. After surrendering an early 2-1 that goaltender Graham Turk dealt with handily, the Princeton defense sured up and held the Lion offense to shots from the outside. The Tigers spent much of the period in the offensive end, but couldn't quite solve the TCNJ goaltender. After killing off a key penalty, Antoine Crepin-Heroux took the puck up ice. Using the defenseman as screen, he offered a rising snap shot on net. The goalie picked it up late and was unable to get a hand on it, getting Princeton on the board before the end of the frame.

The third period began with the Tigers hungry to score. The scoring chances came, but the Tigers couldn't net another. Then, midway through the period, Antoine Crepin-Heroux took a shot in motion low glove side. It caught the goalie offguard and squeaked through the equipment to cross the goal line: 3-2. With just under 8 minutes left, the Tigers had plenty of time to tie it up. Princeton peppered the goaltender with a barage of shots, coming within inches of scoring several times. TCNJ was on the defensive for the rest of the period and sacrificed the body to block shots. As the clock wound down, Princeton pulled the goalie for the extra attacker. The scoring chances proved fruitless and TCNJ tacked on an empty net goal as time expired to seal the deal with a 4-2 victory. The Tigers look to bounce back from the loss next weekend against Seton Hall.

Princeton Puts Up 6 In Victory

Posted by Graham Turk on October 16, 2015

The Tigers closed out the first half of their season with a home matchup against Seton Hall. Princeton came out to play, putting an eventual 22 shots on net in the period. It wasn't until late in the period that there was scoreboard evidence of the strong play. Christian Bischoff fired the puck on net. Antoine Crepin-Heroux found the puck amidst the flurry and tapped it in for his 8th of the season. The Tigers took their one goal lead into the locker room.

The first three minutes of the second period were a wild bunch. Still in the first minute, Matt Kelly willed his way to the front of the net from the corner. Muscling past the defense he put a shot on target then won the battle to the rebound and finished it off for an incredible individual effort goal. Just 20 seconds later, Alex Vukasin threw a puck on net from the side boards that somehow squaked over the goal line. This time, lightning didn't strike just twice but three times. Peter Kuenne converted on a pretty pass from Antoine Crepin-Heroux to make it 4-0. The Tigers stayed strong on defense after building the lead. Great backchecking by the forwards, highlighted by David Crane's efforts, coupled with sharp goaltending by Coleman Merchant kept the score where it was. With just under 4 minutes remaining, Dennis Guo cleared the puck up the boards. David Crane settled it and carried it into the zone with his head up. He issues a perfect pass to a streaking Andrew Zhou in the slot. Zhou brought it back and ripped a shot over the goalie's glove for the 5th Tiger goal.

Princeton struck again early in the third - Alex Vukasin took a pass from John Marshall and beat the goalie on a snap shot. Seton Hall spoiled Merchant's shutout bid on a power play, but the Tigers kept the Pirates to 1 goal and the game ended with the scoreboard showing 6-1. The Tigers improved to 8-4-1 overall in their last 2015 game at Baker. They have 2 weekends off for the fall break before their date with TCNJ at Louckes Arena.

Tigers Withstand Late Surge To Down Penn 4-3

Posted by Graham Turk on October 16, 2015

Princeton travelled to Philadelphia to take on Penn at the Class of 1923 Arena - an always-hostile environment for the away team. Energized by a big crowd, Penn came out with a purpose. They zipped around in the offensive zone, applying a heavy forecheck and generating several chances from the slot. A few key shot blocks, one by Patrick Hompe, and solid goaltending by Graham Turk kept Penn off the board and the crowd quiet. Princeton struggled to get something going, kept to the outside in the O-zone for most of the period. However, with just over two minutes remaining, the Tigers took over in the Penn end. The puck eventually came to Christian Bischoff at the point, who took a shot that got through traffic. Drew Bennnett was there on the doorstep to clean up the rebound for his team-high 12th goal of the season. And just like that Princeton was up 1-0 going into the second.

