November 25, 2004
Fresh Princeton

By Joe Gladziszewski

 ECACHL Notebook

Princeton sophomore forward Grant Goeckner-Zoeller has 15 points this year after scoring 20 as a freshman.

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In last week’s ECACHL notebook, Union coach Nate Leaman said that preparing to face Princeton this season is a difficult task because of how much the Tigers have changed their style of play under new coach Guy Gadowsky.

So, exactly what is Gadowsky trying to accomplish at Princeton?

“We want to score goals, and we play to do that. We’re going to give up some chances as a result, but we want to score. I think the players are having fun with what we’re doing and responding to how we want to play,” he said.

That certainly is a change for the Tigers, who have been among the lowest-scoring teams in the nation over the last two years. Princeton averaged exactly 2.0 goals per game in the last two seasons, with 62 goals in 31 games each year. The leading individual scorers were Chris Owen with 23 points in 2002-03 and Grant Goeckner-Zoeller with 20 points in 2003-04.

As a matter comparison, Goeckner-Zoeller already has 15 points this year, and the Tigers are averaging nearly double the scoring output with 34 goals in nine games for an average of 3.8.

Turning the low-scoring methodical Princeton team into today’s version wasn’t difficult, according to Gadowsky.

“The players here are so intelligent. From a coaching standpoint, we just gave them a blue print and they’ve followed it,” he said.

Princeton is riding a two-game winning streak after Saturday’s 3-2 victory over Rensselaer with volunteer assistant coach Ken Hitchcock in attendance, and Tuesday’s 6-3 win over Yale.

Princeton’s scoring chart is led by sophomore forward Grant Goeckner-Zoeller and junior forward Dustin Sproat who have 15 points each. Defenseman Luc Paquin also has 15 points with three goals and 12 assists, with four of those assists coming in Tuesday’s win over Yale. Patrick Neundorfer centers a line with Goeckner-Zoeller and Sproat, which is the top line for the Tigers.

Neil Stevenson-Moore and Sebastian Borza have recently emerged as viable scoring threats at the forward positions, giving Princeton some depth up front.

Princeton has a 4-3-0 record in ECACHL play, and is just one win shy of matching its total number of league wins from last year.


Vermont rolling – The Vermont Catamounts own the longest unbeaten streak in college hockey with a 6-0-3 record over their last nine games. The Cats rolled past Massachusetts on Tuesday night, to continue a great run of play that began with a win and a tie at Minnesota Duluth on Halloween weekend.

Freshman goaltender Joe Fallon has stepped into the lead role this year, but last year’s top goalie, Travis Russell, is no slouch and he stopped 23 shots in the win over UMass.

Coach Kevin Sneddon was particularly pleased with how his team responded after a tough pair of ECACHL games against Cornell and Colgate last weekend.

“It took a lot out of us this past weekend to play well against Cornell and come back and beat Colgate, and then really on not much rest at all and not much game preparation, to come out tonight and play with that kind of enthusiasm and that kind of energy it looked like we didn’t even play on the weekend. I’ve got to give props again to Paul Goodman (Vermont’s strength and conditioning coordinator),” Sneddon continued. “He’s got these guys in incredible shape, and we are able to skate with anyone in the country. They put the commitment and time in this summer, and it¹s paying off right now.”

Boston’s best – When Mark Mazzoleni’s coaching tenure at Harvard came to an end, one point that was raised during conversation was that Mazz was a Wisconsin guy and never became fully acclimated to the Boston hockey scene. That criticism of Mazzoleni’s Harvard years became more valid upon Ted Donato’s appointment as head coach.

Donato is a Boston native and Harvard alum and grew up with a full appreciation of the Boston hockey and Beanpot culture. It’s not a coincidence that Harvard’s team has responded to that, with recent non-league wins over then-No. 1 Boston College and Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Boston University, which is also nationally ranked.

It’s the first time that Harvard has beaten BC and BU in the same season since 1999. Either BC or BU will get a chance for revenge on Valentine’s Day in the second Monday of the Beanpot. Harvard faces Northeastern in the Beanpot semifinals on Feb. 7.

Home for the holiday – Many college hockey players don’t get the chance to spend the Thanksgiving weekend at home, but count Les Haggett among the lucky ones. Brown’s senior captain will be with his Bears team at Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend. Haggett’s hometown of Norwood, N.Y. neighbors Potsdam and is less than a 15-minute drive from Canton.


Great Weekend Getaway
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Harvard at St. Lawrence (Fri.); Harvard at Clarkson (Sat.)
When Harvard faces St. Lawrence on Friday, it’ll be a matchup of two teams that have enjoyed more success outside of the league than in it. Saturday’s Crimson visit to Cheel is a rematch of last year’s thrilling ECACHL championship game, which saw Harvard score the winning goal with 37.3 seconds remaining.

While You’re There: If you’re into healthy eating, then disregard this item, but stop by Sergi’s in Potsdam for their famous pizza rolls – pizza dough wrapped around a filling of sauce and cheese, sometimes with pepperoni, and then deep fried.

Stick Salute

Brown’s game-winning goal at Minnesota Duluth on Saturday came with just one-tenth of a second remaining in the third period. Brown lost a face-off in the Duluth end of the rink, but Sean Hurley intercepted a clearing pass and it led to the goal by Jeff Prough. The Bears took advantage of an opportunity rather than coasting into overtime.

Bench Minor

Satellite packages and the expansion of cable television has led to more college hockey being broadcast than ever before, but can it ever be enough? I was surprised to learn that none of the three Tuesday games featuring ECACHL teams were televised.

Of the eight teams participating in the tournaments hosted by Rensselaer and Providence this weekend, Union is the only one with a winning record. The Dutchmen appeared in the INCH Power Rankings this week at No. 18.

• For more on Vermont, see this week’s Hockey East notebook by Nate Ewell, who spoke with Maine’s Tim Whitehead and Colgate’s Don Vaughan about what Hockey East can expect when the Catamounts join the league next season.

• If you think that Yale’s nine-game losing streak is bad, and you should, consider that the Bulldogs lost their final seven games of last year and are currently mired in a 16-game losing streak.

• When St. Lawrence hosts Harvard on Friday, the Saints will return to the ice after a nine-day layoff. SLU is 0-6-1 in its last seven games immediately following games against Clarkson.

• Dartmouth’s Lee Stempniak is among the best players in college hockey, and he’s been the key to the Big Green’s success this year. Dartmouth has won all four games in which Stempniak has scored.

• Brown freshman goalie Adam D’Alba made 44 saves in his first career start, a 2-1 win over Minnesota Duluth.

• Just the facts, ma'am: Union’s Jordan Webb has 11 goals in 12 games. Not all have come on Friday, however. If you're confused, feel free to run a Google search on the old TV cop show 'Dragnet'.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report.

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