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Orlow shines as women's hockey shocks Northeastern in playoffs

Offense wins games, but defense wins championships.

The women's hockey team learned the truth to that sports adage when the underdog Tigers (12-15-2 overall, 9-13-1 Eastern College Athletic Conference) upset defending ECAC champion Northeastern (25-5-4, 17-3-3) Saturday in Boston in the first round of the ECAC tournament.

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"We knew that it was the most important game of the season and that it was going to be rough," sophomore forward Danya Marshman said. "We were the underdogs. We had nothing to lose and Northeastern had everything to lose."

Princeton, seeded seventh in the tournament, had tied second seeded Northeastern just eight days ago to give it confidence that it could defeat the Huskies.

"We knew we were coming up on top," freshman defender Annamarie Holmes said. "They weren't prepared to handle us."

On fire

The Tigers' leading scorer, junior forward Ali Coughlin, raised her goal tally for the season to 23 by scoring off an assist from freshman forward Laura Hays 14 seconds into the first period and knocking in the game-winning goal unassisted at 11:13 in the second.

Junior forward Liz Shea notched her second goal of the season off an assist from sophomore forward Danya Marshman at 2:31 in the second.

But it was the defensive efforts of Princeton that won the day, denying the highly aggressive Northeastern team from capitalizing on a 49-to-15 shot advantage and holding the Huskies to a scoreless third period, maintaining the Tiger lead.

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Learning from last weekend's 3-3 tie with Northeastern, Princeton implemented lessons learned from both Husky weaknesses and Tiger mistakes.

Good students

Last weekend Northeastern would have a defender sink low into Princeton's defensive zone. Saturday, a Tiger wing picked up that open player.

To prevent any breakaways, Princeton played a tight zone defense and concentrated on keeping wings outside.

The Tigers also focused on maintaining intensity through the third period, not just settling back to maintain the lead but trying to generate more offensive plays. Defenders stepped up on Husky forwards, shutting down Northeastern attack attempts at the blue line.

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"(Tiger defenders) were aggressive and they were smart," Marshman said. "They were tough in front of the net."

Brick wall

Princeton skated in good position to convert clears from senior goalie Tammy Orlow into efficient forward passes.

Orlow continued her consistently solid play this season by anchoring the stellar defense, notching 47 saves for the Tigers between the pipes.

"She came up so big for us," Holmes said. "She was unbelievable."

Northeastern played an especially physical game against Orlow, knowing the senior was the Tigers' only goalie.

Moving into the quarterfinal round, Princeton, the lowest seed to advance, will face No. 1 New Hampshire Saturday. The Tigers fell to UNH, 6-1, Nov. 23 and 8-2, Feb. 22. The Wildcats knocked Princeton out of the 1997 ECAC playoffs in the first round.

"This is a great opportunity for revenge," Marshman said.

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