ESTERO, Fla. (12/29/13) – Senior Sean Bonar made a career-high 43 saves as the Princeton men’s hockey team fell 3-2 to New Hampshire in the consolation game of the Florida College Hockey Classic at Germain Arena.
Bonar’s previous best was 42 saves set against Colgate on Nov. 19, 2011 and again versus Union on Jan. 11, 2013.
Penalties plagued the Tigers and stripped them of their lead in the second period, as UNH scored two power-play goals to take its first and last lead of the game.
The Tigers capitalized on a Wildcats turnover at 13:53 when senior Andrew Calof found sophomore Mike Ambrosia. Senior Eric Carlson got possession and dished off to Calof on the right side. Calof saw Ambrosia in front of the net and he hit a wide-open shot on the left side.
Sophomore Jonathan Liau hit the pipe on the next shift in what would have been two quick goals.
With 53.6 seconds remaining in the first, UNH knotted it at 1-1 with a goal from Casey Thrush.
Princeton quickly regained the lead 2:43 into the second period as junior Aaron Kesselman tallied his third goal of the season. Freshman Ben Foster pushed the puck up ice to junior Aaron Ave and he gave it to Kesselman on the weak side as he blasted one by Casey DeSmith in goal.
Four minute later sophomore Kyle Rankin had a couple of chances to stuff a goal in. He had back-to-back shots as DeSmith lay prone on the ice before the officials blew the whistle.
A series of four penalties in a span of 4:15 hindered the Tigers play in the second half of the second period and allowed New Hampshire to take the lead.
Senior Alec Rush was called for cross checking at 7:18 and Calof was caught slashing at 8:03, setting up a 5x3 for the Wildcats for 1:15. UNH capitalized as Justin Agosta buried one from the left point with Brett Pesce and Datton Speelman assisting at 8:35.
Four seconds after Calof’s release from the box, Kessleman picked up a penalty at 10:07 and Ave at 12:33. The Wildcats converted the power-play opportunity and took the lead at 13:41 on a Matt Willows 5x4 goal.
Princeton used an extra skater in the last 1:26 to try to tie up the game. Shortly after Grayson Downing earned a roughing penalty at 17:14, Princeton called a timeout. Bonar skated to the bench at 18:34 and he would remain there for the final 1:26. The Tigers weren’t able to find the equalizer with one shot on target, one off and one blocked.
UNH outshot Princeton 46-23 in the game with a 37-14 differential in the first two periods. The scoreless third period saw shots even at nine apiece.
DeSmith captured his eighth win of the year making 21 saves.
Princeton was 0 for 2 on the power play while UNH was 2 for 6.
The Tigers travel to Vancouver to take part in the Great Northwest Showcase. Princeton will play non-NCAA games against Simon Fraser and the University of British Columbia on Jan. 2 & 3.