PRINCETON, N.J. — The Princeton men’s hockey team scored twice in the first and stayed ahead of Clarkson all night in a 4-2 win on Saturday night at Baker Rink. Princeton freshman Brett Wilson and junior Grant Goeckner-Zoeller each had a goal and an assist, while senior Seamus Young added three helpers. Senior Eric Leroux made 37 saves in goal as Princeton extended its league-unbeaten streak to five games.
The Tigers are now 9-13-1 overall and 6-9-1 in the ECAC Hockey League while Clarkson fell to 13-13-2 overall and 6-9-1 in the league. The win completed Princeton’s first sweep of St. Lawrence and Clarkson since a pair of wins in the North Country at the start of the 1998-99 season. Princeton last swept the pair at home in January of 1987. The win also snapped Clarkson’s 15-game unbeaten streak against Princeton, which dated back to a Princeton 5-4 double-overtime win over Clarkson in the 1998 ECAC Championship game.
The win also extended Princeton’s league unbeaten streak to five games (4-0-1), the longest such streak since a five-game (4-0-1) unbeaten streak at the end of the 2001-02 season. Princeton last won four straight league games in November of 1994.
Clarkson came out of the gates strong, pinning the puck in the Tigers end for much of the first period and outshooting Princeton, 13-4, in the period. But the Tigers made those four shots count as two found their way into the net and Princeton skated into the first intermission holding a 2-0 lead.
Princeton opened the scoring at 11:34 when Goeckner-Zoeller collected a pass from Wilson on the doorstep and beat Clarkson netminder Kyle McNulty high for his 12th goal of the season. Senior Brian Carthas picked up his first of two assists on the goal, which was scored while the teams skated four-aside. Goeckner-Zoeller’s goal extended his point streak to seven games.
The Tigers added to the lead with a goal 1:03 later with a power-play goal from Wilson. Young and Carthas worked the puck at the blueline before Young fired a shot towards the goal. Wilson redirected the shot by McNulty to net his eighth goal of the season and his second in as many nights.
The second period was played evenly as both teams fired 13 shots on the opposing goaltenders. Only one of the 26 shots found the back of the net and it gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead. Young took a shot from the point that was deflected wide by Goeckner-Zoeller, but the puck came right to junior Kevin Westgarth on the far post who scored from a low angle for his fifth goal of the season.
Clarkson scored the first goal of the third period as it edged Princeton on shots in the period by a 13-8 margin. Clarkson also had three power plays in the frame, and its first goal came on one of them when Steve Zalewski scored from the slot off a rebound at the 6:55 mark. David Cayer and Michael Grenzy assisted on the goal.
Princeton reassumed its three-goal advantage and added a bit more insurance when junior Darroll Powe scored his fifth goal of the year at 11:01. After taking the puck from Young, Powe skated into the zone and looped behind the net before stopping and going back the other way. He pulled out in front and eventually fired a shot that found the twine to give the Tigers a 4-1 lead.
With five minutes to go, Clarkson picked up its third power play of the period and pulled McNulty. He ended up playing only 43 seconds of the final five minutes as he exited and entered the game multiple times in favor of the extra attacker. The move paid off once for Clarkson as the Golden Knights picked up an extra-attacker goal at 17:07 from Nick Dodge with assists to Chris D’Alvise and Jeff Genovy.
Clarkson continued to pressure after the goal and hit three posts in the final period, but could not crack Leroux again as he made 37 saves for the win and improved to 6-8-0. McNulty stopped 21 shots in the Clarkson goal and dropped to 7-8-0.