PRINCETON, N.J. — Union wanted a win Saturday night to keep hopes alive for a first round playoff series at its home, Achilles Rink. All the Skating Dutchmen received was its Achilles heel — penalties.
Union (12-10-6, 7-8-3 ECAC) took nine minor penalties and Princeton scored on two of them as the Tigers marched to a 4-2 victory at Hobey Baker Rink in front of 1,743.
“Our team does not want home ice badly enough,” said Union coach Kevin Sneddon. “If they did, they wouldn’t be taking these stupid penalties. The players that took them should feel ashamed because it is costing us a chance at home ice.”
Princeton, on the other hand, played as complete a game as it has all year, rattling off four straight goals after Union went ahead 1-0 late in the first period.
Senior forward Brad Parsons scored both power-play tallies 3:08 apart in the second period to give the Tigers a 2-1 edge, a lead it would not relinquish.
The first goal came at 5:30 as Parsons took a beautiful cross-crease pass from freshman Luc Paquin, and he slammed it home. Parsons made the Skating Dutchmen pay for the next penalty they took, putting a wrist shot top shelf through a big screen set by 6-foot-5-inch George Parros.
“We came out flat in the first period,” said Princeton coach Len Quesnelle. “David Del Monte and Brad Parsons were able to get it going for us on the power play and it was nice to be able to put them away in the third period.”
Paquin had the best game of his young career, assisting on three of Princeton’s goals and playing with a confidence that the Tigers sorely need out of its younger players.
“I’m starting to get a feel for the league,” Paquin said. “I’m getting more ice time and my play has improved because of it.”
The Tigers’ opportunism was almost the complete opposite of the game it played on Friday night when Rensselaer cashed in when the chance presented itself in a 5-3 win for the Engineers.
Moreover, Princeton denied Union at the other end of the ice. The Tigers took nine penalties themselves and killed off a 31-second two-man advantage for Union early in the second period.
Goaltender Dave Stathos made 39 saves for the home team. Neil Stevenson-Moore and Dan Hursh scored in the third period to make the score 4-1 before Kris Goodjohn gave the Skating Dutchmen a chance to make things interesting at the end with a goal at 14:14.
“I think the guys on this team are starting to feel better about themselves,” Quesnelle said. “If we continue to play our best hockey we’ll be fine.”
At the other end of the ice, Sneddon couldn’t have been more displeased with his team’s performance.
“When you have a 75=percent penalty kill, you can’t keep taking penalties,” he said. “I haven’t decided yet what I’m going to do about it, but I will get my point across.”
Princeton now heads to Dartmouth and Vermont as it tries to improve its playoff standing while Union goes to Brown and Harvard.