PRINCETON, N.J. – For the fourth game in a row, it was close for Princeton men’s hockey.
Trailing by one in the third period, the Tigers tossed 12 shots at net and created some scoring chances. But for the fourth game in a row, it wasn’t enough.
“[I’m] frustrated for the guys,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “They’re working extremely hard and efficiently, we’re moving the puck well, we’re counterattacking. You just want to win to have that tangible reward in a win.”
After allowing a first-period goal to Harvard, Princeton eventually fell 3-0 on Saturday night in a sold-out Baker Rink. The Crimson tacked on two empty-net tallies late in the game.
“We’re in every game this year and just need that one or two guys to start scoring each game,” Fogarty said. “It takes time.”
Harvard started the game pressing the Tigers. The Crimson attempted 29 shots in the frame, but only a few were Grade-A chances. Colton Phinney stopped the rest, earning 14 out of his 39 stops of the night.
“We didn’t struggle today, they came at us pretty hard. We chased the game a little bit for the first 13 minutes,” Fogarty said. “They’re a top 10 team in the country for a reason. They have a lot of firepower in their top two lines and they had good jump.
“In the shot chart they had three shots from within the Grade-A area and one was a tip. It’s different from getting bombarded with 2-on-1s, odd man rushes or shots from the perimeter and that’s just a bend not break attitude.”
Princeton responded with a strong second and third period.
“Once we weathered the storm, we got going,” Fogarty said. “The second or third period we played very well and just got to stay heavy on the stick and bang one home on front.”
Jimmy Vesey struck first for Harvard, while Clay Andrson and Alexander Kerfoot scored empty net goals in the last minute of the game. Merrick Madsen finished with 38 saves.
Princeton took 38 shots on net, but also generated about four Grade-A scoring chances in each frame. Sophomore Eric Robinson created a couple of those chances, including a shorthanded bid in the first.
“We’re playing well,” Fogarty said. “It looks like hockey and we’re getting a lot of chances.”
Robinson finished with six shots along with freshman Ryan Kuffner. Kuffner, along with his linemates Max Veronneau and David Hallisey, have generated several quality chances for the Tigers.
“We’re not playing the game [like] we’re hoping for opportunities, we are creating the opportunities,” Fogarty said. “That’s a major step from last year because the guys are playing the game because they know and understand the systems.
“They’re not thinking twice about it, they’re just playing. There’s more fluidity in our game.”
- Marlon Sabo took Hayden Anderson’s place in the lineup
- Ryan Berlin also appeared in the lineup for his first game of the season. Both Max Becker and Spencer Kryczka sat out.