PRINCETON, N.J. – It was only for one period, but one period was all it took.
Princeton men’s hockey struggled in the opening frame and allowed three goals to the Big Green over the period en route to a 3-2 loss.
“We were very apprehensive in the first, that’s the worse we’ve looked all year,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “Very uncharacteristic.”
Princeton bounced back in the last two periods and had all lines generate scoring chances.
“We saw from the second and third how we can play,” Fogarty said. “But where we’re at, you cannot be complacent or take a period off. No team is that good, [it] doesn’t matter what skill level. You take a period off in college hockey, you’re going to be down. We were down and we battled back but it’s a great lesson with this group that that was a horrible first period.”
Ryan Kuffner scored his first collegiate goal in the second, while Jonathan Liau converted a Hayden Anderson pass in the third. But it was too late.
“We obviously didn’t have the effort we wanted in the first and that ended up being the result of the game,” co-captain Mike Ambrosia said. “But we have to forget about it. We had a good second [and] third and we need to play a full 60 minutes that way and we’re going to get a lot of results.”
For the third-straight game, the Tigers found themselves trying to tie the game late, creating scoring chances but failing to convert.
“That’s how we’ve been playing,” Fogarty said. “We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to win each game because the effort’s been consistent, as you saw from the second and third period.
“And we’ve had scoring opportunities, we just missed on a 3-on-1 we had a great looks, the power play was very good today. But when you’re down 3-0, that’s a very steep hole to come out of.”
Princeton finished with 32 shots on goal and nine Grade-A chances. The Tigers also generated eight shots on their two power play chances, but couldn’t convert.
“We just have to keep working on it,” Ambrosia said. “We have to bear down. It’s something that we practice on and we do goal scoring drills and we’re going to have to continue to do that. But we’re getting a lot of chances and we’ve scored more goals this year so far because of it and we just have to keep going.”
Dartmouth’s Corey Kalk, Jack Barre and Nick Bligh scored for the Big Green, who sent the Tigers to their third-straight loss. Princeton is winless in ECAC play so far, but the changes from last year are noticeable.
“We’re really trying to emphasize playing with pace, moving the puck up,” Ambrosia said. If somebody’s ahead of you and he’s wide open, give him the puck. We’re really trying to focus on that and that’s fast hockey. It keeps them on their heels and that creates chances. I think you’re seeing that slowly but were going to try to do that for a full 60 minutes tomorrow.”
- Hayden Anderson was in for Kevin Liss for the second-straight game
- Ryan Kuffner was injured on a play close to the end of the game. His status is unknown.