Princeton slowed down the pace in the second period to stifle the Penn attack. The Princeton defense was impennetrable on odd man rushes, using aggressive stick and body checks to keep the Quaker forwards away from the front of the net. With 9 minutes remaining, Mac Hugin made a remarkable stop on a 1-on-1. He fired the puck down for what seemed to be an icing, but Drew Bennett was off to the races to beat it out. He overtook the chasing Penn defenseman at the blue line and got to the puck. Bennett threw the puck in front of the net, where a trailing Alex Vukasin passed to Ben Sorkin, who slid it over the goal line for thegoal. After Turk came up with a big 2-on-1 save, the Tigers maintained their strong play on defense with the 2-0 lead. Late in the period, a turnover left nothing between Antoine Crepin-Heroux and the Penn netminder. The junior forward took a few strides in, acquired a lock on his target, and whipped a wrist shot into the net for the third Princeton goal of the game.

Princeton expected an early-period surge from Penn in an effort to climb back into the game. The Tigers matched the intensity from the drop of the puck, and on the second shift of the period cashed in. Crepin-Heroux found the puck behind the net. Circling around, he issued a perfect pass to Matt Kelly on the back door, who one-timed it in: 4-0 Tigers. But just 4 minutes later, Penn responded to finally get on the board. A 2-on-1 developed for the Quakers. The puck-carrier forced Turk to commit and then slid it across to his teammate in front of the net who got a stick on it to put it in. The Tigers sured up their defense after that for the middle of the period. A Penn penalty put the TIgers a man up. Princeton held the puck for most of the power play. Just when it seemed like the game was iced, a turnover at the blue line gave Penn a breakaway, which the Quaker penalty killer converted on a quick wrist shot glove high with just 2 minutes left. Penn fed off the crowd's energy and again regained possession in the zone. A shot from the point deflected off a man in front and ended in the net, but the official determined the Penn forward had punched the puck and immediately called it off. Penn pulled its goalie with one minute remaining. Again it looked like the score was sealed, but a rebound on a shot from the point came to an unmanned Penn forward who put it in to make it 4-3. Unfortunately for those with a penchant for the dramatic, that was as close as Penn got. The Tigers didn't let the opposition get anywhere near the goal for the remaining 30 seconds and celebrated a hard-fought road win to get to 4-2-1 in CSCHC league play. The Tigers close out the weekend tomorrow night at home against Seton Hall.

Princeton Rounds Out Weekend with 2 Overtime Clashes

Posted by Graham Turk on October 18, 2015

To wrap up the weekend, both the Saturday and Sunday games required overtime. Saturday Princeton battled hard against reigning league champion West Chester. After a mid-first period score by Ben Sorkin, the Golden Rams countered with a power play goal. West Chester took the lead on another power play tally in the second, but Antoine Crepin-Heroux erased their lead with a quick wrist shot from the slot. West Chester took back control with yet another goal on the man advantage. The Tigers looked hungry from the drop of the puck in the third. At the 14-minute mark, the Tigers founf themselves with a power play of their own. Setting up in the zone, Antoine Crepin-Heroux issued a perfect pass to Alex Vukasin, who one-timed it past the goaltender. The rest of the 3rd period was filled with high-flying action. There were odd-man rushes and chances galore, but neither side could net the game winner. The 4-on-4 overtime period had a lot of the same style of play. In the closing seconds, Tiger netminder Coleman Merchant came up with an enormous save to preserve the tie.

On Sunday, the Tigers travelled to play St. Joe's. This one also required overtime, but this time it was all over in the blink of an eye. Sophomore Matt McKinlay shoveled the puck forward on the faceoff. Alex Vukasin swooped in and was off to the races past the defensemen. He made no mistake at the net, beating the goaltender to score just 15 seconds into the extra period to give Princeton a huge 4-3 OT win. Senior goaltender Kevin Lopez was stellar between the pipes to earn his first win of the season. Below are some postgame interviews on the bus ride back to campus.

