Princeton Leaves Yearning For More
by Scott Stone/CHN Reporter
MADISON, Wis. Cliches always seem to fit well into the world of sports.
"We gotta take it one day at a time." "We just want to work hard and play our best."
After a frustrating 5-1 loss at the hands of Midwest region top seed North Dakota, one more cliche just won't cut it; just getting there wasn't enough.
"It's dissapointing," said senior captain Mike Moore, who played in his last college game in the loss. "Just getting here was great, but we felt like we could do more."
Princeton outplayed North Dakota for much of the game, out-shooting the Fighting Sioux 39-18, but couldn't find a way to beat Hobey Baker finalist Jean-Philippe Lamoureux until the game's last minute. On the offensive end, Princeton goaltender Zane Kalemba couldn't slow down the a stellar North Dakota power play that converted on two of its four opportunities, or a hat-trick performance by 2007 Hobey Baker winner, Ryan Duncan.
Princeton saw its season come to an end a bit too soon after an exciting run at an ECAC tournament title and its second-ever tournament appearance.
Although it may have come too soon for its liking, Princeton will have good things to take away from the season. A school-record 21 win season, 14 of those in league play, an ECAC tournament championship for the first time since 1998 and a berth in the NCAA national tournament mark a banner year for the Tigers, but Saturday's loss stings a little deeper, and the loss means saying goodbye for Moore.
"The only thing we can really take away from this is that you know you are leaving a locker room and a group a guys that have a incredible commitment to the program," Moore said. "I always had a real feel of the team. It's something as seniors you want to see that comradery there. It will be tough to leave them."
North Dakota tallied once in the first on a Andrew Kozek power-play goal and held the 1-0 into the locker room. The second period was almost the same, this time, Duncan netted the front end of his three goal and a 2-0 margin felt uncomfortable as the Tigers continued to dominate in the shot department holding a 25-12 advantage. Duncan scored his second goal of the afternoon 8:13 of the third and two empty netters later, the lead ballooned to 5-0 and Princeton fans were left unhappy.
"You don't ever want to make excuses for anything, but we just couldn't solve (Lamoureux)," said Moore. "We knew we needed more than one goal to win, so again, it's just really disappointing right now."
It wasn't for lack of hustle that Princeton lost today's game. On paper, North Dakota would seem to have little trouble disposing of Princeton. This wasn't the case at all. The Tigers matched the Fighting Sioux speed stride-for-stride and peppered the North Dakota net with shots from all over the ice. But as it often does, special teams played a huge role in today's game.
A normally chippy North Dakota team that averaged 18.8 penalty minutes a game during the regular season, had just 6 minutes of penalty time and stopped two Princeton power plays.
With that being said, it could have been a couple of missed shorthanded opportunities that did Princeton in. With the Sioux lead at only 1-0 and on the power play, sophomore Mark Magnowski was stoned by Lamoureux on three consecutive shots and another shot off a rebound and UND then took the puck down and scored just after the power play expired.
"Mag had a couple chances in front and Lamoureux made some great saves, point blank," Moore said. "It's not going to count as a power-play goal in the box, but it was. It was very unfortunate because they scored on the first power play and we thought we had this one killed."
"Overall I think we played well but we didn't solve Lamoureux," said Princeton head coach Guy Gadowsky. "It's disappointing. If Mac's (Cam MacIntyre) went in in the first period intead of the third, it could be a different game."
It may be another cliche, but sometimes you need a bounce or two to win in the playoffs and Princeton couldn't get one.