Despite a 31-17 shot advantage, the Princeton women's hockey team fell 1-0 Saturday afternoon to St. Lawrence at Baker Rink. An early Saints' goal and magnificent goaltending by both teams would be the story in a well-played, hard-fought game.
Those who weren't in their seats early missed quite a bit of excitement, as well as all of the scoring. A St. Lawrence turnover in the neutral zone gave Princeton a breakaway 30 seconds into the game, but junior Corey Stearns was stopped by St. Lawrence freshman Carmen MacDonald, who also got in front of a rebound attempt by senior Charissa Stadnick.
What could have been an ideal Princeton start went the other way less than two minutes later. An icing call led to a faceoff in the Tiger end, which was won by St. Lawrence. Saints senior Josee Belanger fired a shot at senior goaltender Rachel Weber, who saved it but could not control the rebound. Freshman Jessica Hon was first to the puck and put a high shot into the net for a 1-0 edge.
Both teams would manage 10 shots in the opening period, but Hon's tally was the only one on the scoreboard during the opening intermission.
Princeton came out in the second on a mission, firing away from all points on MacDonald. The freshman stood tall, especially on a power play midway through the period, when Princeton lived on the crease and was stopped repeatedly. MacDonald may have had her best effort on a kick save against a puck destined for the right side of the net.
The Tigers ended the period with a 12-6 edge in shots on goal, but they were left with the same 1-0 deficit they entered the period facing.
St. Lawrence came out strong in the third period, but Weber was matching MacDonald save for save. As the Saints started to tilt the ice midway through the period, Weber was taking care of the initial shot and the defense made sure to keep St. Lawrence away from the rebounds.
Weber needed to be even stronger after a checking call sent Rose Alleva to the box with seven minutes remaining. Again she had all the answers, including a doorstop rebound by Dayle Wilkinson. St. Lawrence continued its aggressive play, and Princeton was able to turn that against the Saints at the end of the power play. Junior Kelly Cooke was able to get behind the defense for Princeton's second breakaway of the game, but MacDonald turned that away and poked the rebound out of harm's way.
Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal pulled Weber with 2:20 left in regulation for the 6-on-5 advantage, and Alleva got a slapshot through to the pads of MacDonald, but it was turned away. Princeton kept the pressure on and actually got a centering pass through in the final second, but it was just beyond the stick of Stadnyk.
Weber ended the game with 16 saves, while MacDonald made 31, including nine in the final period. Princeton, which took only two penalties in the game, had a 24-18 faceoff advantage. St. Lawrence killed off three power plays in the win to keep pace for a top-four position in the ECAC playoffs. Princeton remains in seventh place in the postseason chase; the ECAC playoffs will open in two weeks.
Princeton will conclude its regular season next weekend when it hosts Rensselaer and Union at Baker Rink.