This weekend, the No. 5 ranked women’s hockey team (16–3–5, 14–1–3 ECAC) clinched this year’s Ivy League title with a win over Brown (5–18–2, 2–14–2) on Friday night. This is the team’s eighth Ivy League championship, its first since the 2015–2016 season, and Head Coach Cara Morey’s first in her tenure as Princeton’s head coach. Princeton still leads the ECAC by three points thanks to its sweep, Clarkson’s loss on Saturday, and Cornell’s tie on Saturday.
Senior co-captain forward Karlie Lund said that, “Winning the Ivy League was one of the highlights of my time here at Princeton. It’s been our goal since freshman year to win the Ivy League again, so to finally bring the trophy back and end our career on a high note is incredible.”
Senior co-captain defender Stephanie Sucharda added that, “It feels incredible to win the Ivy League title, especially as a senior. My class won it freshman year as well and I don’t think we initially appreciated how special it is.”
On Friday night, the Tigers defeated Brown 8–2 behind a four-goal performance by freshman forward Margaret Connors. This is the second time this season that a Princeton player has scored four goals in one game; the other player to do so was junior forward Carly Bullock when Princeton hosted Yale in October. Connors added an assist for a five-point game. Freshman forward Sarah Fillier also had a five-point game with one goal and four assists. Connors and Fillier are the first Princeton skaters to have five-point games since Kim Pearce had six in 2006. Other goals came from junior forward MacKenzie Ebel, her first of the season, sophomore forward Sarah Verbeek, and freshman defender Mariah Keopple. Sophomore goalie Rachel McQuigge made 29 saves on 31 shots in another outstanding performance in her first year as the starting goalie.
On Saturday against Yale, the Tigers clinched another weekend sweep with a 4–2 win. The Bulldogs scored first less than a minute into the game, forcing Princeton to try to immediately respond. Bullock was able to tie the game at one before the end of the first period on the power play. The Tigers stretched their lead adding two quick goals from Bullock and Lund. Before the second period was out, Yale was able to score again to make it 3–2 heading into the third. Here, Connors stepped up again and gave Princeton some breathing room with her first goal of the night and her 22nd of the season. Junior goalie Stephanie Neatby got another win making 25 saves on 27 shots, improving her record to 4–0–1.
Something that has worked incredibly well for the Tigers so far this season has been their power-play scoring. The unit is the first in the country in goals and percentage. Against Brown, the group went two for four and against Yale, they went one for three. Bullock attributed the power play success to having been able to keep the same units together all year. “We have two great units with a lot of depth so teams tend to have trouble defending when there are five scoring threats on the ice together.”
Next weekend, the Tigers will look to move closer to an ECAC title when they host Union and RPI next Friday and Saturday respectively. Lund commented that she is optimistic about their chances at a regular season ECAC title. “We still have four tough games, but we control our own destiny, so as long as we continue to play as a team we have a good shot at winning the title.”
A sweep next weekend could go a long way towards clinching the title. With a sweep and one loss each by Clarkson and Cornell, the Tigers could clinch the title this weekend as they would be five points clear with two games left. Friday night’s game is scheduled at 6 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 3 p.m, which will also be the senior day game.