Princeton’s assistant captains walked up the stairs at Baker Rink, backpacks on hand as they prepared to leave.
For the Tigers, it was an early practice preparing for Dartmouth just one day before the trip to Hanover, N.H. While the first-round series is approaching, so are midterms – which will take place at Princeton next week.
“Sometimes it’s a little tougher, some guys have tougher schedules than others, so it just depends,” senior Aaron Ave said. “But everyone’s pretty good at time management, that’s why they’re here. You just kind of have to get in the studying when you can.”
Princeton will face Dartmouth after getting swept in the season series, including a 3-1 loss last weekend. The importance of the best-of-three series isn’t lost on Princeton, which hasn’t advanced past the first round since 2009. That’s also the last time the Tigers played in the NCAA tournament.
“You only play in the playoffs a few times in your hockey career,” Mike Ambrosia said. “We’re lucky enough that everyone makes the playoffs here in the ECAC, so it’s wide open and we’re focused on that. We deal with school all year round so it’s just another week.”
Since Princeton hasn’t advanced past the first round in six years, no member of the current team has experienced advancing. With midterms taking place the week before the second round, the players haven’t prepared for hockey while taking midterms in March.
“We’re obviously all student athletes, but I think every guy in the locker room has their mindset on hockey right now,” Kyle Rankin said.
“Me personally, it’s Wednesday night. My books won’t be open until Monday morning.”It’s Wednesday night. My books won’t be open until Monday morning. - Kyle Rankin Click To Tweet