When: Saturday February 21, 3:00 p.m.
Weather has delayed this contest 24 hours after it was originally supposed to be played, however, they will play on Saturday as the Princeton Tigers host the Hofstra Pride. The Pride enter the season 0-1 after a season-opening loss to the Marquette Golden Eagles. Meanwhile, Princeton won their opener against Manhattan in blowout fashion.
The two teams meet up in a rematch of last years contest which saw Princeton storm back and beat Hofstra 12-10. What will happen this year though?
Princeton offense vs. Hofstra defense
Edge: Princeton offense
The main difference between this year’s Princeton offense and last year’s offense is they won’t be relying on Tom Schreiber to kickstart the unit. Outside of losing Schreiber, this unit is deep and talented with players such as Mike Macdonald, Ryan Ambler, Jake Frocarro and Ryan Ambler. The four of them combined for 14 points against Manhattan and they will challenge the young Hofstra defensive unit.
The Hofstra defense is led by LSM Ryan Rielley who had two caused turnovers last week against Marquette. Finn Sullivan continues to help break in two new defensemen to the starting rotation on close defense as they try to take some heat off senior goalie Chris Selva. Selva got off to a good start last week by saving 12 shots against Marquette but he allowed 11 goals in the close loss.
Ultimately, this Princeton offense will give a young Hofstra defense trouble throughout Saturyda’s contest and Selva will have to have a very good day to keep Hofstra in it.
Hofstra offense vs Princeton defense
Edge: Slightly to Princeton
Junior attackman Sam Llinares will be the main focus for Princeton’s defense as he had four points last week against Marquette. Mike Malave also added two goals and sophomore Brier Davis got off to a great start with a hat trick which bodes well for Hofstra trying to replace some of the players they lost to graduation.
The Tigers close defense of Mark Strabo, Bear Goldstein and Alistair Berven will need to slide quickly and effectively to try and contain Linares as everything in the Prides offense goes through him.
Eric Sanschagrin had a nice debut as he saved nine shots against Manhattan but he will face a much tougher test from the Pride’s shooters. This should be a good barometer as to how good he will be in goal this season for the Tigers. The Tigers do return their entire starting defense which played poorly last season but should do better with more continuity this year and a steady starter in goal in Sanschagrin.
Hofstra will test the defense and get their chances but there is something to be said about returning an entire defense against an offense still trying to plug some holes in from last year.
Princeton’s Sam Bonafede took care of business against Manhattan as he won 9-of-11 faceoffs before turning it over to Jake Frocarro who went 3-of-7. Meanwhile, Kris Clarke went 12-of-22 on faceoffs against Marquette and scooped up nine ground balls. Clarke is one of the better faceoffmen in the country and I expect him to have a good game against Bonafede and give Hofstra some extra possessions.
Last year’s game was really close and I expect the same result to occur this year. Princeton has a big edge on offense but if Selva makes a couple of saves early and Clarke can control the faceoff ‘X’ then Hofstra has a great shot at winning their first game of the season.
Ultimately, Princeton’s experience and talent will win out by a score of 10-8.