Friday, December 27, 2019

Weekend Preview: Princeton Tigers

Captain Karlis Cukste and Quinnipiac open the second half of the season this weekend

Princeton Head Coach: Ron Fogarty (6th season)

2019-2020 Princeton record: 2-8-3 (0-4-2 ECAC)

All-time vs. Princeton: Quinnipiac leads series 17-12-1

Princeton Key Players: Jackson Cressey (F), Corey Andonovski (F), Christian O'Neill (F), Lima Grande (F), Spencer Kersten (F), Derek Topatigh (D), Matthew Thom (D)  Ryan Ferland (G)

Quinnipiac is set to open the second half of the season this weekend with a home and home with the Princeton Tigers. It has been a tough start to the season for Ron Fogarty's team struggling to a 2-8-3 record in the first half of the season. The Tigers got cleaned out after last season losing four of their top five scorers which accounted for 127 of the 229 points for Princeton. Gone are Ryan Kuffner, Max Veronneau, Alex Riche and Josh Teves and it has been a struggle to replace that production so far for Princeton. A team that failed to live up to expectations last year has really fallen off this season with the lack of high end talent up front and inconsistent play on the back end.

When you lose the likes of Kuffner, Veronneau and Riche up front, its expected that goals will be hard to come by. So far that has been the case for Princeton who have averaged 1.92 goals per game this season. Senior Jackson Cressey (11 points) and sophomore Corey Andonovski (11 points) have led the way for the Tigers this season but they aren't getting a lot of help from the younger players who need to step up for Princeton in order to replace the talent that was lost. The Tigers power play which used to be a huge strength has fallen off to 15.5% this season.

Princeton's defense this season is giving up 3.15 goals per game. The Tigers just have not much consistency on the blue line as they have been moving different players in and out of the line up. Captain Derek Topatigh has probably been Princeton's best defensemen on this young season. Having Reid Yochim limited to just five games has hurt as well. He has really taken a step back from his strong freshman season when he had 14 points. Since his strong freshman year he has only two assists in his last 36 games played. Princeton however has excelled on the penalty kill at 84.8% this season so that is an area where they can look to have an edge on Quinnipiac.

Goal-tending has been an issue for the Tigers as Ryan Ferland has really struggled this season with a 1-5-2 record and a 3.12 goals against average in eight games. This has opened the door for both sophomore Jeremie Forget and freshman Aidan Porter getting some playing time. Forget has actually been the Tigers best goaltender going 1-1 in four games with a 1.98 goal against average. The lack of consistent goal-tending is one of the reasons why Princeton has struggled so far this season.

After sweeping the Tigers last season, Quinnipiac comes into this series in a must win position and need to sweep Princeton again. They are 10th in the ECAC standings and need to add ECAC points in order to potentially avoid going on the road in the first round.

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