Women's Hockey: Without coach, starting goalie, Princeton splits pair vs. UConn
The women’s hockey team seemed like two different squads when it faced Connecticut in a two-game series at the Freitas Ice Forum on Wednesday and Thursday. After losing to the Huskies in a crushing 5-1 defeat on Wednesday, Princeton (6-10-2 overall, 2-8-2 ECAC) came out on Thursday and handily beat Connecticut 4-1.
Sophomore goaltender Ashley Holt started both games against Connecticut (3-15-2) in place of freshman Kimberly Newell, who was at the IIHF U-18 Women’s World Championship in Finland, along with head coach Jeff Kampersal ’92. Newell played for the Canadian team, saving 19 of 20 shots in the championship game, which Canada won 2-1 over Kampersal’s U.S. team.
In Newell’s place, Holt made 18 saves on Wednesday and notched another 17 on Thursday, including a second-period stop that prevented Connecticut from tying the game at 2-2. Huskies forward Kayla Campero broke down the ice on an uncontested fast break, but she was denied by Holt, who earned her first career win.
Senior forward Kelly Cooke gave the Tigers their first lead of the series with an unassisted goal at the 8:58 mark in Thursday’s first period. Connecticut forward Michela Cava tied the score at the end of the period with her team-leading eighth goal of the season.
Senior forward Corey Stearns put Princeton back on top four minutes into the second period. Stearns was assisted by sophomore defender Brianne Mahoney and freshman forward Molly Contini.
Contini added a goal of her own in the beginning of the third period, and Stearns scored an empty-net goal with 2:20 left to seal a 4-1 victory for the Tigers.
The first period of Wednesday’s game kept the Tigers from taking both games of the series. The Huskies’ Campero and Cava each scored within the first three minutes of the opening face-off, and Princeton left the frame with a 3-1 deficit that would prove insurmountable.
The silver lining for the Tigers was that they were only outshot 26-23 over the course of the game, which did not match the lopsided score. Princeton proved dominant the next night, outshooting the Huskies 31-18.
The split of the series leaves the Tigers at 6-10-2 as they head into the second part of their season. They will have a tough weekend ahead as they visit Harvard and Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday. Princeton lost to Harvard 9-1 and Dartmouth 3-1 at Baker Rink in October.
Princeton will need to tighten up its defense to avenge its early-season losses. If the Tigers let their opponents take as many shots on goal as they did against Harvard (49) and Dartmouth (31), it will be difficult to come away with a victory, whether their goalie is Newell, Holt or Martin Brodeur.
Ten of Princeton’s final 11 games are against ECAC opponents, and seven of the team’s contests will be on the road.
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