PRINCETON, N.J. (10/23/13) - The Princeton men's hockey team opens the 2013-14 season hosting the inaugural Liberty Hockey Invitational at the Prudential Center this weekend. The Tigers face Dartmouth in the season opener on Friday, Oct. 25 at 7:05 p.m., and defending national champion Yale on Saturday, Oct. 26 at 7:05 p.m.
EYE ON THE TIGERS
The Tigers return nearly 80 percent of its scoring offense from last season and bring back the top three scorers. Led by senior Andrew Calof who finished third in the ECAC last year and eighth in the nation in points per game at 1.23. He has led the Tigers in scoring in each of his first three seasons. Junior Tyler Maugeri and senior Andrew Ammon finished right behind Calof with 23 and 16 points, respectively.
Princeton has the second-largest senior class in the Division I hockey this year with nine. In turn, veteran leadership will be strong with Jack Berger earning his second captaincy. Berger was second on the team in scoring as a sophomore and had 12 points last year. Sophomore Mike Ambrosia is expected to have a breakout year, as he was the leading rookie scoring a year ago with 11 points in just 21 games as he battled through an injury.
The hardest hit area is the defense. The Tigers lost defender Michael Sdao and goaltender Mike Condon, who both signed NHL contracts this past year. Sdao and Eric Meland were the team’s top two scoring defenders, collectively tallying 31 points last year. Senior Alec Rush and junior Tom Kroshus look to fill those rolls as they each had nine points last year, as well as seniors Jeremy Goodwin and Kevin Ross who are in double digits in scoring as they enter their final year. Senior Sean Bonar is expected to be the Tigers go-to in goal. He started most of the games in 2011-12 and nine last year. Bonar has a career record of 15-21-6 with a .903 save percentage and a 2.84 goals against average.
SCOUTING THE BIG GREEN
Dartmouth finished tied for fifth in the ECAC standings last year with a 9-9-4 record and 15-14-5 overall. The Big Green reached the ECAC quarterfinals, falling to Union in two games. Dartmouth has already tested itself against other competition as it traveled to Europe in August to play three games. Junior Tyler Sikura will be looked at again to lead the team in scoring. He finished last year with 32 points on 12 goals and 20 assists. Sophomore Brad Schierhorn made an impact on the Europe trip and he along with junior Eric Neiley should be other top point scorers. Dartmouth’s defense should be solid as it returns six of its blueliners from last year. Last year the Big Green split goaltending duties between Cab Morris and Charles Grant. Both return this season. A senior, Morris went 8-7-3 with a .915 save percentage and a 2.14 GAA. Sophomore Grant went 7-7-2 with a .911 save percentage and a 2.77 GAA. Sophomore James Kruger could also be a contender as he earned the lone win in Europe.
THE PRINCETON/DARTMOUTH SERIES
Dartmouth has a 95-84-15 edge in the all-time series. Princeton is riding a three-game unbeaten streak in the series. Last year Princeton won 2-1 at home and tied 2-2 tie on the road. Dartmouth’s last win in the series came in November 2011. Senior Andrew Calof has the most points against Dartmouth with five, all assists. Senior Jack Berger, senior Jeremy Goodwin, junior Aaron Ave and junior Tyler Maugeri have two points apiece in the series. Senior Sean Bonar has played in two games and is 0-2 with a .905 save percentage and a 3.07 GAA, making 57 saves on 63 shots.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
The defending national champion Yale is ranked No. 6 in the USA Today poll and No. 7 in the USCHO poll. The Bulldogs return 15 lettersinners and lost six. Seniors Kenny Agostino and Jesse Root are the top two returning scorers from last year. Agostino had 41 points on 17 goals and 24 assists while Root had 23 points on 12 goals and 11 assists. The top scoring defender Tommy Fallen returns for his junior year. Fallon had seven goals and 16 assists for 23 points last year. Yale will have to depend on a new netminder as Jeff Malcolm and Nick Maricic have both graduated. Junior Connor Wilson has just seven career games under his belt, with a 4.45 GAA and an. 845 save percentage with a 0-3 record. Two freshman goalies will also vie for the starting role. All three goalies saw time in the Bulldogs exhibition game with Ontario Institute of Technology.
THE PRINCETON/YALE SERIES
Yale owns a 132-103-10 record in the all-time series since the rivalry began in 1901. The Bulldogs have won the last three meetings in the series including a season sweep last year with 3-2 and 4-2 wins. On neutral ice, the Tigers have had the upperhand 27-23-3. Andrew Calof has 13 points against Yale in 10 meetings. Senior Jack Berger has five points, while senior Alec Rush and junior Tyler Maugeri have three points apiece. Senior Sean Bonar is 1-2-1 in games versus Yale and has a 3.70 GAA and an .896 save percentage with 130 saves on 145 shots.