Monday, February 26, 2018

Winning Heps, And Staying Home - Again

And with that, the Winter Olympics are over.

BrotherBlog watched a lot of it, he said yesterday. His favorite athlete?

Ester Ledecka. She's the Czech woman who won the Super-G gold and then added the parallel giant slalom. That's one gold in skiing and another in snowboarding, and that's fairly impressive.

Like his brother, TigerBlog also watched a lot of the Olympics. There were so many events he liked, and he wrote about them the last two weeks.

To review quickly:
Plus side - cross country ski relays, alpine skiing, team pursuit speed skating, parallel snowboarding, ice dancing
Down side - shootouts in elimination hockey games, any events that were judged (except the ice dancing), Olympic commercials, NBC's coverage 

During the conversation yesterday, BrotherBlog said something that TB has also thought, and that is that now that these Games are over, these sports will mostly fade to the background for four more years. The athletes who gained all the notoriety will likewise not be seen or heard from much as the the sporting public goes back to focusing on the mainstream.

It's an interesting Olympic subplot. These two weeks are all you get for four years. Make the most of it. And the classic example of it is Michael Phelps. He dominates Olympic coverage and then vanishes for four more years.

Anyway, as TB said, he liked the Winter Olympics. He'll watch a lot of the next Summer Games, in 2020, in Tokyo.

So that's the Olympics. Closer to home?

The men's track and field team demolished the field to win the Ivy League Heptagonal championship, or, to use a bit of a pun, "ran away" from the field.

By how much?

Princeton won by 67 points over second-place Penn. That's the largest margin of victory in indoor Heps history.

Princeton had pretty much put away the championship by the time Day 1 was over, and it became a total blowout when the Tigers won the first four events yesterday.

If you want to see all the results, you can click HERE.

For Princeton, that's an indoor Heps title to follow the cross country title. That adds up to a shot at a "triple crown" of Ivy Heps championships, something that only Princeton has ever done - seven times on the men's side and twice o the women's.

It's the fourth consecutive indoor title for Princeton. More impressively, Princeton has finished first or second for 25 straight years.

Think about that. For a quarter-century, Princeton has finished first or second. There hasn't been "one of those days" that has seen the team fall any lower than that.

That's impressive.

Fred Samara runs an incredible program and has done so for 40 years. Ron Fogarty hasn't been at Princeton nearly as long, but TB will also use the word "incredible" to describe the rebuilding job he has done with Princeton men's hockey.

Fogarty has taken Princeton from four wins to five wins in his first two years and now 28 wins in the last two.

Also in the last two, Fogarty has had his team finish high enough in the ECAC standings to host a first round playoff series.

The Tigers played an epic best-of-three with Colgate a year ago, including a series-saving and game-tying goal with one second left in regulation and then overtime game-winner in Game 2 in what was one of the best games TigerBlog has ever seen.

Princeton entered the final weekend of the regular season at Clarkson and St. Lawrence in a five-team race for four home ice spots. After a tie with No. 20 Clarkson and then a 4-3 win over St. Lawrence on a goal in the final 90 seconds, Princeton picked up one of those four spots.

The three-point weekend left Princeton in seventh place in the final ECAC standings. It also left Princeton at 10-10-2 in the league, its first .500 league season since 2010-11.

Yes, Fogarty has done amazing things with Princeton hockey.

Next up is a home playoff series at Hobey Baker Rink this weekend against Brown. It'll be Friday and Saturday, then Sunday if necessary, with all games at 7.

If you're looking for the most misleading stat ever, Princeton averaged 3.5 goals per game against Brown in two meetings with the Bears this year. Why is that misleading?

Well, Princeton scored zero in its 3-0 loss to Brown in the first game this year and then scored seven in a 7-2 win in the second game. That first game was Nov. 18 in Princeton, by the way, and that just happened to be the same day that Princeton played its last football game of the season. The rematch was Feb. 9 at Brown.

Does any of that matter this weekend? Not in the least.

Regardless of what happens, it's a great accomplishment for Princeton to be staying home again.

Fred Samara wins another championship. Ron Fogarty earns another home series.

That's two coaches who know what they're doing right there. 

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