PRINCETON, N.J. – After a strong first period, Princeton fell victim to another lapse of focus that doomed the Tigers in the second. Union hemmed Princeton in their own zone for nearly the entire frame, ripping off 35 shots – and scoring twice.
“We started well, we were being smart,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “I thought the penalty that we took on the power play was a soft mental penalty that cost us power play time.
“Then it went extremely downhill from there.”
Ryan Siiro took an interference penalty that negated the power play. Union struck twice in the second and padded their lead in the third, defeating Princeton 5-2 on Friday night.
“That was awful.”
The Tigers (2-13-1, 1-10-0 ECAC) are now on a seven-game losing streak.
“[We were] mentally soft,” Fogarty said. “They had two easy goals, the fourth and fifth, right in the slot, our guys didn’t pick up. A lot of circling and then no sense of urgency from a handful of players.”
After falling down 4-0 in the third, Princeton snapped a 258:42 minute scoreless streak and struck twice in less than two minutes to bring the deficit down to 4-2.
“It’s a product of the game. They’re going to play a little more cautious and give a little more space,” Fogarty said.
“It’s tough to come back, especially against a skilled team, you have to be mentally tough for 60 minutes.”
Daniel Ciampini finished with two goals and an assist, while Mike Vecchione, Matt Wilkins and Ryan Scarfo also scored for the Dutchmen (11-7-2, 4-4-1 ECAC).
Ryan Berlin and Tucker Brockett scored the lone goals for the Tigers. Aaron Ave recorded two assists – becoming the first Princeton player to record a multi-point game this season.
“[Brockett is] a little banged up, but it’s good for Tucker to go to the net,” Fogarty said. “But Tucker, on the flip side, can’t take three penalties. You score a goal, doesn’t matter. It’s 4-0 because we’re taking soft holding hooking penalties. Those are non-physical penalties that shows you’re chasing the game.”
The Tigers allowed eight power play opportunities, killing off seven. Princeton finished 1-for-4 on the power play.
Princeton jumbled its lines, as Jonathan Liau returned to the lineup. David Hallisey and Max Becker both sat out with injuries.
Kyle Rankin wore joined Mike Ambrosia and Aaron Ave as a captain, and wore an “A” on Friday.
“He works hard without asking,” Fogarty said. “He is attentive [and] is good around the guys. Losing [Tyler] Maugeri for the rest of the year we needed someone else, and he fits that role exactly.”
Fogarty said he addressed the team’s need to stay mentally sharp after the loss. The Tigers host RPI on Saturday night, Princeton’s last game before finals break.
“It’s the most important game,” Fogarty said. “You say that with every game you’re going into, but tomorrow’s game is extremely critical. I can’t put more emphasis on tomorrow’s game.”