Somebodyâ€™s winning streak had to give when Quinnipiac visited No. 8 Princeton Tuesday in an ECACHL match-up at Hobey Baker Rink. It was the host Tigers who stretched their string to seven straight wins with a 2-1 triumph over the visiting Bobcats, who saw their own four-game victory cycle come to an end.
Zane Kalemba made 24 saves and picked up the win for Princeton (8-1-0, 7-1-0 ECACHL), while Bud Fisher posted 39 stops for Quinnipiac (6-5-1, 4-3-1 ECACHL). The Tigers, who outshot the Bobcats, 41-25, on the evening, also won at home for the first time in the all-time series, which began in 2005.
â€œI thought it was a good game,â€ said Princeton Coach Guy Gadowsky. â€œThe goalies both played extremely well, and it could have gone either way.â€
The Tigers broke on top at 3:56 of the opening period on a power play, just nine seconds after Quinnipiacâ€™s David Marshall had been sent off for hooking. Brad Schroederâ€™s shot was stopped by Fisher following a face-off in the Quinnipiac end, but the rebound went out to New Jersey native Sam Sabky on the other side and he swept it home at 3:56 for his second score of the season. Dan Bartlett drew the other assist on the play as the Tigers
tallied the first goal of the game for the seventh time in eight outings this year.
â€œWe struggled tonight,â€ said Quinnipiac Coach Rand Pecknold. â€œPrinceton took it to us in the first period, and we werenâ€™t ready to play.â€
Kalemba kept the score at 1-0 less than 20 seconds later when he slid across the net to make a right pad save on Scott Zurevinskiâ€™s quick shot from the slot. The period ended with Princeton holding a 22-7 advantage in shots on goal.
Play went back-and-forth in the middle stanza, with each team having at least one sustained flurry in the otherâ€™s zone. The best initial chance for Princeton came with 7:50 left, but Fisher kicked away Marc Hagelâ€™s blast from the high slot. Bobcat senior Chris Myers let one go to Kalembaâ€™s left with just under two minutes remaining, but his wrist shot from in close hit the post.
The Tigers then made it a 2-0 game just 39 seconds before the second intermission. Kevin Lohry carried the puck down the left side and centered across to Kevin Kaiser, who was standing all alone at the right post. Kaiser re-directed Lohryâ€™s pass into a half-empty net for his first goal of the campaign, while Matt Godlewski picked up the other
â€œLohry has been great all year,â€ said Gadowsky, who also gave kudos to Schroeder for his strong defensive play on the night. â€œTheir line has been hell to play against, and they have so much speed.â€
Pecknold didnâ€™t fault his goaltender on what turned out to be the game-winner, as he said his defense should have picked up Kaiser on the far post.
â€œBud played very well,â€ said Pecknold. â€œHe had a very good game, and he gave us a chance to stay in it.â€
The Bobcats did get back to within a goal just over three minutes into the third session. Just three seconds after Princetonâ€™s Brett Wilson was whistled for hooking, Marshall won a face-off to Kalembaâ€™s right and Bryan Leitch pushed the puck to Brandon Wong at the edge of the circle. Wong teed it up and slapped one past Kalemba on the glove side at 3:02 for his fourth marker of the season.
â€œWe battled a little better in the second and third,â€ said Pecknold. â€œPrinceton has a good team, and with Kalemba playing well, theyâ€™re tough to beat.â€
Marshall had two whacks at a rebound on a power-play with 7:15 left, but was denied both times by Kalemba. Lohry raced away with a long pass after Zach Hansen broke his stick on a shot from the blueline a minute later, but then couldnâ€™t get past a back-checking Hansen deep in the Quinnipiac end. The Tigers then killed off a second consecutive penalty, this time a holding minor to Lee Jubinville, and held on behind Kalemba in the final minutes as the Bobcats pressed for the tying goal but came up short.
â€œThey really skated well in the third,â€ said Gadowsky in giving credit to Quinnipiac. â€œThey got us back on our heels and we took some penalties, and without Zane and some good penalty-killing, it could have been different.â€
â€œWe put ourselves in a hole, and you canâ€™t afford to do that against a top ten team,â€ said Pecknold.
The two schools will meet again a week from tonight in a non-league game at Baker Rink, while Princeton will play in-between at the RPI Holiday Tournament this Friday and Saturday.