PRINCETON, N.J. – Princeton found the start they wanted against St. Lawrence. The Tigers dominated the opening minutes.
“We came out, we had a great start,” forward Max Becker said. “We didn’t have such a great start last wee,k so we preached that in practice this week, just taking our warm up as our first period. We tried coming out hot and I think we did that.”
The Tigers outshot the Saints 17-9 in the first frame.
“You execute the game plan set froth from Monday, and the first four shifts, you can’t ask for anything more besides a goal,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “We were on top of them, kept the puck in [and] they had to chip it out. … The first four shifts and even the eighth shifts were, if you clipped them, you looked back, it’s exactly what you want the next game.”
Despite Princeton’s dominance, the Saints were the ones who struck first when Ryan Lough put one past Colton Phinney. Lough’s goal, and a two-goal second period, was almost all St. Lawrence needed to defeat Princeton 5-1 on Friday night at Baker Rink.
“We outshoot them 17-9 in the first we had some great chances, and they scored on three of the first five odd-man rushes to go up 3-0,” Fogarty said. “That’s a big thing, they capitalized on that. And then we had a couple opportunities and we just didn’t score.”
The Tigers still outshot the Saints 42-40 and created some quality scoring chances in the later frames, but struggled to score.
“We haven’t had that great bounce,” Fogarty said. “We put ourselves in spots for great bounces. And patience is the lost virtue for everybody. [We] have to remain patient and keep going. … It’s waves, it’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. If you keep doing things well, it will come.”
Princeton’s only goal of the game came from Max Becker in the second period, his first collegiate goal. Becker converted a pass from freshman Spencer Kryczka for the tally. Becker’s goal cut the deficit to 3-1.
“He put himself in some great areas to score,” Fogarty said. “[It] was a result of Spencer being strong on the puck on the forecheck and Kuffner right there to help him out and at least put us back into the game.”
After Becker’s goal, St. Lawrence responded with two tallies in the third. Colton Phinney made 29 saves for the Tigers, while Ben Halford made six saves and allowed a goal as a replacement late in the third.
Princeton is now winless in ECAC play and occupies the league’s last spot. The improvement has been evident, but the Tigers haven’t won since Oct. 31.
“You got to stay the course. We knew coming in it’s going to be three-to-four years,” Fogarty said.
“You have to look at the finer details within the game to see if you are progressing and we are. And it’s human nature for the quick fix and you have to keep building the foundation.”
Princeton will host Clarkson on Saturday night, its last regular-season game at Baker Rink until Dec. 29.
“[We have to] score one more goal than they do,” Fogarty said. “Same start. It’s going to come.”