PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton lived and died with penalties in its game against St. Lawrence on Saturday night.
Sure, the Tigers scored an impressive three goals on eight attempts, but they also gave up four power play goals en route to a 4-4 final against St. Lawrence, their third straight tie.
“The guys gave us a good effort on the penalty kill,” said Princeton coach Len Quesnelle. “You have to take in all of the attempts that they had to kill off.”
The tie left Princeton, now at 1-0-3 (0-0-2 ECAC), as the only unbeaten team left in the nation.
Both teams saw their momentum slowed down by numerous penalty calls, especially in the first period. Overall, Princeton was whistled for 11 infractions, and St. Lawrence had to endure eight trips to the penalty box.
One player who wasn’t slowed down by all of the calls, or anything else for that matter, was Princeton’s Chris Corrinet. The senior winger paced the Tigers’ attack with a two goals and a pair of assists.
“Chris has the ability to be a difference-maker in a game,” said Quesnelle. “He showed that in the third period tonight.”
The first period was when most of the penalties took place; referee Dan Murphy called 13 of them, five on St. Lawrence and eight on the Tigers. The first penalty was called 18 seconds into the game, and there was no five-on-five play until there was 8:48 left in the first.
“From the first drop of the puck, the referee hit us with a call,” said Quesnelle. “That set the tone for the rest of the period. It felt like we were on the penalty kill for the entire period.”
The Tigers escaped a penalty-invested first period with a 2-1 lead. After yielding a 5-on-3 goal to St. Lawrence, Princeton answered back with two power play goals of its own. Sophomore defenseman Neil McCann made up for his back-to-back penalties with a goal from the left-wing side. Brad Parsons gave the Tigers the lead when he converted a pass from the behind the net from Kirk Lamb.
St. Lawrence went to work right away in the second period. Erik Anderson picked up his second goal of the game for the Saints just 1:20 into the period. Princeton regained the lead when Chris Corrinet deflected a puck on the doorstep past Sean Coakley. That lead was short-lived, as St. Lawrence picked up its third power-play goal of the game in the closing seconds of the second period.
Mike Gellard scored St. Lawrence’s fourth power-play goal five minutes into the third as the Saints gained its second lead of the game.
Corrinet scored on a breakaway with about three minutes left in the third. The goal was one at even strength for either team, and more importantly for the Tigers, it tied the score at four.
“We were in line change, and I just took off,” said Corrinet. “I found some room up the middle, and took a shot. I’ve had some trouble getting chances, so I tried something different.”
That tying goal came with some controversey. Facing a lot of Princeton pressure, the St. Lawrence defense attempt to ice the puck with a long clear. But the puck hit a Princeton player who was coming off the ice on a line change, catching St. Lawrence off guard and allowing Corrinet to break free. St. Lawrence contended that a too many men on the ice penalty should have been called, but to no avail.
The game would not have even reached overtime if not for Princeton goalie Dave Stathos. With seven second left in regulation, he stopped Anderson’s wraparound attempt right on the goal line, not to mention, his 38 saves overall.
“Dave was unbelievable tonight,” said Quesnelle. “He’s off to a great start and is capable of having a big year.”
Stathos gave up eight goals on the weekend, yet was nothing short of stellar in the two games.
The tie against St. Lawrence, along with Friday’s stalemate with Clarkson, marks the first time in 10 years the Tigers went unbeaten against the two teams in one weekend at home.
Quesnelle realizes how important it is to take points any way possible.
“When you can walk away with two points, it’s always positive,” said Quesnelle. “If we got more points it would’ve been even better, but those points will be valuable come the end of the season.”
Joe Dyton covers Princeton hockey for The Trentonian.