The Princeton women’s hockey team (2-7-3) was quite busy this Thanksgiving break, traveling all the way to North Andover, Mass. to play in a two-game set against Merrimack College (6-10-3). While the Tigers put forth their best efforts over the holiday break, a win against Merrimack is one fewer thing the Tigers have to be thankful for.
The Tigers played strong offensively, outshooting the Warriors in both matches at Lawler Rink, but they still struggled to follow through and put themselves on the scoreboard. The Orange and Black was completely shut out on Friday night’s game, which ended in a 1-0 loss. In that game, both teams went back and forth on the rink for a while, before the Warriors finally scored with 38 seconds remaining in the second period. The goal came off a breakaway hit by Mikyla Grant-Mentis. Felila Manu then sent the puck up the middle of the ice to the stick of teammate Grant-Mentis, who beat Princeton senior goalie Alysia DaSilva on the lower part of the net. Both teams had a combined seven opportunities to score off of power plays, but both teams failed to convert these moments into goals.
In the second game of the series, the Warriors proved again to be a tough match for the Tigers. Merrimack jumped out to a 1-0 lead at the 6:24 mark of the first on a goal by Katelyn Rae. Then, under five minutes later, the home team added a second goal at the 11:18 mark of the same period, as Kate Bukolska scored her first-career goal. The Orange and Black’s shining moment of the weekend came at 10:47 of the second when junior forward Keiko DeClerk finally put the Tigers on the scoreboard for the first time in the series. The goal came after two Tiger rebound attempts from sophomore defender Sylvie Wallin and freshman forward Amanda Harris. Harris’s shot was saved, but it resulted in a loose puck, allowing DeClerck to bury the effort at 10:47. At the 12:21 mark of the second half, though, Merrimack once again fought back for a two-goal lead with their third goal of the game. Their game-sealing goal was an empty-netter by Grant-Mentis that came in the third.
Princeton sophomore goalie Stephanie Neatby finished the game with 20 saves, while the Warriors goalie ended with 23.
Thankfully enough, the Tigers will head back into more comfortable play within the ECAC Hockey conference next weekend. Princeton will play two away games against Ivy League rivals at Dartmouth and Harvard to end a six-game road stretch.