Winning goaltender Kevin Lopez on his hot glove hand after the 4-3 OT victory.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Sunday, October 18, 2015

The fashionable Christian Bischoff explains his one-of-a-kind style.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Sunday, October 18, 2015

The overtime hero himself: Alex Vukasin offers insights into his game winning goal against St. Joe's.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tigers Outdueled by Millersville

Posted by Graham Turk on October 16, 2015

The Tigers looked to bounce back from the loss to Rutgers in a CSCHC battle against Millersville. Princeton came out with a purpose, establishing a strong forecheck and preventing the Marauders from getting to the net. Several odd man rushes proved fruitless; despite the strong start, the Tigers could not get on the board. Midway through the period a Millersville forward gained the zone and cut through the slot. He brought it to his backhand and took a quit shot across his body that surprised Graham Turk and ended in the back of the net: 1-0 Millersville. The Tigers fought to get back in the game but again were stifled by strong Millersville goaltending. Late in the period, a long shift in the Tiger zone resulted in a scramble in front of the net. The puck deflected off a Princeton body and landed on the stick on a Millerville forward, who buried the puck into an empty net. The Tigers were down 0-2 after the unfortunate bounce. It looked like it would stay that way for the rest of the period until Alex Vukasin made a charge through the neutral zone, across the front of the net, and roofed a backhand top shelf to make it 1-2.

Millersville stepped up its play in the second period. The developed a strong break out with passes up the middle of the ice to slice through the Princeton forecheck. Turk denied several odd man rushes including a breakaway with a wicked glove save. Princeton struggled to put pucks on net in a few 2-on-1 chances. In the defensive end, Millersville was able to hold the puck for minutes at a time and offered 13 shots total to Princeton's 6. Princeton forwards, highlighted by the strong play of Matt McKinlay and Peter Kuenne, battled to get pucks out and block shots.

The Tigers were in a familiar position down a goal going into the period. In the first 5 minutes it looked like they might tie it up. But several key saves by the Millersville netminder held the score at 1-2. Princeton then killed off consecutive penalties with gritty efforts from the Princeton defenseen. The middle of the period went back and forth between the teams as the score remained deadlocked. Freshman Ryan Gizzie, playing with the flu, was stellar on defense, breaking up numerous odd man rushes. At the 5 minute mark, Princeton went down a man. It didn't take Millersville long to capitalize; after winning the faceoff, a Marauder passed it to a teammate in front of the net, who one-timed it in for the 3-1 lead. Princeton made one last desperate push to score but couldn't catch a break in the O-zone and fell 1-3. They play tomorrow night against West Chester hoping to get back in the win column.

Princeton Comes Up Short Against Rutgers

Posted by Graham Turk on October 10, 2015

Princeton faced Rutgers in its second game of the weekend. The first period was packed with tight neutral zone play. There were only 14 combined shots in the period, but both goalies, Kevin Lopez in net for Princeton, had to be sharp. Lopez shut the door on several Rutgers chances, helping to kill off 2 penalties. The opening minutes of the second period had more of the same style of play. There wasn't much room for either team to work with as both teams played physically. At the 15 minute mark, Princeton went down a man for a slashing penalty. Midway through the man advantage, a Rutgers forward retrieved the puck in the zone and saucered it through the slot. A Scarlet Knight forward one-timed the puck into the net to finally break the tie. Princeton fought to regain momentum and went on the offensive. Despite registering 19 shots in the period, they were unable to put one past the Rutgers netminder. Just as the period was winding down, a turnover at the blue line resulted in a Rutgers break-away. The forward deked right, left, and scored before the buzzer sounded for the all-important insurance goal.

The Tigers, familiar with overcoming third period deficits, came out determined to repeat history. However a quick Rugers goal (just 30 seconds in) quelled their energy and put them in an 0-3 hole. But Princeton was not done yet. At 15 minutes, Drew Bennett picked up a Peter Kuenne pass and drove to the net. He pulled one of his signature dekes and buried the goal to cut the deficit to 2. Then, at 10 minutes, Antoine Crepin-Heroux crossed the opposing blue line and snapped a shot. The puck was deflected high into the air and somehow went over the goalie's head and into the net. At 2-3, the Tigers were hungry for the tying goal. They pressed on the forecheck and earned several odd-man rush chances, but couldn't cash in. A few huge saves by Kevin Lopez kept the score where it stood. At 2:45 left in the period, the Tigers were given a powerplay on a tripping penalty. Setting up in the zone, they were kept to the perimeter and unable to get pucks to the net. With Lopez pulled for the extra attacker, the Tigers made one last push for the tie, but the Rutgers defense closed the door to hold on. It was a valiant comeback effort despite the disappointing result. Princeton looks to learn from the loss next when they face Millersville on Friday night.

