PRINCETON (1/3/14) - For 60 minutes and 56 seconds on Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton women's hockey and Connecticut couldn’t find the back of the net. Then, Brianna Leahy took matters into her own hands.
In the opening minute of overtime, with the Huskies attempting to clear the puck out of their defensive zone, Leahy created a turnover at the blue line with a poke check. That left a wide-open path to the net for the Tigers junior forward, who didn’t waste the opportunity.
Leahy ripped a shot over the left, glove-side shoulder of UConn goaltender Elaine Chuli.
Princeton’s bench erupted, and the Tigers had their second victory against the Huskies in as many nights and fourth consecutive overall.
"This was a gutsy win," 18th-year head coach Jeff Kampersal said. "UConn played and defended extremely well. But we battled, and found a way in the end."
After three straight wins by a margin of 4-1, Princeton’s offensive attack was slowed down by Connecticut’s defense and Chuli, who came up with 33 saves. The Tigers outshot the Huskies 34-15 for the contest, including 13-3 in the third period.
But even with Kimberly Newell’s 15 saves — a few of which she kicked away from point-blank range — Princeton found itself in its third overtime game of the season. Unlike the first two extra-session affairs, which ended as ties, this time, the Tigers had a hero.
"I had a great angle to the goal after the poke check," said Leahy, whose third goal on the campaign came 57 seconds into overtime to give her 18 for her career in 77 games. "It was just instincts from there."
"Bri usually tries to shoot between the goalie’s legs," Kampersal said. "But that shot over the goalie’s shoulder was an NHL-caliber goal."
Princeton’s four-game winning streak, which also counts victories in early December over Rensselaer and Union, matches its longest of the season. The last time the Tigers won at least four in a row twice in a season was 2010-11.
That was also the last season Princeton won a game in overtime. Since defeating Union, 3-2, in overtime on Nov. 6, 2010, the Tigers were 0-3-8 in games lasting longer than three periods.
"This was another good step for us," Leahy said. "Our goal is to make it into the top 10 in the nation. We feel refreshed after the break, so now it's a matter of keeping it going into our conference games."
Princeton returns to ECAC action on Tuesday, Jan. 7 at No. 8/9 Quinnipiac at 7:00 p.m. Earlier this season, the Tigers and Bobcats tied, 1-1, at Baker Rink on Nov. 26.