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Women's hockey toppled by UNH in ECAC semifinals

The glass slipper just didn't fit, as the women's hockey team was unable to pull a second straight upset in its would-be Cin-derella run through the Eastern College Athletic Conference championships.

After downing second-seeded Northeastern, 3-2, March 7, the seventh-seeded Tigers (12-16-2 overall, 8-13-1 ECAC) were unable to knock off top-ranked New Hampshire, March 14, falling to the Wildcats, 7-2, in Boston.

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This time, Princeton was overwhelmed by a very good UNH (29-4-3, 18-1-3) team. The Tigers managed just 15 shots on goal the entire game, while the Wildcats peppered senior goalie Tammy Orlow with 49 shots.

Unlike characteristic Princeton first periods, in which the Tigers start slowly, the team was able to hold the game close early despite aggressive play by UNH. Orlow turned away 17 of 18 shots, and the Tigers went into the first intermission down just 1-0.

Yet the Tigers were unable to turn the momentum of the game in the second and third stanzas, as the Wildcats were finally able to break through against Orlow, scoring three goals in each of the last two periods.

"We hung in there in terms of keeping them from scoring," junior center Ali Coughlin said, "but they had a lot of opportunities, and they are very good at capitalizing on them."

Coughlin also indicated that depth played a factor in the contest, calling the Wildcats' top three lines stronger than almost any other school's.

After UNH went up 3-0 in the second period, the Tigers were able to cut the Wildcat lead to two goals, but could get no closer than that. Freshman forward Abbey Fox scored at 16 minutes, 57 seconds of the second to close the gap to 3-1, but a late second period Wildcat goal and an early third period strike widened the gap.

Taking the advantage

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Benefitting from a five-on-three power play, Coughlin scored the Tigers' final goal at 6:25 of the third to draw the Tigers within three at 5-2. But Princeton could not capitalize on other power-play opportunities, and two late UNH goals sealed the verdict.

UNH's Brandy Fisher scored a goal and assisted on two others to lead the Wildcats, but it was a balanced team attack that led them to victory, as Tina Carraba and Sara Cross each had a goal and an assist in the win.

Despite the apparent one-sidedness of the game, Princeton wasn't without its chances. The Tigers limited UNH to just two power-play opportunities, shutting down the Wildcat offense on both occasions, and held a man-advantage eight times during the contest. Yet Princeton scored just once on its power plays – Coughlin's third period goal.

Experience

Despite the loss and an overall losing record in an up-and-down season, the upset of Northeastern and the playoff experience gained this season could be important stepping stones for a relatively young team that will look to seriously challenge for the ECAC title next season.

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"We were sad the season was over," Coughlin said, "but we weren't hanging our heads over the loss. We were still really psyched about our season."

Though the Tigers will return all but two players, they face the challenge of replacing Orlow in net.

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