Roundup: Princeton, Canisius Keep Streaks Alive
Hockey East Race Tightens
CHN Staff Report
Princeton rallied from down 2-0 to defeat Clarkson, 3-2, to stretch its unbeaten streak to six games.
The win moved Princeton into eighth place in the league with four games to play. That would give the Tigers the final home ice spot in the first round of the ECAC playoffs.
Freshman defenseman Derek Topatigh scored the game winner in the OT; it was his first career goal. He came around the net with the puck, and instead of sending out to a teammate, he spun and whipped a shot on net that fooled Clarkson goaltender Jake Kielly.
"I was looking for any opportunity." Topatigh said. "It was kinda a lucky goal along the ice, but coach said get everything to the net and whether you get a rebound or it happens to go in like it did."
Princeton coach Ron Fogarty said Topatigh's play recently is typical of what he wants.
"Smart players that know how to handle the puck and know how to handle pressure and not just fire it off the glass," Fogarty said. "We've become a puck possession team through a lot of teaching and a lot of pain in two years, and now we're getting there. And we're going to keep doing that with players coming through the system."
Princeton also improved to 11-11-3 overall, the most wins the team has had since Guy Gadowsky's last season in 2010-11.
"More than anything it's the excitment, especially for the older guys, of finally getting some wins and have a chance to ... go far and make a run in the playoffs," Topatigh said.
Said Fogary, "When you have a senior class that hasn't had success, we want to have them establish a realistic goal. And (getting) home ice is it. Where it 1 through 8, you don't know, but just to have the opportunity to have a home ice (playoff) game."
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Cornell squandered another third-period home lead, this time settling for a 2-2 tie with Yale.
Cornell came into the second half one of the hottest teams and with a ton of home games to play. But the Big Red have left five points on the table thanks trouble finishing out games at home the last few weeks. As it stands, Cornell is still in the top 14 of Pairwise and in striking distance of the top spot in the ECAC, but has a dogfight ahead with five regular-season games to play.
“We didn’t capitalize on our scoring chances,” Cornell coach Mike Schafer said. “We had two opportunities on breakaways tonight that could have made the score 3-0 or 3-1. We just didn’t play the kind of hockey we’ve been playing.”
For the fourth time in its last five home games Cornell (15-6-3, 10-4-3 ECAC) not only struck first, but enjoyed a 2-0 lead on goals from sophomore forward Anthony Angello and senior forward Jeff Kubiak.
Cornell had a golden opportunity to push lead to three goals, but a shorthanded-breakaway-turned-penalty-shot came up empty.
Yale’s response was strong, and the visitors eventually cut the deficit when a turnover in the neutral zone turned into a two-on-one and Ted Hart banged in his own rebound at the 8:02 mark of the second. The teams traded chances in the third, but the Bulldogs had the game’s final strike, equalizing with with 4:40 left on Hart’s second goal of the game.
With the tie, Cornell remains in fourth place in the ECAC with 23 points — though it has a game in hand on all three teams ahead of it, Union (27), Harvard (26) and St. Lawrence (25).
“It’s fortunate that we picked up a point, but disappointing because I didn’t think it was a great team effort,” Schafer said.
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Union responded from a bad loss to Harvard on Friday, by rolling over Dartmouth, 8-3.
Spencer Foo had a hat trick for the Dutchmen, and reached 100 career points in the process. Linemate and Hobey candidate Mike Vecchione, meanwhile, set the program's single-season scoring mark, now with 51 points.
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Wins by Massachusetts-Lowell, Vermont and Notre Dame in Hockey East play Saturday, further tightened the league standings. Four points now separate second-place Boston University from sixth-place Vermont.
Lowell (19-9-3, 11-7-1 HEA) stayed even in third place with Notre Dame, one point back of BU, with a 4-2 win over Massachusetts in front of 6,244 fans at the Tsongas Center.
"Tonight proves how difficult Hockey East can be," Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. "It was a good check for our guys and I am very proud of them. ... It was a tough game tonight and it was good, we had a lot of urgency tonight."
Junior forward C.J. Smith had a hand in the first three River Hawk goals for a game-high three points, while posting his 10th multi-point game of the year.
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Mario Puskarich became the first Vermont player in more than 20 years to reach 50 career goals, helping the Catamounts to a 5-3 win over New Hampshire and a weekend split. The last to reach 50 was J.C. Ruid during the 1995-96 season.
"On the first goal, (Anthony) Petruzzelli and Drew Best made plays in the corner, kind of giving me space to take it to the net, and on the second just a good heads-up play by Ori Abramson," Puskarich said. "It was huge to have that three-goal lead at 5-2. It gave us a little breathing room. They had a late push but we played well defensively and kept it to the outside."
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Facing a two-goal deficit midway through the second period, Notre Dame scored the game's final four goals, including two by Dylan Malmquist, en route to a 4-2 victory and a weekend sweep of Maine.
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Of the five games in Atlantic Hockey on Saturday, four went to overtime. The only one that didn't helped propel Canisius into first place by itself with four regular-season games remaining.
Canisius ran its unbeaten streak to 12 with a 6-5 win over Sacred Heart, earning a three-point weekend against the Pioneers.
Senior goaltender Charles Williams had an off night, but still leads the nation in save percentage at .943.
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Robert Morris salvaged one point in its weekend against Bentley, getting a third-period goal from Brady Ferguson for a 1-1 final. Friday, RMU lost to Bentley, 3-0.
Robert Morris has slipped to fourth, one point behind Army, and one point ahead of Holy Cross. The top five teams receive a first-round bye in the league playoffs.
"We forget how hard it is to win. It's hard to win and it's easy to be average," RMU coach Derek Schooley said. "If you're not working, you're going to be average. We need to make sure we're working and we'll look at that this week."
"They've got to get everybody on the same page," Schooley said of his juniors and seniors. "We've got to work as coaches and work as a group to make sure that we're focused and determined. It's not going to get any easier and one point at home is not good enough this time of year."