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No. 12 women’s hockey finishes regular season with losses to No. 3 Clarkson, No. 7 St. Lawrence

A woman in a white jersey skates through a crowd of defenders in green jerseys
Emerson O'Leary handles the puck through the Clarkson defense, possibly the top defense in the nation.
Photo Credit: Shelley Szwast/GoPrincetonTigers

Over the weekend, No. 12 Princeton women’s ice hockey (12–10–5 overall, 5–10–5 Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference) hosted the No. 3 Clarkson Golden Knights (27–3–2, 15–3–1) and the No. 7 St. Lawrence Saints (22–9–0, 14–4–0), falling to both in hard-fought battles.

Tigers fall to nation’s top defensive team in low-scoring overtime loss

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Hosting the third-best team in the country, Princeton faced a tall task against a Clarkson squad that has won nine of its previous ten games. 

Just over three minutes into the period, sophomore forward Sarah Paul took Princeton’s first shot of the day, which was promptly saved by Clarkson goalie Michelle Pasiechnyk. Moments later, senior forward Sarah Fillier managed two more shots, both of which were also turned away by Pasiechnyk.

The first period continued in the same back-and-forth affair, with each team trading shots that were either saved or blocked. Both teams also played cleanly with no penalties called. At the end of the first, the score was knotted at zero, with the Tigers leading the Golden Knights 10–8 in shots on goal. 

Friday’s second period got off to a dangerous start for the Tigers as senior defender Kate Monihan was whistled for a tripping penalty less than 90 seconds in. However, the Tiger defense held strong once again, as freshman goalie Uma Corniea saved two shots, and the defense forced four shots wide to protect the net. At the end of two periods of play, shots were still just barely in Princeton’s favor, 21–20.

Going into the third, defense continued to be the main factor in the period. Clarkson leads the nation at 1.12 goals per game allowed, and their defense did not disappoint at Baker Rink.

Nearly halfway through the third period, Princeton had their first power play of the game, as Clarkson’s Keira Hurry was whistled for holding. However, the Tigers only managed one shot — from sophomore forward Issy Wunder — before they lost the advantage when senior defender Stefanie Wallace committed a body-checking penalty. The ensuing four-on-four played out with zero shots on goal from either side, and while Clarkson managed two shots on goal during their power play, they failed to get either shot past Corniea.

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Less than a minute into overtime, the string of penalties continued as Fillier and Clarkson’s Anne Cherkowski were whistled for offsetting penalties. Less than a minute and a half later, Issy Wunder committed a tripping penalty. While the Tigers’ defense had held strong all day, Clarkson finally managed a goal against shorthanded Princeton as defender Nicole Gosling snuck a shot past Corniea. The game-winner handed Clarkson the 1–0 win.

While the Tigers failed to come away with the win, they stood strong for 63 minutes against the top scoring defense in the country. Princeton head coach Cara Morey spoke as to what makes Clarkson such a difficult defensive assignment.

“They trap a lot, so they just pack it in,” Morey told The Daily Princetonian. “They have a solid goaltender, but I think that the biggest part is that they just pack it in in the D-zone, so while you can get out and maybe get through the neutral zone, it’s hard to get through the next layer, and then their [defenders] are exceptional."

Tigers score at home, but fall to second straight top-ten opponent

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Following the most attended regular season game thus far on Friday, Saturday’s game was still well attended. Princeton felt that energy during the first period, firing 18 shots toward the St. Lawrence net. However, the Tigers were shut out, as Saints’ goalie Emma-Sofie Nordström stood strong, saving all 18 attempts. 

Entering the second period, the Tigers continued their onslaught. Just over twelve minutes in, Issy Wunder passed the puck to sophomore forward Emerson O’Leary, who noticed Fillier streaking down the right side. Taking the puck behind Princeton’s own blue line and racing all the way toward the St. Lawrence net, Fillier fired a shot past Nordström to give the Tigers a 1–0 lead.

Just 37 seconds later, first-year defender Maggie Johnson headed to the penalty box for an interference penalty. In the first 20 seconds of the St. Lawrence power play, forward Abby Hustler sent a shot past junior goalie Jennifer Olnowich to tie the game at one goal apiece.

In one of the strangest moments of the game, a St. Lawrence clearance pass ricocheted off a referee’s skate and to senior forward Emma Kee in front of the net. Kee managed two shots in close on Nordström, but the goaltender denied her both times. Later on in the Saints’ power play, a shot from defender Kristina Bahl gave St. Lawrence a 2–1 lead.

“We have to stay out of the penalty box, but you’re going to take penalties in this league,” Morey told the ‘Prince.’ “You never know what’s going to get called [as a penalty], so some days it’s full checking [allowed] and some days everything’s called.”

While the Tigers fought to equalize, the rest of the second period proceeded with each goalie holding strong, and the Tigers headed into the third down 2–1.

While Princeton rattled off two shots in the first minute of the third period, evenly matched play ensued for the following minutes. With just over twelve-and-a-half minutes to go, St. Lawrence forward Kennedy Wilson received a pass from Taylor Lum, sending it past Olnowich for the Saints’ third goal of the day and a 3–1 lead. The game would end with the same score. 

Remarking on the weekend’s play as a whole, Morey said that she “actually thought this was one of our better weekends of actual hockey. We played the number three team in the country and [St. Lawrence] are definitely in the top ten in the country, and we had two really close games.”

As this was the last home regular season game of the season, Princeton celebrated Senior Day postgame, honoring the Class of 2024 along with their families. The class includes forwards Sarah Fillier, Catherine Kerin, Annie Kuehl, Daniella Calabrese, and Emma Kee, as well as defenders Stefanie Wallace and Kate Monihan. Of this class, Coach Morey remarked that “it’s going to be known as a group that really cared a lot, had a lot of energy … that senior class just showed up every day ready to compete.” 

Up next for Princeton is a road trip to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (13–16–3, 5–15–0) and Union (8–22–2, 3–15–2) next weekend to finish up the regular season, before returning home for a playoff game on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Max Hines is a staff Sports writer for the ‘Prince.’

Please direct any corrections requests to corrections[at]dailyprincetonian.com.

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