It hasn’t taken long for Keith Goldberg and Aidan Trainor to develop a report on the ice this season for Princeton High School
Goldberg, a senior who sat out the first half of last season after transferring from the Hun School, is playing on the Little Tigers’ top line with Trainor and Ben Drezner.
In a 7-1 victory over Hopewell Valley in Princeton’s season opener on Tuesday night, Goldberg recorded two goals and four assists, while Trainor produced two goals and two assists and Drezner scored a goal.
“We were injured at the beginning of the preseason, so this was our first game on the ice together,” Goldberg said of himself and Trainor. “We ended last year together and started this year together. It took a little bit of time last year. We both play pretty high levels of hockey so our heads are always up looking for each other and after a while we just broke the barrier and it started clicking.”
After opening the season with the win over Hopewell, the Little Tigers came back Wednesday night and defeated Nottingham, 9-2, as nine different players scored goals.
“It was a good start,” Princeton coach Tim Chase after the win over Hopewell. “We were a little sloppy in the first period but I thought after that we got back on track.”
Chase is excited about having Goldberg from the start of the season this year. He made an impact after joining the Little Tigers last year and helped the team make a run to the state tournament semifinals.
“It makes a difference,” Chase said. “We missed him for the first 30 days last year. It is different with him in the lineup. This year we’re going to be able to roll three lines and each line is going to be able to contribute.
“They each know how to play hockey and I think they’ll feed off each other. They will control the flow of the game. They each play high level competitive hockey and they know how to read the play. They understand spacing very well.”
Princeton lost some key players from last year’s team but returns enough strong players to make the team a top contender in the Mercer County Tournament and in the state tournament.
“We lost Max Garlock who was really good on defense and that was a big hit for us,” Goldberg said. “(Justin Joyce) was very dominant whenever he was on the ice. But I think we also gained a lot more. We have a freshman, John Zammit, and he had a pretty good game today. I think once he is able to hit the net he is going to be dominant.
“And we have a few more freshmen who are stepping up and even some of the guys who didn’t play much last year are coming in and playing. Our first two lines for the most part are returning players so they know how hard it is and what role they have to play and what they have to get done.”
It also helps to have Goldberg for a full season. He scored 18 goals and assisted on 14 others last year despite playing just half the season. This year he is on the ice with the Little Tigers right from the start.
“It gives me a little more time to break in and get used to playing with the team before halfway through the season when we start seeing better competition,” Goldberg said. “Otherwise it is the same. We have the same goals and I think we have a very good team.
Princeton’s depth this season allows the team to play four lines, which is a luxury Chase loves to have with his team.
“They each will be able to hold their own and we need that against these better teams,” the Princeton coach said. “If you’re going to make a state playoff run you need to be able to roll three lines. This was a good win. Hopewell always plays with intensity and they work hard. They made us battle.”