PRINCETON, N.J. – The first shot Austin Shaw faced in his home debut was a goal. Or at least that’s what the officials thought, signaling a goal after a National Team Development Program player poked the puck at the corner of the net.
After the call, the officials left the ice to watch the replay.
“It’s never fun to go in cold, but [I] had to go in there,” Shaw said. “Going in and then having a 2-on-1 and then a backdoor [goal] and then having it reviewed was a little nerve-wracking.
“But I saw it hit the post and I didn’t think it went in, so I was kind of surprised that they announced it as a goal.”
The officials overturned the call, keeping the score 3-0 in favor of the NTDP.
“It’s never fun being scored on your first shot. So that definitely felt good and I think that was a big sense of relief for the guys too,” Shaw said.
“That would’ve been the wrong tone to set – new fresh goalie in gets scored on, especially the freshman. I think it was good for the team. That was a boost.”
After the review, Shaw was solid in net. The freshman goaltender, who replaced sophomore Ben Halford in the third, finished the game with five saves and no goals allowed through 12:46 minutes of play.
Before the game, Princeton head coach Ron Fogarty knew he was going to play Shaw and Halford. Meanwhile, starter Colton Phinney received some much-needed rest.
“Right before the game, right before we went out, [Fogarty] said be ready to go,” Shaw said. “I wasn’t sure if that meant be ready to go in case Halford needs some relief or if I was going in,”
At the end of the second period, Fogarty told Shaw he would play. The freshman netminder said he was a little nervous to take the ice.
“A little bit, but it was in a good way compared to that scrimmage we had against Brown,” Shaw said. “When we played up there I had a whole 20 minutes to just sit and get real nervous and it wasn’t the right kind of nerves.
“[Tonight] I was excited, felt relaxed, felt good going into the game. [I] felt like practice has been going well.”
In practice, Shaw has been observing both Halford and Phinney to pick up their habits.
“There’s plenty of stuff from the junior level when coming up to college that has to change,” Shaw said. “[The] game happens quicker and it’s a little bit more physical because you have to be ready at all times. Especially, Colton’s great at reading the ice and knowing where guys are, so [I’m] just trying to pick up on those things.”
It was Shaw’s first appearance since a preseason jamboree in Brown a week before the season’s start. But unlike at the jamboree, this time Shaw took the ice with a complete set of gear – including a painted mask.
“Finally,” Shaw said of having his mask, which was completed the weekend Princeton hosted St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
Until then, the netminder wore a blank white mask.
“[I] started working on it in April, pretty much when I came home from juniors,” Shaw said. “Franny Drummond, he does a lot of the Flyers masks and he does a great job, I know he’s got some personal stuff going on. You got to respect that, there’s not much you can do [about] it.”
Shaw’s mask features several Princeton symbols, including the school’s “P,” the university shield and a tiger. The right side of Shaw’s mask highlights the Denver skyline and the Colorado mountains.
“[It’s] a little touch from home. That was really important for me. I wanted to incorporate Colorado,” Shaw said. “Franny did a fantastic job. The detail’s astounding. I’m really happy with it.”
Far away from the mountains of Colorado, Shaw made his first appearance on the historic ice at Baker.
“It felt good to get in front of the crowd at Hobey on home ice too,” Shaw said. “It was a good experience.”