Thursday, March 8, 2018

Snow And Ice

Did you know Princeton has the nation's leaders in both goals and assists in men's hockey?

TigerBlog will get back to that. First, he'd like to sum up the entirety of the frantic, breathless local news coverage from yesterday:

It snowed.

Okay, so it snowed a lot. It obviously snowed a lot. Why do the TV news people not just say how much it's going to snow, when it's going to start and when it's going to end? Why does every major snowstorm have to include lots of remotes to reporters who are demonstrating that it is, in fact, snowing. Or that it's heavy wet snow. Or just slushy.

TigerBlog doesn't like snow. He especially doesn't like when the snow lingers and lingers long after the storm ends. He measures winters not by how cold it is or home many inches of snow there are but how many days you have to see snow on the ground.

With that as a measurement, winter is going to hang on for awhile, he's guessing. Oh well.

All of this takes him back to Groundhog Day. The groundhog predicted that it would be six more weeks of winter, which means that winter should extend to March 16. That's another week or so.

The winter season at Princeton will extend beyond that, going to at least the NCAA fencing championships, which will be in another two weeks. There are other teams who want to be competing beyond that, including two who will be playing this weekend.

One is the women's basketball team. The Tigers are in the Ivy League tournament starting Saturday at 6 against Yale at the Palestra. There will be a ninth straight postseason for the Tigers, since as the league champion Princeton is guaranteed at least an WNIT bid.

Princeton, though, would like to play in the NCAA tournament for the seventh time in nine years. To make that happen, the Tigers need to win the Ivy tournament first.

TigerBlog will talk more about the Ivy tournament tomorrow. For today, he'll focus on another team who competes in the league playoffs this weekend.

The men's hockey team defeated Brown 8-2 ad 7-1 a week ago in the opening round of the ECAC playoffs. The reward is a trip to Union for the quarterfinal round, with the hope to advance to the ECAC semifinals in Lake Placid.

It's a repeat of sorts of a year ago, when Princeton won an ECAC series at home (against Colgate) and then lost in two straight at Union. The difference between a year ago and now is that the Princeton-Colgate series went three very intense, very close games in a series where neither team ever led by more than two at any point of any game.

Princeton was swept at Union last year, losing 4-1 and 4-3 to the Dutchmen. Those scores, by the way, are the ones by which Princeton lost to Union during this regular season, 4-3 in overtime way back on Nov. 10 and then 4-1 on Feb. 17, when Princeton honored its 1998 and 2008 ECAC championship teams.

Here's an interesting little note about Princeton men's hockey: Princeton is 30-22-6 in its last 58 games; during that time, Princeton is 0-6-0 against Union and 30-16-6 against everyone else.

Going back further, Princeton has not defeated Union since the 2009 season. That's a span of 20 games without a win and a record of 0-17-3 during that time.

Princeton is the seventh seed in the tournament. Union is No. 2.

The other quarterfinal series have No. 6 Colgate and No. 3 Clarkson, No. 9 Quinnipiac at No. 1 Cornell and No. 5 Dartmouth at No. 4 Harvard.

Princeton, at 3.71 goals per game, is the No. 1 scoring offense team in the ECAC.

And then there are the individual numbers.

Ryan Kuffner leads Division I in goals per game with 28 goals in 31 games. Princeton also has the three, four and five leading goal scorers in the ECAC with David Hallisey, Max Veronneau and Eric Robinson.

Veronneau leads Division I in assists per game at 1.13, with 35 in 31 games. His 35 assists are second in a season at Princeton, behind John Messuri in the 1988-89 season.

Princeton actually has three of the top 16 assist leaders in the NCAA and the top three in the ECAC, with Josh Teves and Jackson Cressey not all that far behind Veronneau.

So yes, Princeton can score goals. And maybe Princeton is due for a win, or hopefully two, against Union.

TB has had enough of the snow. He'd be fine with a few more weeks of ice though.

No comments: