Amidst Hobey 100 celebrations, which commemorated a century of Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton women’s ice hockey (9–6–1 overall, 5–5–0 ECAC) celebrated wins over Dartmouth (5–13–0, 1–10–0) and Harvard (4–10–3, 3–7–3). The Harvard matchup brought in a crowd of 1,544, the largest ever for a women’s hockey game at the venue.
On Friday afternoon versus Dartmouth, the Tigers rode the energy of the crowd to a fantastic start, netting four goals in the first period. Sophomore forward Mia Coene got Princeton on the board first by taking a pass from first-year forward Jane Kuehl in the slot and slapping a one-timer past Dartmouth goaltender Maggie Emerson. It was Coene’s first goal of the season.
At the 9:29 mark of the first period, junior forward Annie Kuehl picked up a loose puck in the defensive end, weaved through two skaters, and fed the puck to senior forward Maggie Connors. Connors, with Kuehl driving to the net, returned the pass to Kuehl for a 2–0 lead.
Up two goals, Princeton headed to the power play when Dartmouth forward Georgia Kraus went to the box for tripping. On the power play, Connors wristed a puck off the pad of the goaltender, and senior forward Kayla Fillier was there to clean up the loose change and score her first goal of the season.
To the Tigers’ credit, they kept their foot on the pedal after the third goal. With just over five minutes left in the first period, the puck bounced to the stick of standout first-year forward Issy Wunder, who deposited the puck top-shelf for a four goal advantage and her fourth goal of the year. The Tigers’ four first period goals were scored within a single stretch of six minutes and 32 seconds.
The second period was certainly not as wild as the first, although the Tigers continued to dominate in shot attempts. By the end of the second, shots were 29–11 in Princeton’s favor. Despite that, Dartmouth was able to get one back on a goal from forward Jenna Donahue in the dying seconds of the period to make the score 4–1.
The third period was much of the same, as Princeton played textbook, shutdown hockey to finish the game. Dartmouth scraped across a goal courtesy of forward Currie Putrah, but Princeton survived the late pressure from the Big Green. An empty-netter, Annie Kuehl’s second of the day, sealed the score at 5–2 Tigers.
Compared to the team’s domination in the Dartmouth victory, Princeton played a much different game versus Harvard. With the heavy pressure of the Crimson forecheck, the Tigers adjusted their game plan to a much choppier and grittier style in front of a record Baker Rink crowd.
The Harvard defense pressured Princeton in the first period, leading to an even 20 minutes of play. At the 7:54 mark, junior forward Sarah Fillier was whistled for a tripping minor. Despite a few quality chances on the ensuing power play, the Crimson were shut down by stellar goaltending from first-year goalie Taylor Hyland. Hyland made eleven saves in the opening frame, while dueling Crimson goaltender Alex Pellicci made ten of her own.
Similar to the first, the second period began and ended scoreless. However, Princeton started to exert offensive pressure by spending much of the period in the Harvard zone. Both goaltenders remained solid in the period, with Pellicci making ten saves to Hyland’s fourteen. The story of the period, though, was not written until the final minute. With 21 seconds remaining in the second, Crimson forward Paige Lester was issued a major penalty for hitting from behind. The penalty sent the Tigers to a five minute power play to begin the final period.
The Crimson were able to successfully kill the first half of the major penalty, but defensewoman Jenna MacDonald made matters worse when she went to the box for tripping. Handing Princeton a 5-on-3, the Tigers had a prime opportunity to break the tie. They did not waste it, as Wunder redirected a shot past Pellicci for the lead.
With two goals already on the weekend, Wunder wasn’t done. With just over eleven minutes left, she pushed a puck off the boards and past a Crimson defender. This left Wunder all alone in the offensive zone, 1–on–1 with goaltender Pellicci. Skillfully moving to the backhand, Wunder deposited her third of the Hobey 100 weekend. Wunder’s goal gave her six goals and fifteen points on the season, a pace of nearly one point per game.
“I’m surrounded by such great players. It’s been so helpful for my transition to be around such experienced players like Sarah [Fillier] and Maggie [Connors],” Wunder told The Daily Princetonian. “They all know the game so well, and they’ve been so helpful. They have little comments on the bench telling me how to do things better, and I attribute a lot of my success so far to them.”
Harvard kept the game close in the final minutes, but Sarah Fillier foiled their comeback attempt late. Searching for the rebound off the pad of Pellicci, Fillier calmly shot past the goaltender for the 3–0 advantage. It was her tenth of the season, and all the Tigers needed to send the fans home happy with a final score of 3–0.
Head coach Cara Morey praised the team for applying pressure on the Crimson from start to finish.
“We came out so strong yesterday [against Dartmouth] in the first period and then kinda backed off a little bit because we had that 4–0 lead,” she said. “Tonight was a completely different game, where we had to keep going and going and then it finally broke open in the third.”
With the win Saturday, the Tigers extended their win streak to four and moved into sixth in the ECAC. They will look to continue their rise up the standings in tough road matchups against No. 9 Cornell (9–5–2, 7–2–1) and No. 5 Colgate (18–2–1, 8–1–0) on Friday, Jan. 13 and Saturday, Jan. 14, respectively.
Cole Keller is a contributor to the Data and Sports sections at the ‘Prince.’ Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.