Over fall break, the women’s hockey team had a tough slate of ECAC opponents to officially open its season. The Tigers came out 2-2, with a win over Dartmouth, a loss to No. 7 Harvard, a one-goal loss in a very tough game against No. 3 Cornell and a win against Colgate.
The team worked hard in the offseason and was happy to finally get on the ice.
“We focused on sticking to our four core values (tough, disciplined, competitive and grateful) and being conditioned,” senior forward Denna Laing said. “Working towards applying these values everyday has made for productive practices and translated into improved play in games.”
Before officially starting the season, Princeton had an exhibition game against McGill and a scrimmage against Brown. The team lost 4-1 to McGill (9-4 overall, 4-0 RSEQ) but won 2-1 against Brown (1-2-1, 0-1-1 ECAC).
The Tigers started the season with an away game at Dartmouth (1-4-0, 1-3-0) and kept their momentum from the game against Brown. Dartmouth opened up the game with a goal halfway through the first period, but freshman forward Cassidy Tucker equalized the score just two minutes later. The Big Green scored early in the second period to take the lead and held the Tigers scoreless in that period, taking the lead going into the third period. Princeton fought back hard, though, with Laing scoring just 40 seconds into the third period. The Tigers rode that momentum as freshman forward Hillary Lloyd scored the go-ahead goal in the eighth minute. The Tigers held their lead to make the final score 3-2. Sophomore goalie Kimberly Newell notched 28 saves. Each team had 30 shots on goal.
Princeton did not fare as well against the seventh-ranked Crimson (3-1-0, 3-1-0). Harvard had jumped to a 2-0 lead by the end of the first period, scoring in the 10th and 19th minutes while Princeton failed to find the net. In the second period, the Tigers shot twice as much as the Crimson, 18-9, but were not able to convert. While Harvard goalie Emerance Maschmeyer saved all 18 shots, the Crimson added one goal. Maschmeyer finished the day with 44 saves.
In the third period, Princeton outshot Harvard again, this time 12-7, but Harvard scored one more goal and held Princeton scoreless to complete the shutout.
“The losses just show us where we need to improve. In the Harvard game, they scored three power-play goals on us, which showed us that we needed to tweak our penalty kill,” Laing said.
She added that Tigers have since fixed that aspect of their game.
“[Since then] our opponents didn’t score a single power-play goal, and that probably wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t get the opportunity to learn from the Harvard game.”
The Cornell (5-0-1, 3-0-1) game looked to be going the same way, as the Big Red offense managed to score five goals — three of which came in an onslaught in the final two minutes — on just 11 shots in the first period. However, the Tigers bounced back in the second period, scoring four goals on eight shots and going on a run of their own when they netted three goals in a span of just 50 seconds. Sophomore forward Jaimie McDonnell, senior forward Olivia Mucha, senior defender Rose Alleva and junior defender Ali Pankowski all scored in the period.
The Cornell defense proved too much in the third period, though, as Princeton managed 10 shots but was held scoreless to make the final tally 5-4.
The Tigers kept up their high-paced offense in the next game against Colgate (2-8-0, 0-4-0) despite a slow start. Colgate jumped ahead with a goal halfway through the second period, after a scoreless first in which Princeton took just three shots on goal. The Tigers were unable to score in the second period but got their offense moving better, taking seven shots in the period.
Then, in the third period, Princeton’s offense exploded. Mucha and McDonnell scored within the first four minutes to grab the lead. Colgate equalized the score at 2-2, but Tucker and Pankowski each scored and Alleva helped the Tigers pull away with two unassisted goals to make the final score 6-2 and secure the victory for Princeton.
Next weekend the Tigers continue ECAC play with away games at Ivy rivals Yale and Brown.
“I think that we are putting in a huge team effort. Everyone is buying in; everyone is working their hardest, and it has made a big difference in games,” Laing said. “Goals are not just coming from a concentrated group of players; they’re coming from everyone. Additionally in almost all of the games we have had to fight back from being down goals.”
“We are two and two on the season, and I am very happy with our efforts so far,” she added. “The team has done a lot of things right and is improving every game.”