Tiger Score 3 Unanswered to Oust Monmouth

Posted by Graham Turk on October 9, 2015

Princeton took the stage against new league member Monmouth on Friday night at Baker. The Tigers looked sharp in the opening minutes, and their efforts were rewarded at the 14-minute mark. Drew Bennett took a pass from Alex Vukasin and cut to the net. After waiting out the goalie he chipped the puck into an empty net. The rest of the period underscored the importance of special teams at the college level. Princeton took 3 penalties, which were all converted into Monmouth power play goals. The first came at the 11 minute mark - a rebound in front deflected off a Monmouth stick into the net. The second resulted from a huge scramble in front of the net. And the third came on a back door put-in. Despite playing well at even-strength, Princeton faced a 2 goal deficit at the end of the eriod.

Monmouth came out strong in the second period. They had long stretches of puck possession in the offensive zone, offering an eventual total of 14 shots on the period. The Hawks also had several prime scoring opportunities on odd-man rushes. However, the Tiger defense and goaltending, with Graham Turk in net, kept the opposition from registering a tally. Turk made several key saves on shots from in close. At the end of ther period, after Princeton had fended off a surge, Drew Bennett picked up the puck in the neutral zone and slid it across to Peter Kuenne. Kuenne took two strides, then wound up from far and blasted a slap shot past the Monmouth netminder to cut the deficit in half heading into the third.

Princeton did a much better job defensively to open the third. They kept Monmouth away from the net area and began to generate some quality chances. However they were unable to put one past the Monmouth goaltender. The clock ticked off valuable minutes. The Tigers were unable to convert on back to back power plays and it seemed like they would come up short this time. Then, with just under 6 minutes remaining, Drew Bennett picked up a pass while in motion from Patrick Hompe. He bead the defender wide with speed, then dragged it from his backhand to his forehand to fool the goaltender and net the all-important tying goal. Bennett wasn't finished. On his next shift, now with 3 minutes remaining, he entered the zone with speed. First bringing it to his forehand, he whipped a wrist shot over the goaltender's glove for the 4-3 lead. After a Monmouth timeout, the Tigers took a penalty in the offensive zone. With so much previous sucess on the man advantage it was Monmouth's golden opportunity to tie up the score. But superb penalty killing by the Tigers, especially John Marshall, shut down the PP as the clock wound down to 30 seconds. After one last faceoff win, the Tigers cleared it for good to close out the Hawks in dramatic fashion. The Tigers improve to 3-1 in league play and 5-2 overall. Junior goaltender Graham Turk finished with 41 saves for his 4th win of the season.

Tigers Hold Off NJIT for 5-4 Victory

Posted by Graham Turk on October 4, 2015

Bus interview with freshman defenseman Ryan Gizzie. Gizzie tallied his first goal as a Tiger in a 5-4 win against NJIT last weekend.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Monday, October 12, 2015

Princeton looked to bounce back from a 3-5 loss to Penn as they took on the NJIT Highlanders at the Prudential Center. Princeton, playing with just 7 forwards and 4 defenseman, opened up the game with a bang. Antoine Crepin-Heroux slipped through the opposing defense and found twine with a wicked wrister. Just minutes later it appeared that Princeton had taken a 2-0 lead on a bizarre play but the goal was called off. NJIT took advantage of it the situation and tied up the game shortly thereafter with an odd man rush deflection goal. Princeton shook off the unfortunate bounce and played a strong rest of the period. However, in the closing seconds, a scramble in front of the Princeton net led to another NJIT tally. Down 1-2, the Tigers hoped to retake control entering the locker room.

