Team of the Week: Princeton
by Adam Wodon/Managing Editor
The Ivy League teams got their usual late start to the season in earnest last weekend, and after one seeing the results, Princeton came out the most impressive.
The Tigers, which are still battling to get back up the ECAC ladder under Guy Gadowsky as the program once achieved under Don Cahoon, swept Cornell and Colgate on the road last weekend, and with that earned CHN's Team of the Week honors.
"It doesn't mean anything in long run except we won three games, but we're very happy with the start," said Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky. "Especially going up to Cornell and Colgate, which are diff. places to play and such good programs. So that makes you feel better, but like I said, it doesn't mean anything except that you won three games."
For Princeton, it was definitely "team wins," with sophomore goaltender Zane Kalemba turning in two huge performances, and the defense and offense meshing faster than maybe could have been expected.
"Our freshmen defensemen adapted pretty quickly," Gadowsky said. "That's always a question and it still might be, but initially, they've played better early than anyone expected."
Kalemba is a New Jersey native, and for now is the No. 1 guy. But the team also has a highly-touted freshman from Ontario.
"Our goaltending has been tremendous," Gadowsky said. "Even against Yale (a 6-2 win), they had a clear-cut breakaway early in the game, and if they score there, the game is completely different. In a 6-2 game it doesn't look like the goaltender deserves the bulk of the credit, but in that case, he did.
"I think we were all very optimistic about our goaltending and not necessarily about Zane — all three of the them. Alan Reynolds hasn't been heard from but I think he can be a surprise. He's a battler and his numbers in Canada were special.
"Goaltending wasn't as big a question as people think. We were probably more optimistic about that position than any other, and not just because of Zane."
And then there's the offense, which, led by Cam MacIntyre, a sophomore from British Columbia who has eight points in three games, has been strong so far. In fact, the line of MacIntyre, junior Lee Jubinville and junior Brett Wilson accounts for 21 of the team's 31 points so far.
"Sometimes it's interesting — I was talking to (graduated captain) Grant Goeckner-Zoeller — the players know better than the coaches," Gadowsky said. "And Grant said Willy (Wilson) and Jubs (Jubinville) are going to do phenomenally ... and Cam is going score a ton of goals. And he called it. He was right on.
"If you talk to any of the coaches from last year, no one is surprised at when Cam has done. He had one goal at Christmas last year, and finished with eight. So he's just picking up where he left off."
The bigger picture question for Princeton is always whether it can reach a sustainable level of success. Gadowsky has always maintained that the program can, at least to where it's consistently competitive in the ECAC. But measuring that level of success depends on your perspective.
"We're just trying to improve, and trying to make tomorrow better than today," Gadowsky said.
"One of the things we're happy about in the progress is, I think the guys are having a blast. And we really wanted to make progress so that every week the guys are looking more forward to coming to the rink than the week before. So in that sense, I think we can feel pretty good about our progress."
Meanwhile, there's the big picture within this season, which includes a home weekend now against ECAC elites Clarkson and St. Lawrence, starting with the Saints on Friday.
There's rest for the weary.
"(St. Lawrence coach) Joe Marsh, he could coach a pee-wee team coming in here and do good," Gadowsky said.