March 19, 2008
Princeton Goalie Backstops Tigers to Albany

By Joe Gladziszewski

The 2007-08 Princeton Tigers have taken strides toward the top of ECAC Hockey, and have a chance this weekend to win the program's second-ever ECAC Hockey championship and return to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in Princeton history.

ECAC Hockey

Zane Kalemba had two shutouts in last weekend's quarterfinal series against Yale. With four shutouts on the season, the sophomore goalie has tied a Princeton single-season record.

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Sophomore goalie Zane Kalemba is a New Jersey native and posted a pair of shutouts last weekend in a quarterfinal series win over Yale (sandwiched around a 4-3 loss). He has four shutouts this season, which ties a Princeton single-season record. One of those shutouts, the first of his career, came at Colgate on Nov. 3. That capped a four-point weekend for the Tigers that saw them get off to a good start en route to an eventual second-place finish.

The Tigers are the highest remaining seed at this weekend's Bank of America ECAC Hockey Championships and will face Colgate in the early semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday. Inside College Hockey chatted with Kalemba about life at Princeton the Tigers' expectations for this weekend.

Inside College Hockey: You're one of two New Jersey natives (Saddle Brook) on the Princeton roster. Describe your path to Princeton.

Zane Kalemba: I went to prep school at Hotchkiss for three years, and there were always connections with the Ivy League teams because of some of the alums and I got to be very familiar with the Ivy League. I played a season in the USHL and that was during the summer when Coach Gadowsky got to Princeton. I made an unofficial visit at that time and liked what I saw. I knew that I wanted to be a part of turning this program around.

INCH: Had you ever played at Baker Rink when you were growing up?

ZK: Just once, probably as a squirt or a peewee. I played eight years with the New Jersey Junior Devils youth hockey program and we played against a Princeton youth team at Baker Rink.

INCH: How's life at Princeton? The hockey, the school, the atmosphere?

ZK: The first thing is that it's a great group of guys, and the school is the best education that you're going to get anywhere. Everyone on campus is really excited and enthusiastic about what we've been able to do.

INCH: What is your major or concentration?

ZK: I'll declare sociology at the end of the spring semester.

ECAC Hockey
Semifinal Capsules

2. Princeton Tigers
Record: 19-13-0 (14-8-0 ECACH)
Tigers Note: Princeton finished out the 2006-07 season with a 14-10-1 record in its last 25 games. With a 19-13-0 record this season, the Tigers are 33-23-1 over the last 57 games.
How Princeton Wins: Focus, poise, and maturity will be the keys for Princeton against a stingy opponent in Colgate that won't give anything up easily. The Tigers will want to play the game at a higher tempo than the Raiders, but can't force the issue against an opportunistic opponent.

3. Harvard Crimson
Record: 16-12-4 (12-7-3 ECACH)
Crimson Note: Since the ECAC Hockey Championships moved from Lake Placid to Albany, Harvard has advanced to the championship weekend five times in six years.
How Harvard Wins: The Crimson's resurgent offense showed no signs of slowing down with 18 goals in three games against Quinnipiac. Mike Taylor has been a big-game player for Harvard this year and had eight points last weekend.

5. Cornell Big Red
Record: 18-13-3 (12-9-1 ECACH)
Big Red Note: The Big Red rank first in ECAC Hockey (overall statistics) in power-play percentage at 20.5 and penalty-killing at 87.0 percent.
How Cornell Wins: Make it special. Cornell has had at least one power-play goal in all five of its postseason games so far. Make it personal: Cornell can avenge a loss to Harvard in the last regular-season game of the season at Lynah Rink that bumped the Big Red to fifth place in the standings.

8. Colgate Raiders
Record: 18-16-6 (8-9-5 ECACH)
Raiders Note: The Raiders have lost their last five ECAC Hockey semifinal games. The last time they won a semifinal was the last time they won the tournament, in 1990.
How Colgate Wins: Colgate doesn't have the luxury of playing a three-game series this weekend, after rallying to win two straight games in the first two rounds of the tournament after dropping the opening contest against St. Lawrence and at Clarkson. It's imperative that they get off to a great start against a Princeton team that is getting its first taste of ECAC Hockey's championship weekend.

INCH: Tell me about some of your most interesting classes.

ZK: One of the classes I'm in now is called Creativity and Innovation in Society. In the first half of the class we discussed how people define genius, and the process of developing solutions to different problems, and looking at things from many frames of reference. Most of the time solutions are found by people outside of the loop, rather than those that are immersed within it. Young people who can bring a fresh perspective to the situation. Last year was mostly pre-requisites but I liked one of the labs I took on Civil Engineering. We studied structures, buildings, bridges, and things like that.

INCH: This Princeton team is achieving things that haven't been done in a long time by this program. Do you realize the historical impact this season might have, or are you focused on the present?

ZK: I think it goes to the beginning of this season, and even the beginning of last season. It's been our goal to make strides as a program. Right now we're pretty wrapped up in the moment because the season is still going, but I'm sure that once the summer rolls around we'll reflect on it a little more. At this point we don't want to sit back and look at what we've done because there's more that we want to accomplish.

INCH: Your team, as well as Harvard, has an extended exam break prior to the second half of the season. How does that affect your team?

ZK: I think it helps us and I've seen it in the last two years. It gives you time to get some rest and catch up on school work. If you've got bumps and bruises or other injuries those have time to heal up. Most of all, you're able to get mentally focused and that helps down the stretch.

INCH: Take us through the Yale series last weekend. You got a shutout win on Friday, then lost on Saturday, and came back on Sunday with another win.

ZK: We have a little song or chant that we've done in the locker room. After Friday's win, we decided not to do that because we knew that we hadn't won anything yet and had to come out with another good effort on Saturday. After that, it was kind of the same mentality, just one game at a time and we knew to get over it and come out as a confident, hard-working team.

INCH: What kind of song?

ZK: It's just a kind of generic song that you can insert any team name into. One of the seniors (Keith Shattenkirk) leads the chant and everyone repeats it.

INCH: What do you expect from Colgate on Friday? You beat them twice in the regular season.

ZK: That is definitely not a team to be taken lightly, and when you're in the playoffs the records don't matter. Colgate is a very good team and they've got one of the best goalies in the league, probably the best, in (Mark) Dekanich. We just need to know that no matter who we play, we need to play our game and we need to outwork them.

INCH: How does it feel to be the goaltender playing behind a team that led the conference in scoring?

ZK: It's definitely better than playing on a team that doesn't score, but it's not something that you really think about. I know that I have to do my part and play my game. Even if the offense isn't scoring, we can still win a game that is low scoring.

A variety of sources were utilized in the compilation of this report. Joe Gladziszewski can be reached at