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Princeton Adventures: Clarkson Arrives

By David F. Pendrys

PRINCETON, NJ – Down two to zero entering the third period Saturday night, the Princeton Tigers roared back to a 3-2 win in overtime to defeat Clarkson as the turnaround season continues. On this day a year ago Princeton had just lost its seventeenth game up in Clarkson’s rink. But after a string of three losses to start 2017, Princeton had tied Colgate, then gone on to beat ranked Penn State, beat Yale in their barn, tie Brown, and beat ranked St. Lawrence the night before.

The visiting Golden Knights controlled the pace of the game early getting their chances and Princeton was not finding such opportunities despite a lot of shots. Still the first period wrapped up zero and zero.

Troy Josephs put Clarkson on the board first when he slapped the puck past Princeton’s Colton Phinney in a fairly straight forward goal at 8:09 in the second. Assists on the opener went to Sam Vigneault and Aaron Thow.

Brett Gervais then extended the lead as he fell by the net but knocked the puck in anyway assisted by Thow and Greg Moro at 13:29.

The Tigers showed life in the second especially in the waning minutes of the period earning chances and setting up some reasonable chances. However, Princeton didn’t respond until 11:05 in the third when Josh Teves launched a shot through the screen past Clarkson’s Jake Kielly to make the game interesting. Assists went to Jackson Cressey, Max Veronneau on the breakthrough.

Not long after at 16:10 Ryan Kuffner put in a point blank rebound from Kielly’s left to tie it up with assists from Teves and Veronneau. The two teams would be unable to settle things in regulation and on to overtime they went.

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In the Overtime period it was Derek Topatigh who used a slick maneuver after sliding around the back of Kielly’s net. He was able to send the puck into a hole from a tough angle for the game winner. Assists went to Robinson and Cressey on the dramatic tally.

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Kielly made 45 saves on the night and Phinney made 35.

Clarkson is now 13-13-4 and 8-8-2 in ECAC play after winning at Quinnipiac the day before. Princeton rises to 11-11-3 and 6-9-3 in the ECAC. Princeton now has their best record since 2010-2011.

Quotes:

Princeton Head Coach Ron Fogarty had a lot of reactions to the win.

In response to a question from Adam Wodon of College Hockey News he explained:

When you’re down two-nothing you gotta throw everything at net. We got a fortunate call there, and then four on four, we had some momentum.”

When Jashvina Shah of the College Hockey News, The Victory Press and other publications asked about how Princeton adjusted given Clarkson’s style of play regarding transition he remarked:

All of our offense starts from defense. If we have five guys back in our d zone, break it out then we can go two on one. We’re not a skilled team to have a guy on the island and try to win one on that. So we just gotta make sure we take care of D-zone first and come up together.”

(CHN has some more including quotes from Topatigh.)

In response to a question from this reporter regarding depth on the team regarding scoring Fogarty outlined his thinking:

You need depth in college hockey. The parity is there. There are usually five or six teams that are going to pull away from the sixty. But the meat and potatoes of college hockey is your second and third line, how good they are and how you can have that mismatch. Everyone’s going to have three good forwards, two good D and a goaltender. So depth is key especially with how we play because we come back all the way…we don’t stretch guys so we have had that depth.

Also, when asked by this reporter if momentum had been building from Yale Fogarty said quickly no instead pointing to Bemidj in November as the start of it, and then mentioning a series like Quinnipiac and noting it has been ongoing progress and that everything builds on it.

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