Princeton Begins Season With Loss To Yale

Eric Robinson goalTRENTON, N.J. – Trailing Yale by two with less than 40 seconds left, Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty called a timeout to discuss a faceoff play.

“Two goals down, [we were] just trying to get at least some spark or a scoring chance,” Fogarty said. “Which we did, which was good. They executed it.”

The scoring chance late in the game exemplified the difference in Princeton’s 3-1 loss compared to last season’s defeats – quality scoring chances.

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For much of the game, Princeton and Yale were locked in a 1-1 battle. Very late in the third period, Yale took a 2-1 lead off a goal from Chris Izmirlian.

“That hurt. We had chances,” Fogarty said. “It stung more today than some of the games last year because we didn’t have that offensive push late in the games last year.

“But we had that push today where we had some scoring chances. So that stung.”

Princeton created several good chances from the combination of freshmen Ryan Kuffner and Max Veronneau. Co-captain Mike Ambrosia had one of Princeton’s best chances as he hit a crossbar in the third.

“We had a chance to win the game,” forward Eric Robinson said. “[Colton] Phinney kept us in there in the second with some pretty big saves.”

Phinney finished the game with 41 saves, including 19 in the second period.

“We just [have] to tighten up our D zone, keep it simple,” Robinson said. “When we have it on the wall just get it out, use the glass, make sure we’re not running around and getting it pinned in our zone for too long.”

Yale controlled play in that frame, attempting 36 shots.

“They started pressuring and we just made sure we [were] underneath and limited the quality scoring chances against us [in the] second,” Fogarty said.

“We continued that in the third period and had scoring chances, again, which we haven’t had in the past last year. So it was great that we have opportunities to make it two [goals].

The Bulldogs, who struck first, added an empty-net goal for the 3-1 win. Princeton’s only goal, a tally from Eric Robinson, happened 22 seconds after Mike Doherty’s first goal.

“I think they tried to break it up the wall and [Alex] Riche made a good read there in the middle and picked it off and just threw something at the net,” Robinson said. “I was fortunate enough to get a stick on it, got a fortunate bounce and it went in. It was a good play by Riche there at the blue line.”

Riche was one of five freshmen who made their debuts tonight – Kuffner, Veronneau,  Spencer Kryczka and defenseman Josh Teves. A healthy Princeton team also saw the return of defenseman Quin Pompi and forward David Hallisey.

Marlon Sabo, Hayden Anderson, Max Becker, Ryan Berlin, Stewart Pomeroy and Michael Zajac were scratches.

Riche earned the only assist with his helper on Robinson’s goal.

“It’s a big stage for them to jump up the next level,” Fogarty said. “I thought Max Veronneau had a couple of great chances that were set up by Kuffner, [and] they’re seeing some power play time.

“Spencer Kryczka did a great job on the penalty kill for us. He was blocking lanes. Josh will settle down a little bit, but we love his enthusiasm on the back end.”

Veronneau and Kuffner, teammates in junior hockey, played together on the same line on Friday night.But Fogarty said the lines will continue changing.

“We have to find guys that click with each other,” Fogarty said. “It’s going to move through the game as well too. Who’s jumping that day will be a determining factor. And guys getting chances, we’re going to double them up.

“So there’s a lot of things that we’re not going to set in stone right now that will always be fluid as we move forward through Christmas.”

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