This weekend, the women’s hockey team fought hard to close out the weekend with one win and one draw against RIT. Princeton (4-1-1 overall, 2-0-0 Ivy League) walked away with a 4-3 win in overtime on Friday and a scoreless draw on Saturday. Overall, the Tigers are happy with their performance, but they also know what they need to work on looking ahead.
On the whole, RIT was a predictable team. Going into the weekend, the Tigers knew that RIT, while not star-studded, was a hardworking team that would stick to its systems. What the Tigers were not prepared for was their opponents' aggression. In the first 12 minutes, RIT scored three goals. Coming off the ice, Princeton took time to reevaluate its performance and came back into the second period with a vengeance. Once the Tigers got back onto the attack, they outshot RIT in the two remaining periods.
“We had a rough first period in the game on Friday, but once we got a good sense of their playing style, we were able to beat them,” junior forward Jaimie McDonell said. “After the first period, our coaches pretty much told us that we needed to get our stuff together but that we still had two more periods to come out with a win. When you get down, you have to go back to basics and just keep working.”
RIT was a skilled team that moved the puck well, and their players had a great sense of where their teammates were on the ice.
“They had a play that they used over and over again, which gave them a lot of scoring opportunities. They would move the puck around a lot to confuse our defense, and this would allow one of their players to get open and they could score,” McDonell said.
However, once the Tigers figured out how to handle this play, RIT did not score again the entire weekend.
The Tigers showed great perseverance and were able to change the tone of the game quickly going into the second period. Sophomore forward Hilary Lloyd scored Princeton’s first goal, which helped change the momentum of the game.
“She just kept doing what she had to do, and she came out with a forecheck that gave us the push we needed,” McDonnell said.
Sophomore forward Morgan Sly also had her first collegiate goal on Friday, clinching the win for the Tigers.
On the defensive end, sophomore defender Kelsey Koelzer helped the team by staying calm despite all of RIT’s aggressive forechecks against her.
“She played very well, and she kept her cool even when they were taking a lot of liberty shots against us in the D-zone,” McDonell said.
Going into Saturday’s game, the Tigers had a very good sense of RIT’s playing style, and they managed to force a scoreless draw. However, the game was tough, with RIT forcing many penalties.
“All the penalties kept the game from flowing the way we like it to. It was a real grind, and RIT was getting chippy,” McDonell said. “I think RIT got frustrated because their systems were not working against us on Saturday.”
RIT threw many bodychecks, and there were a few instances were RIT players even tried to hit Princeton’s goalie Kim Newell. McDonell left the weekend with an injured wrist from a bodycheck. Despite this, the Tigers were focused and were able to control play on Saturday.
“Coming off this weekend, we know that we need to get stronger in the D-zone and in one-on-one battles,” McDonell said.
Looking ahead, the Tigers will face Rensselaer and Union, two opponents that have a similar playing style as RIT — gritty and hard-working. Princeton’s strength is in its teamwork.
“There are some teams that have Olympians and some really big names, but I think we are stronger as a team. We have a team that plays together, and we could beat any other team on any day. Coming back on Friday says a lot about us. We’re strong, and we don’t take losing lightly,” McDonell said.