PRINCETON, N.J. – After a slew of mentally-soft mistakes in a loss to Union on Friday, Princeton coach Ron Fogarty addressed the team about the importance of staying sharp.
On Saturday night, the Tigers (2-14-1, 1-11-0 ECAC) were just that.
But an improved effort wasn’t enough for the Tigers, who fell 5-2 to RPI on Saturday night. Princeton is now on an eight-game losing streak, while the Engineers (7-16-1, 5-6-0 ECAC) snapped their streak of nine-straight losses.
“This is a tough loss,”Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “As we mentioned yesterday, we’re treating weekend series like they’re playoff series and they have to know this could’ve been done.
“We have to go every weekend [like] it’s your last opportunity to advance. That’s why it’s more difficult for these guys right now.”
Despite outshooting the Engineers 18-9 in the first period, Princeton found itself down 3-0 at the end of the frame. Curtis Leonard, Drew Melanson and Chris Bradley all struck within 10 minutes.
“You get down 3-0 and we’re a team that doesn’t score much often. That’s tough to come back [from],” Fogarty said. “Our guys were resilient again [and] their hard work is unparalleled.”
After falling down 3-0, Fogarty pulled Colton Phinney in favor of Ben Halford, but put Phinney back out before play resumed.
“I pulled him, gave him a rest and then called a timeout … I’m not going to take Colton out when it’s not his fault,” Fogarty said. “[It was] just a little strategy. Coaching.”
RPI added a goal in the second and an empty net tally in the third.
“Our lapses tonight were more on trying to attack and we just got a little more zealous,” Fogarty said. “I actually liked our offensive attack tonight, and we were trying to generate goals.”
Phinney finished with 25 saves, while Tom Kroshus netted both goals for Princeton – his first tallies of the season. After being shut out in three straight games, the Tigers have scored twice in their last two contests.
“We can build off [the positives],” Fogarty said. “We can [even] build from the negatives. Everything is still extremely manageable right now.”
Princeton outshot its opponent, finishing with 37 shots to RPI’s 20. Jason Kasdorf made 35 stops.
Princeton will be off for two weeks as the team prepares for finals.
“It’s a good break, the guys are going to have some time to work on their exams, I wish we didn’t have the break right now because I think we’re progressing still. We’re scoring goals, which is the best thing right now.”