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Laing Nets Two in Princeton's 4-1 Win Over Rensselaer

Courtesy: Princeton Athletic Communications                                                                      Release: 12/06/2013
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Courtesy: Shelley Szwast
Senior Denna Laing scored twice in Princeton's 4-1 win over RPI.
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PRINCETON (12/6/13) – Princeton women's hockey snapped a winless streak Friday, Dec. 6 at Hobey Baker Rink with a 4-1 victory against Rensselear. The win moves the Tigers into a tie for fourth place in the 12-team ECAC. 

"Even though we lost last weekend against the top-ranked team in the country at Minnesota, the speed was so fast it prepared us well for today," Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal said.

Indeed, the Tigers came out skating fast in the first period and took a 1-0 lead just 2:04 into the contest, despite an early penalty. While on the penalty kill, senior forward Denna Laing scored in front of the net off an assist from Olivia Mucha.

Laing's finish was Princeton's fourth short-handed goal of the season. No other ECAC team has more than one short-handed goal.

"That short-handed goal was huge," Kampersal said. "We've been trying to crash the net and create traffic. That's exactly what Denna did there. She had a great game for us."

Though the Engineers rallied to tie things up, 1-1, midway through the first on an unassisted Mari Mankey goal, the Tigers closed out the opening session with the edge.

With less than three minutes until the first intermission, junior defender Ali Pankowski blasted a shot on frame from the blue line. The puck deflected off a Rensselear (6-9-1, 3-4 ECAC) skater before sophomore center Jamie McDonell put it away for what would prove to be the game-winner.

Princeton (6-6-2, 5-4-1 ECAC) outshot Rensselear 12-3 in the first period on its way to a 2-1 lead.

"I saw Ali get set for a one-timer and I just braced myself," said McDonell, who, like Laing, now has four goals this season. "I think we really set the tone in the first period and stuck to our game plan from there."

Neither side mustered much offense in the second period. It wasn't until the middle of the third period that Laing scored from in front again to give the Tigers a 3-1 advantage. Later in the final session, Mucha capitalized on an empty-net situation to expand Princeton's lead to 4-1 with only 1:41 remaining.

Meanwhile, junior goaltender Ashley Holt - in only her second start of the season - made 15 saves, including a few from point-blank range. Holt's counterpart, Kelly O’Brien, stopped 26 Tigers shots.

"This is a big weekend for us to build up momentum before our break," Kampersal said. "Tomorrow’s game against Union will be just as important."

Princeton finishes the 2013 portion of their schedule Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m., against Union (5-10, 2-5 ECAC) at Hobey Baker Rink. Skate with the Tigers follows the contest. 

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