19, 2008 Princeton
Goalie Backstops Tigers to Albany
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
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
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
INCH: What is your major or concentration?
ZK: I'll declare sociology
at the end of the spring semester.
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.
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.
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
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
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 email@example.com.