Princeton wasted no time in the second period. Working from behind the goal line, junior Peter Kuenne fed Matt Kelly in the slot, who banged it in: 2-2. After some back-and-forth hockey, NJIT then went on the powerplay on a tripping penalty. Thwarted for the first minute, the Highlanders finally broke through on a pretty passing play, taking a 3-2 lead. Just one minute later, Drew Bennett warded off two NJIT defenders and flicked it over the goalie's shoulder. An interference penalty on NJIT put Princeton on the powerplay. Princeton gained possession off the faceoff and worked it back to the point. A blocked shot left a loose puck in the slot. Freshman Ryan Gizzie raced in from the point and buried a snap shot under the goalie's arm, silencing the crowd and sending the Princeton bench into a frenzy.

The third period featured a barage of chances for NJIT, as a tired Princeton group left it all on the ice to preserve their lead. Fending off an initial surge, the Tigers picked up the puck in the offensive zone and threw it to the net. A rebound came to the stick of freshman Robert Buline, who willed the puck past the goaltender for the all important insurance goal. Princeton was able to prevent scoring threats in the ensuing minutes. As the period came to a close, NJIT stepped on the gas pedal. The Highlanders entered desparation mode, throwing everything (pucks and bodies) at the net. But stalwart defense by the Hugin-Bischoff and Guo-Gizzie tandems was able to withstand the attack, helped out by an 18-save third period performance by Graham Turk. With 1 minute remaining and an empty net at the other end of the ice, the Tigers called a timeout to catch their breath. They were unable to get the puck out and NJIT cut the lead in half with just 30 seconds left on a rebound goal in front. The Highlanders had one last surge and charged into the zone off the faceoff. But Princeton had the answer, winning two pivotal loose puck battles and one final faceoff to shut the door and emerge victorious. The Tigers improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in league play. They are back in action next Friday night against new league member Monmouth.

Princeton Falls to Wagner 3-6

Posted by Graham Turk on September 27, 2015

On Sunday, Princeton made the short trip north to the Prudential Center to take on Wagner. As a member of a different league, Wagner was an unfamiliar opponent. The Seahawks didn't waste any time to set the tone. In the third minute of the period, they gained possession in the zone and converted an opportunity from in front of the net to take the 1-0 lead. Wagner kept the pressure on and scored again just two minutes later to increase the margin to 2. Princeton settled down after the second goal against and fought back to control play in the second half of the period. Despite several chances, they were unable to get one on the board. In the second period the Tigers finally broke through when Drew Bennett found linemate Patrick Hompe, who snapped a shot past the goaltender. Wagner countered with a goal of its own 30 seconds later to bring the score to 3-1. Late in the period, Princeton found was it was looking for when Peter Kuenne showed persistence in front of the net and jammed the puck over the goal line.

Wagner came out strong in the third period and widened its lead with 2 goals in the opening 5 minutes. Captain Matt Kelly put one in at the 9 minute mark, but it was too little too late for the Tigers, who were dealt their first loss of the season. Princeton hopes to bounce back next weekend with two league games againt Penn and NJIT.

Hugin, Tigers Storm Back to Take Down TCNJ

Posted by Graham Turk on September 26, 2015

Postgame interview with junior defenseman Mac Hugin wearing the "player of the game" accessory after a 5-3 Princeton win over TCNJ.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Friday, September 25, 2015

The Tigers opened up league play against crosstown rival TCNJ. It was an inauspicious start for the Princeton squad, surrendering a goal just 20 seconds after the initial puck drop. TCNJ had gained possession in the zone and set up a man in the slot who burried a snap shot. The Tigers fought hard to swing the momentum back in their favor, but a mid-period goal by TCNJ off a scramble in front put them in an 0-2 hole. As the period neared an end, something clicked for the Tiger side. Picking up a pass from Alex Vukasin, Antoine Crepin-Heroux streaked through the defense and went bar-down to cut the lead to 1-2. The next minute, Drew Bennett found the puck on his stick after an incredible effort by freshman John Marshall to win the puck. Bennett snapped a turn-around shot past the goaltender to tie the game at 2.

