Princeton’s Rivalry: A Historical Look at Matchups


Princeton University, located in the quaint town of Princeton, New Jersey, is a prestigious Ivy League institution renowned for its academic excellence and rich history. But for many sports enthusiasts, Princeton is known for its fierce athletic rivalries, particularly in the world of ice hockey. The Princeton Tigers have a storied tradition of producing top-notch hockey players, and their intense matchups against other powerhouse schools have captivated fans for decades. In this article, we will take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of Princeton’s most important hockey matchups throughout history, shedding light on the school’s dominance on the ice and cementing its place in the annals of college hockey.

The Birth of a Rivalry: Princeton vs. Yale

In the early 1900s, Princeton and Yale engaged in an intense rivalry on the ice, with both teams vying for dominance in the collegiate hockey scene. These two Ivy League schools had already established a formidable rivalry in other sports, and hockey was no exception. Their first matchup in 1901 ended in a 4-4 tie, setting the stage for many heated battles to come.

But it was in 1911 that the rivalry truly took shape, when the legendary Hobey Baker joined Princeton’s hockey team. Baker, who would later become known as the Greatest All-Around Athlete in American History, was a standout player for the Tigers and played a pivotal role in their two consecutive national championships in 1911 and 1912. His skill, speed, and sportsmanship on the ice not only solidified Princeton’s dominance over Yale, but also left a lasting legacy on the sport of hockey.

Princeton vs. Harvard: A Battle of Brains and Brawn

In the world of Ivy League athletics, the rivalry between Harvard and Princeton is a no-brainer. These two prestigious institutions have been competing against each other in various sports for over a century, with each game adding fuel to the already fiery competition between them. But it was in ice hockey that the rivalry truly came to a head, as both schools consistently produced exceptional teams and players.

Some of the most memorable matchups between these two Ivy League giants took place in the 1980s. In 1989, Princeton crushed Harvard’s hopes of a perfect season with a 7-4 win, securing their spot in the NCAA tournament. The following year, Harvard got their revenge, defeating Princeton in the ECAC championship game and earning their first NCAA tournament appearance since 1976.

However, it was the 2008 season that truly showcased the intense rivalry between these two schools. The Harvard-Princeton game in January of that year was a nail-biter, with both teams battling it out in overtime and eventually ending in a 3-3 tie. But it was the rematch in February that truly captured the hearts of hockey fans. In a thrilling back-and-forth game, Princeton scored the winning goal in the last seconds of the third period, securing their spot as the Ivy League champions and cementing their dominance over Harvard.

Princeton vs. Cornell: A Tale of Two Powerhouses

No discussion of Princeton’s hockey rivalries would be complete without mentioning the relentless competition between the Tigers and the Cornell Big Red. These two schools have long been powerhouse programs in the ECAC, each boasting talented players and a strong commitment to excellence on the ice.

The 2008-2009 season was a particularly memorable one for Princeton and Cornell, as both teams battled for the top spot in the conference. Their first matchup that season was an intense 2-1 win for Cornell, but Princeton came back with a vengeance in the playoff finals, securing the ECAC championship with a 5-0 win over Cornell. This victory also marked the first time in 10 years that Princeton had won both the Ivy League and ECAC titles in the same season, solidifying their dominance over their rival in the process.

In the following years, the rivalry between these two schools continued to heat up, with each game more intense than the last. The 2010-2011 season saw Cornell delivering a crushing 7-1 defeat to Princeton, only to have the Tigers come back and defeat them in the ECAC playoffs. Such intense matchups have only served to fuel the rivalry and keep fans on the edge of their seats, eagerly anticipating the next face-off between these two hockey powerhouses.

A Legacy of Dominance on the Ice

Throughout the years, Princeton has proven time and time again that they are a force to be reckoned with in the world of college hockey. With a record of 8 Ivy League championships, 12 conference titles, and numerous appearances in the NCAA tournament, the Tigers have cemented their place in the annals of college hockey history.

Their intense rivalries with other top schools have not only been a source of entertainment for fans, but also a testament to the school’s commitment to excellence in athletics. The stories and memories of these matchups will be passed down from generation to generation, ensuring that the legacy of Princeton’s hockey dominance lives on.

The rich history of Princeton hockey is not only marked by their impressive success on the ice, but also by their fierce rivalries with other top schools. From their early battles with Yale to their intense matchups with Harvard and Cornell, Princeton has solidified its place in the world of college hockey with their unwavering dedication to the sport and their commitment to excellence. And as long as the Tigers continue to produce top-notch players, their legacy of dominance on the ice will live on.



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