PRINCETON, N.J. – The last time Princeton’s Max Becker played on the same ice as Michigan State’s John Draeger, the pair were winning at championship at Shattuck St. Mary’s.
Becker had made the journey from California, and he was the only sophomore on the team. Draeger, two years older than Becker and a Minnesota native, was a senior and in his second year with the team.
“He was a big role model for me,” Becker said.
After that season, Draeger graduated and left for Michigan State. Becker played one more season at Shattuck before traveling to Canada to play with Salmon Arm of the BCHL.
On Friday night, the two were reunited – on opposite sides.
“It was fun,” Draeger said. “I haven’t seen him in a long time, he’s out in California, so it was great to see him and hopefully talk to him a bit after.”
Neither player recorded a point, although Becker finished with a plus-1 rating – and the win.
“I got a one-on-one against him today,” Becker said. “It was fun, brings back old memories. It was a good time.”
Three years ago, when the two were teammates at Shattuck, Draeger would play pranks on Becker, taking the sophomore’s belongings and hiding them.
“He’s a great kid and it’s nice to take two points from him,” Becker said.
With Becker’s family in town to watch his first collegiate game, the freshman finished on the winning side. In the victory, Becker appeared in his fifth-straight game after being a healthy scratch for three of the first four.
“He was just a really good guy,” Draeger said. “We became good friends and everything. You go into a boarding school, get to know each other pretty well. He was a hardworking guy and he had some success in high school and [he] played really well.”