Princeton came out in the second period hungry to take control. They set the tone with a strong forecheck and short shifts. At the 16-minute mark their efforts were rewarded when sophomore forward Matt McKinlay muscled the puck over the goal line to take the lead. On the ensuing shift, a Princeton penalty put TCNJ on the mad advantage. After setting the puck up in the zone, a shot from the point was blocked and landed right on the tape of a back door cutter. He lifted the puck over a sprawling Graham Turk to knot the game at 3 apiece. TCNJ capitalized on the momentum shift and dominated play or the rest of the period, holding Princeton to just 4 more shots. But the combined efforts of Graham Turk and the Princeton defense, composed of Bischoff, Gizzie, Guo, and Hugin, prevented further damage on the Tiger side.

The third period began with each team vying for that all-important go-ahead goal. Tight neutral zone play defined the opening minutes and neither team could get much traction in the offensive end. At the 14 minute mark, junior Peter Kuenne broke into full stride to retrieve a dump in. Kuenne stripped the opposing goaltender of the puck below the goal line and wrapped it around into an empty net for the 4-3 lead. A desparate push by TCNJ to score was met with a stiffling Tiger defensive effort and shutdown goaltending by Turk. With 7 minutes left, Hugin picked up the puck behind the net. With the vision of a clairvoyant, he snapped a pass from his own hashmark through the neutral zone to a cutting Drew Bennett. Bennett caught the pass right on the blue line, scorched down the middle of the ice, and deked forehand, backhand to fool the goalie and net his second of the night. With a 2-goal lead, the Tigers turned their focus to defense and gave up nothing in their own end. In the final minutes, TCNJ pulled its goalie to gain the extra attacker. But it was more of the same from the Princeton defensive effort, holding TCNJ off the board. Turk finished with 40 saves for his second win the season as the Tigers improved to 3-0 and 1-0 in league play.

Freshmen Efforts Lift Princeton Over Trinity

Posted by Graham Turk on September 21, 2015

Postgame interview with head coach John Bullis after the victory over Trinity.

Posted by Princeton Club Ice Hockey on Thursday, September 24, 2015

Princeton hit the ice Saturday night to square off against Trinity. The Tiger were unable to cash in on an early penalty but kept the pressure on. Strong goaltender by freshman goalie Coleman Merchant, playing his first game in a Tiger uniform, kept the score knotted at 0. With 6 minutes left in the period, junior forward Alex Vukasin took a pass from Antoine Crepin-Heroux in the zone and burried a wrister to put the home team up 1-0. 3 minutes later, the junior line connected again with a second goal from Vukasin, this time on a feed from Ben Sorkin. A Trinity goal late in the period halved the Princeton lead going into the locker room.

The Tigers went down a man early in the second and Trinity looked to tie it up. After a gritty clear by David Crane, freshman Drew Bennett raced down the ice and beat his brother, a defenseman on Trinity, to the puck, collecting it off the back boards and stuffing it in for the 3-1 lead. Bennett was just getting started. The teams tradeed goals in the next several minutes with Andrew Zhou netting his first of the season off a brilliant shot-pass by Ryan Gizzie. Two ensuing goals by Trinity resulted in a 4-4 draw going into the latter minutes. But goals by Antoine Crepin-Heroux and Peter Kuenne brought the Tigers' lead to 3 after 2 periods.

The third period saw an offensive outburst from the Tiger side. Early goals by Bennett and Sorkin widened the lead, while Merchant stood on his head to hold Trinity to 4. Bennett netted his third of the game for his first hat trick as a Tiger and freshman defenseman Ryan Gizzie picked up his 4th assist of the night. Merchant finished the game with a mesmerizing 47 saves for his first win of the year.

