Series Record: 81-48-8
Friday November 9
November 18, 2011 and January 14, 2012
The last two meetings could not have been more different between the Big Red and the Tigers. In their first meeting, Cornell skated to a convincing 4-0 victory over the tigers at Lynah. Cornell held the advantage in terms of shots by a 22-15 margin. All four goals were scored on even strength with both teams going scoreless on the power play (0-5 Princeton and 0-4 Cornell). However, the second game was much closer. Cornell dominated the first two periods, with all three of their goals scored then. Cornell held a 22-13 shot advantage in those periods. The third period was where Cornell collapsed and Princeton dominated. Princeton held the edge in shots, 14-5, scoring three goals in the frame. Neither team was able to score in overtime, 3 shots were made by Cornell and 4 were made by Princeton, making the final shot total 31-30 in the Tigers's favor. Cornell went 1/5 on the power play, while Princeton went 1/3 on the power play.
Princeton finished the regular season 11th in the ECAC, ahead of only Brown. The ECAC playoffs ended for Princeton in a loss to Yale, pushing the best of three series to all three games with an overtime win in the second game. The season ended a far stretch from the previous one where Princeton landed in a three-way tie for fourth place with Cornell and RPI. Princeton ended up in the unenviable position of losing both tie-breakers and ending in 6th place. They lost the first round of the ECAC playoffs to St. Lawrence. The 2011-12 season was a tough re-building year for Princeton, but they look to come off of that year and build even stronger.
Princeton has only played four games this season, two exhibition and two regular season. They have lost all four. This may make some underestimate the team, as "a loss is a loss" but all loses have been by a single point. Each game seems to have a very different sort of story for the Princeton team. In their first exhibition games against Guelph, Princeton was unable to defend their lead. They had a blowout first period, scoring two goals, but were unable to hold on as Guelph tied it up in the third period of regulation and went on to win in overtime. The Tigers were perfect on the penalty kill but couldn't capitalize on the power play. In their second game, it was a scoring jamboree with Guelph notching six goals with the Tigers failing to mount a comeback scoring only five goals. The power play clicked that night, however. But exhibition games are hard to look at in terms of what a team may bring to the regular season. The intensity is different and often times teams play players with little experience.
Princeton took part in the Ivy Shootout along with Brown, Yale, and Dartmouth. Its first game was against Brown. Brown came out hard, and Princeton attempted a comeback a bit too late. The final score was Brown 2, Princeton 1, with all three goals being scored on even strength. Princeton was perfect on the penalty kill, but could not capitalize on their four power play opportunities. The next game was against Yale. Yale opened up the scoring, killing Princeton's chance at a perfect penalty record. Princeton attempted a comeback but it was not enough. They finished the game with a final score of Yale 3, Princeton 2. Princeton is 88% on the penalty kill and 14.3% on the power play. Princeton's goaltender in both games was Mike Condon. He has backstopped his team to a .918 save percentage. Respectable for a team who hasn't yet won a game.
Keys to the Game:
Surprisingly for a Princeton team, it has been outshot by both of its opponents. If Cornell wants to win, it will have to be vigilant on the penalty kill as well as 5-on-5. Of Princeton's three goals so far this season, one has been on the power play and the other two were even-strength goals. Cornell needs to capitalize wherever it can for goals this weekend and beat Condon. Condon seems to be the biggest part of why Princeton's games were so close. Getting one past him will be the main focus of the weekend. Another key would be to remain aware of the late comeback and not get complacent. Princeton has mounted comebacks (albeit failing ones) later in their games, so Cornell will need to make sure it can defend its lead, should it be so lucky to have one.
This game will be played in the historic Hobey Baker Memorial Rink. Hobey Baker, besides being a beautiful rink which has been around since 1923, is named after a Princeton alumnus who might sound familiar to college hockey fans. Hobart A.H. "Hobey" Baker attended Princeton University from 1910-1914 with a degree in history, politics, and economics while playing as quarterback for the Princeton football team and forward on the Princeton hockey team, and if there hadn't been a rule against playing more than two varsity sports, he would also have added to his already impressive resume outfielder to the baseball team for more than one season. He won three national championships in his time there (one for football and two for hockey). Baker worked for J.P. Morgan before enlisting in the U.S. Army where he died in service en route from France to the United States.
Besides being a wonderful and admirable person and Princetonian, what does Hobey Baker Memorial Rink and its namesake have to do with Cornell or college hockey? Maybe some of you have heard about the Hobey Baker Award which the NCAA instituted in 1981 and awards to the NCAA player who best "exhibits strength of character both on and off the ice" and "contributes to the integrity of the team and displays outstanding skills in all phases of the game." Cornell has had its fair share of finalists for the award, but never has had a winner. In the ECAC, the only school which has had one is Harvard. They have three. Only fifteen schools in the country have an award winner.
If you are at Hobey Baker this evening (or any other day throughout the season), make sure to walk around the rink, revel in the history, and watch a game in one of the most beautiful rinks in the country. And if you cannot make it to New Jersey, you can always check out the Union-Princeton game at Hobey Baker Rink on NBC Sports this season.