No. 9 Princeton got ready for the holidays with a 4-1 victory Wednesday over Quinnipiac before a sparse weeknight crowd at Hobey Baker Memorial Rink in a non-league matchup between the two ECACHL travel partners.
The line of sophomores Matt Arhontas and Mike Kramer and junior Mark Magnowski powered Princeton to its ninth win in its last 10 outings overall. The trio combined for three goals and five assists as the Tigers topped the Bobcats for the third time this season.
“We had a strong second period,” said Magnowski, of when he and his linemates did all their damage. “We moved the puck together, made good passes, and kept our feet moving.”
Zane Kalemba stopped 23 shots for Princeton (10-2-0), while Bud Fisher took the loss for Quinnipiac (6-6-1) with 17 saves on 21 shots through the first two periods of play. Nick Pisellini finished with 12 saves for the Bobcats over the final 20 minutes.
“It was definitely a big way for our team to bounce back, and me personally,” said Kalemba, who was pulled from a 6-4 loss to Mercyhurst on Nov. 29. “I didn’t have my best game last time, and it’s nice to get one last win before the break.”
“We definitely achieved better tonight,” said Princeton coach Guy Gadowsky. “We blocked shots, came back, and took hits to make a play.”
Princeton, which wore its new orange uniforms for the first time at home, took a 1-0 lead just 5:37 into the opening period. Kevin Lohry carried down the right side, broke over the blueline, cut in from the right circle and wristed a shot over Fisher’s glove for his fourth of the year. The lone assist went to Brandan Kushniruk.
Quinnipiac’s first good chance of the night came with just over six minutes remaining in the first period. The Bobcats jammed the puck into the low slot, where Kalemba made one save and then got across to make a pad stop on Yuri Bouharevich at the right post.
The Bobcats picked up the game’s first power play at 18:19, when Princeton’s Brett Wilson was whistled for hooking. Kalemba denied Chris Myers at the right post early on in the man advantage, and then snared David Marshall’s shot from the top of the right circle just before the buzzer sounded.
Princeton’s Tyler Beachell went off for interference two minutes into the middle session, and the Bobcats tied it up at 3:16. Marshall held the puck in the right corner of the offensive zone, and fed Zach Hansen at the right point. Hansen’s shot deflected off of a Princeton player in front and went past Kalemba for his fourth of the campaign. Beachell went back to the box at 6:39 for contact to the head with an elbow, but the Tigers killed off that infraction and regained the lead for good less than three minutes later.
Fisher stopped Arhontas at the left post, but the Tigers maintained control. Kramer then chipped at a pass into the low slot, and the puck glanced off up and over Fisher before landing in the Quinnipiac goal at 9:11 for Kramer’s second of the season, assisted by Magnowski and Jody Pederson.
“Magnowski saw me up high,” said Kramer. “A defenseman got a stick on my stick, and I got a piece of it and it went up in the air and over the goalie, so it was a little bit of luck.”
The duo wasn’t done, as the Tigers padded their lead on the power play at 14:17. Kramer dumped the puck into the left corner in the Quinnipiac zone, and Magnowski chased it down and whipped it in front to Arhontas, who redirected it home for his third goal.
“We got pucks to the net, and it started bouncing our way,” said Magnowski.
The Tiger trio joined forces once more just 3:38 later to make it a 4-1 game. Kramer passed to Arhontas, whose shot near the right post was stopped; but Magnowski was there to put the rebound in on the other side for his team-leading sixth goal of the season.
Pisellini replaced Fisher to start the third stanza, and the Bobcats then weathered back-to-back penalties and a subsequent 5-on-3 Princeton power play for 68 seconds in the scoreless final period.
“Our whole team is playing well,” said Kramer, who added that he and his linemates complement each other well. “We stuck to our game plan and went to the net hard, and that’s how we got our goals.”
Wednesday’s contest began an eight-game homestand for Princeton, although the Tigers will not return to action until Dec. 29 against No. 11 Minnesota State. Quinnipiac will host Providence on Friday evening before taking its own break for the holiday season.