Game 26: Princeton at No. 8 Union
Gametime: Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m.
Records: Princeton (7-12-6, 5-10-3), Union (17-6-7, 11-3-4)
Series Began: Dec. 15, 1982
Series Record: Series tied 22-22-5
Series Streak: 4 Union wins, 1 tie
Last Meeting: Tied 3-3 on Dec. 3, 2011
Links: Live Video $5.95 l Live Audio l Live Stats l Cover-It-Live Blog
Game 25: Princeton at Rensselaer
Gametime: Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.
Records: Princeton (7-12-6, 5-10-3), RPI (8-19-3, 5-10-3)
Series Began: Jan. 18, 1952
Series Record: RPI leads 63-30-9
Series Streak: 2 Princeton wins
Last Meeting: Princeton won 5-3 on Dec. 2, 2011
Links: Live Video $8 l Live Audio l Live Stats l Cover-It-Live Blog
PRINCETON, N.J. (2/15/12) - The Princeton men's hockey team completes its four-game road swing at No. 8 Union and Rensselaer this weekend in hopes of collecting crucial points for league playoff positioning. The Tigers face Union on Friday, Feb. 17 at 7 p.m., and RPI on Saturday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m.Princeton is still mathematically in the running for a first-round bye in the ECAC standings with eight points still up for grabs in the final two weekends. The Tigers currently sit in 10th place, along with Rensselaer, with a 5-10-3 record and 13 total points. Princeton is 7-12-6 overall after having a four-game unbeaten streak halted in the North Country last weekend. The Tigers average 2.60 goals per game and have allowed 3.12 gpg. Princeton’s power play is fourth in the league at 20% (21/105) while the penalty kill has produced at 79.6% (86/108).
Sophomores Andrew Calof and Jack Berger are the team’s top two goal scorers with nine goals each. Calof adds a team-high 12 assists for 21 points, while Berger has nine helpers for 18 points. Junior defender and Ottawa draft pick Michael Sdao is third on the team in scoring with eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. Junior Rob Kleebaum, senior Marc Hagel, senior Derrick Pallis and junior Eric Meland are all in double digits in points. Sophomore Sean Bonar has started in 15 games, including the last two games, and has an .898 save percentage and a 3.02 goals against average. Junior Mike Condon has made 10 starts and has a .913 save percentage and a 2.92 GAA.
The series between the two teams is knotted at 22-22-5. Union has had the upperhand lately, going 4-0-1 in the last five games. The Dutchmen have also limited the Tigers to just six wins in Schenectady in the 30-year history. The two teams tied 3-3 in the first game this year on Dec. 3 when the Tigers rallied from a three-goal deficit. Princeton’s last win the series was March 15, 2009 a 3-1 game in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series, which Princeton won two games to one.
Union sits atop the ECAC Hockey standings with a one-point lead over Cornell with an 11-3-4 mark. The Dutchmen are the highest ranked ECAC team in the national poll, at No. 8 with a 17-6-7 overall record. Union is undefeated in its last five games and is 8-1-2 since January. The Dutchmen are averaging 3.47 goals per game and limited teams to 1.80 gpg, the league’s best scoring offense and defense. The team’s special teams rank in the top three in both categories with the power play produces at a rate of 25.9% (37/143) while the penalty kill is at 85.8% (97/113).
Senior Kelly Zajac has 37 points in 30 games with eight goals and 29 helpers. Juniors Wayne Simpson and Jeremy Walsh are the team’s top two goal scorers. Simpson has 16 goals and 12 assists for 28 points while Walsh has 19 goals and eight helpers for 27 points. Sophomores Daniel Carr and Mat Bodie chip in 26 and 23 points respectively. Sophomore Troy Grosenick has started in goal in 22 of 30 games. He has a 1.58 goals against average and a .940 save percentage. Rookie Colin Stevens has made the remaining starts - and has started the last three games. He has a 2.24 GAA and a .915 save percentage. Stevens was the goalie in net when Princeton tied Union in December.
Rensselaer holds a 63-30-9 edge in the all-time series that began in 1952. Princeton has won more games in the series in Troy than at Baker Rink, 16 of the 30. The Tigers have won the last two meetings which includes a 5-3 game from Dec. 2. The teams have split the series every year for the past five years.
Rensselaer sits in a 10th place tie with Princeton in the ECAC Hockey standings with 13 points apiece with matching 5-10-3 records. RPI is 8-19-3 overall. After starting the season 3-16, the team has gone 5-3-3 since that time. The Engineers average 1.77 gpg, last in the league, and allow 2.87 gpg. The power play scores at a rate of 13.8% (19/138), second to last in the league, and the penalty kill is at 84.4% (124/147).
Sophomore Brock Higgs leads the team in scoring with 18 points on a team-high 16 assists and two goals. Junior defender Nick Bailen has 17 points on five goals and 12 assists. Junior CJ Lee and freshman Ryan Haggerty both have a team-leading six goals and have 13 and 12 points, respectively. Junior Bryce Merriam has started in 23 of 30 games in net. He has a 2.34 GAA and a .913 save percentage. In seven games, back up Scott Diebold has an .890 save percentage and a 3.19 GAA.