While generating only 16 shots on net, Princeton still came home with a 4-1 win at St. Francis on a frigid Saturday night, Jan. 25. The victory kept the Tigers ahead of the Saints in the Mississippi 8 standings.
While St. Francis was on an early power play in the game, the Tigers’ Jake Green hustled on a break and drew a tripping penalty, negating the Saint advantage and turning play into a 4-on-4 situation. Two minutes later, Collin Buness pounced on a Saint turnover deep in their end, zipping the puck home for a 1-0 lead. Goalie Max Mattson maintained that edge by stopping consecutive shots on a SF rush and holding tough to the end of the period.
The Tigers took advantage of their next power play chance when Cam Paulson delivered a goal nearly six minutes into the second period. Mattson stood tall on 11 Saints’ shots over those 17 minutes. Billy Oakes and Tyler McAlpine added third-period goals for the Tigers.
Coach Jeff Hanson: “That was a good game for us. We blocked a ton of shots and kept them to the perimeter which was part of our goal going into the game. We played our best period of the night in the third after a lackluster second. They are not a bad team and that was a good win. It felt good to finally come out on top in a close game after the last few one goal games that didn’t end up going our way (STMA, Monti, Chisago).
• At home Jan. 23, Princeton got into a very tight game which Chisago Lakes won 3-2 on a goal with under six minutes to play. Paulson and Buness scored second-period goals to knot the game at 2-2. Mattson finished with 20 saves against the Wildcats, and McAlpine assisted on both PHS goals.
Coach Hanson: “We had a nice game vs. CL. It showed us that it was a fluke earlier in the year when they ran us out of their building 7-2 and that we can not only play with them but beat them. We will eventually have to get through them in the section tourney if we want to go to the state tournament, so it showed us where we are with them. We had plenty of chances to put that game away if we could have just finished on a couple of the many 2-0n-1 opportunities that we had.”
• The Tigers will aim to hold on to “The Rusty Skates” traveling trophy when they host Cambridge-Isanti on Saturday night, Feb. 1. Princeton’s home stand also includes a Jan. 30 game with section-partner Spring Lake Park (12-6) and Monticello-Annandale-Maple Lake Feb. 3.