PRINCETON, N.J. – When David Hallisey scored the go-ahead goal for Princeton in the second period, he knelt down and swept the ice with his right hand.
The tally stood as the game-winning goal en route to a 3-1 win over the Spartans (4-8-0) at Baker Rink. The Tigers (2-6-1) snapped a five-game losing streak and score two goals for the first time since a Nov. 7 win over Cornell. Princeton’s three goals matched the team’s total over the five-game losing streak.
“Scoring two or more goals, we’re undefeated this year,” Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said. “It was nice to see the puck go into the net a couple times, had a glorious chance and no goal but guys stuck with the game plan and it was a good 60 minutes for us.”
After a start dominated by Michigan State, the Tigers created some scoring chances of their own. They pushed pack a tough Spartan defense to score three goals for the first time this season.
Princeton surrendered the first goal to Michael Ferrantino, Jonathan Liau tied the game for Princeton in the second. Liau’s goal snapped a scoreless streak that spanned 178:75 minutes, and Ben Foster added an unassisted tally in the third.
“The guys are buying in and they just stayed with it,” Fogarty said. “It’s easy to stray when you lose five straight games, but credit to those 28 players, they did a good job of staying with it for the last couple of weeks.”
The Tigers netted two unassisted tallies, capitalizing off Michigan State turnovers.
“You can’t give up three goals like we did tonight we specially on the turnovers we made,” Michigan State head coach Tom Anastos said. “When you do that, it results in momentum shifts and gives the other team momentum so for us those mistakes were fatal so we’ve got to clean them up.”
Princeton received a boost from the return of Mike Ambrosia, Kyle Rankin and Tom Kroshus. The win marked Ambrosia’s season debut, and he played on a line with Rankin and Liau.
“[I’m] feeling good,” Ambrosia said. “It was a good team win, I think we did a lot of good things in terms of our energy and matching their speed.
“The coaching staff always stresses worrying about ourselves and I think we did that tonight.”
Colton Phinney made 44 saves, including 20 in the third period when Michigan State pressed to tie the game. The Tigers kept the Spartans scoreless in the frame, despite the added pressure with an extra Spartan attacker.
“We pushed out, we had one breakdown where they had the chance underneath,” Fogarty said. “But we kept pushing them to the outside and Colton played very strong today in goal.”
Princeton kept Michigan State from scoring on several quality chances, including a breakaway from Matt Berry that stemmed from a turnover and morphed into a 2-on-0.
“As a team, we’re not completely there yet, there’s always some times [when] we break down, but that’s going to happen and it’s how we rebound,” Ambrosia said. “I think it was one of the first games this year that we played a full 60 minutes, and I think it showed on the scoreboard result.”
The victory was Princeton’s first over Michigan State, and first win over a non-conference opponent since a Jan. 27, 2013 win over Sacred Heart.
“We need to get some rest, look at some video, focus on some of their key chances,” Ambrosia said. “Colton made some key saves that obviously could’ve gone in the net.
“If we just worry about ourselves again and break down a couple mistakes we might’ve made and do what we did today, I think we can repeat a good performance and a good result.”