Like a lit match, hopes for the men's hockey team burned brightly at the outset of the season but began to dim as the Tigers headed deeper into the season. Princeton dropped two nonconference games to sixth-ranked Notre Dame Dec. 7 and 8, falling short of coach Guy Gadowsky's goal for the team to have a winning record at the holiday break. But in spite of their cold streak, the Tigers remained poised to challenge for the ECAC Hockey title, standing in fourth place, only four points being league-leading Clarkson.
Princeton (5-7, 4-4 ECAC Hockey) began the season like one of the league's teams to beat, sweeping Cornell and Colgate on the road for the first time since 1994-95. Following the wins, the Tigers stood as one of two undefeated teams in Division I hockey and were ranked No. 18 in the nation.
The Tigers were unable to continue their momentum when they returned to Baker Rink for their first home series of the season, losing to St. Lawrence and Clarkson. The losses began a disheartening trend for Princeton, which started 1-6 on its home ice. The team's first home win came on Dec. 1 against Union. Brett Wilson ’09 had two goals and an assist, and Mark Magnowski ’10 scored the game-winner in a 4-3 victory.
"We knew [that] if we were going to be successful, we'd have to start wining at home because that's a big thing when you're fighting for a playoff spot," Wilson said after the Union game.
In the first half of the season, the top line of Wilson, Lee Jubinville ’09, and Cam MacIntyre ’10 paced the Tigers, scoring more than half of the team's goals. Captain Mike Moore ’08 has led the team's defensive efforts, supplying six assists and a steam stream of big hits. Zane Kalemba ’10 had a 4-4 record in goal and was named ECAC Hockey goaltender of the week for his efforts against Cornell and Colgate.
Gadowsky remained optimistic about his team's chances in the remainder of its schedule. "We're .500 in league play," he said. "We've played well on the road, which is very hard to do, so that's given us a lot of confidence going forward. Now we just have to do better at home."
Eric Dodds ’10 is a senior writer for The Daily Princetonian from New York.