Sorkin Leads Comeback in Season Opener

Posted by Graham Turk on September 18, 2015

The much anticipated 2015-2016 season got underway Friday night at Baker Rink. The Tigers had a date with unfamiliar opponent Saint Joseph's. From the drop of the puck both teams declared with their pace of play that it would be a fast and aggressive game. Chances came for both teams in the opening half of the period but neither side could break the tie. A couple of sprawling saves by the Hawks netminder kept the Tigers off the board. At the 9 minute mark, a neutral zone turnover led to a fast break for St. Joe's. Streaking down the wing, the forward rifled a wrist shot into the bottom corner of the net for the 1-0 lead. Just 1 minute later the Hawks were back on the offensive. A shot came from the bottom of the circle and deflected off goaltender Graham Turk's right shoulder into the air and crossed the goal line. Just like that the Hawks were up 2-0. Despite a vicious Tiger attack, they were unable to pull closer and the period ended with the home team down a pair.

The second period saw a much improved Princeton forecheck. They established a rhythm in the offensive zone and limited the opposition to outside shots. 4 minutes in, the line of Sorkin-Vukasin-Crepin-Heroux made its first mark on the new season. Picking the puck up in the neutral zone, Sorkin beat the defenseman as he crossed the blue line. Staring at the goalie faking the shot, he slid the puck over to Vukasin who faked right, pulled to his backhand, and roofed it into the back of the net. And just like that, the lead was cut in half. The middle of the period was back and forth. The Princeton defense, made up of Hugin, Gizzie, Anderson, and Guo, shut down any hopes of a goal against. The Tigers had an all-important successful penalty kill in the waning minutes of the period and entered the locker room knocking at the door for their second goal.

The majority of the third period was marked by frustration from the home side. A hit goalpost by Hugin and several big saves by the Hawks goalie prevented a 2-2 tie. After an unsuccessful powerplay, the Tigers went down a man with 5 minutes left in the game. Just when it seemed like the Tigers might come up short, the penalty kill pair of Sorkin and Vukasin won the puck in the offensive zone with an agressive forecheck. Working from behind the net, Vukasin slid a pass to Sorkin in the slot who took his signature quick-release snapshot. Before anyone in Baker could blink, the puck was past the goalie, the score tied, and the Tigers holding all momentum. If there was any doubt in the power of a momentum shift, Princeton silenced it just 40 seconds later. After winning the faceoff at center ice, Princeton broke out from its own zone. The puck found its way to Alex Vukasin who carried it over the blue line. Antoine Crepin-Heroux took over at the top of the circle and fed Ben Sorkin. Sorkin worked some magic in front of the net to beat the goalie and take the 3-2 lead. The Princeton bench exploded. St. Joe's came out for the draw hungry to tie up the score. They gained possesion, but the line of Kuenne, Bennett, and Kelly prevented zone entry to perfection. With one minute left, the Tiger attack was back at it. Vukasin carried into the zone and passed to the guy in the rink who seemed to literally be on fire. Ben Sorkin fired a shot into the net to put an exclamation point on the comeback with a hat trick in the span of just 130 seconds. In the time, what might have been a strong losing effort was transformed into a thrilling come from behind victory in the season opener. At 1-0, the Tigers look to carry the momentum into tomorrow night when they face Trinity at Baker Rink.

Princeton Club Hockey Welcomes New Coaches

Posted by Graham Turk on September 14, 2015

The club hockey team welcomes two new coaches for the 2015-2016 season, head coach John Bullis and assistant coach Colin McCollough. John is a full-time Princeton athletic department staff member at with rolls as Assistant Director, Athletics Multimedia and Video Production. He has been playing hockey for 24 years. He played for youth travel teams in his hometown of Dallas and then for the Texas Tornado of the NAHL from '06-'08. He continued his hockey career at Division III Wisconsin-River Falls where he was an All-Conference defenseman. Colin has been a hockey coach for the last 12 years at various levels from house league through Midget Majors. He was president of Nassau Hockey League, which is based out of Princeton Day School, and was responsible for all operations of a 350-player coed hockey league. Colin has two sons who play hockey. His playing experience started on Carnegie lake and local ponds, then the Lawrence Flames, and he helped found a club level hockey team at his alma mater, McDaniel College in Maryland. He plays adult league hockey year round and his favorite team is the Noontime league, here at Baker rink.

The team couldn't be more excited to welcome John and Colin to the Princeton Club Hockey community!