PRINCETON, N.J. — Princeton, fresh off a scoreless outing against Dartmouth, found the solution to its offensive woes in its defense. Senior defenseman Becky Stewart scored twice, and fellow defensemen Dina McCumber and Katharine Maglione added three assists between them in the 4-1 victory at Hobey Baker Rink over a plucky but ultimately overmatched Vermont squad.
“Our D is very mobile. Becky Stewart had her best weekend, she’s always been a good player but she was really stellar. She had seven shots on goal, which is a lot for a D,” said Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal.
After a first period deadlocked at one goal apiece, the No. 8 Tigers (2-1-1, 1-1 ECACHL) buried Vermont (2-8-1, 0-2 ECACHL) with three second-period goals, two of which came on the power play. Junior forward Sarah Butsch led off the second period’s scoring with the eventual game-winner at the 3:09 mark.
“We were on a power play, and Dina [McCumber] was on the side board, and she had a nice pass in the middle, and I just collected it on my backhand,” Butsch said.
Stewart added her second goal of the night 1:30 later on a high slap shot that was so powerful it deflected back out of the net from under the crossbar. Now down 3-1, Vermont seemed to lose some steam.
“I was trying to aim high over that right shoulder, and I had a lot of time to decide where I wanted to shoot,” Stewart said.
Stewart, who had spent her entire career at Princeton as a speedy forward, was moved back to defense at the start of this season.
“Now that I’ve been moved back to defense I’ve been able to be more effective offensively and I think it’s pretty exciting. I think it’s because we have such great forwards that I’ve been able to join the rush once in a while,” Stewart said.
Stewart began the scoring early in the game, at 2:10, squirting a shot past Vermont’s senior goaltender, Kami Cote. Vermont tied the game in the closing seconds of the first period. Freshman forward Kate Lesniak slapped a hard shot off Princeton goalie Roxanne Gaudiel’s pads. The rebound was struck home by freshman Stephanie Tewksbury between a sprawling Gaudiel’s legs.
Cote’s valiant effort between the pipes kept the game closer than the score indicated, and impressed both head coaches.
“Kami has done so much for us in the time she’s been here that she no longer amazes us,” said Vermont coach Dennis Miller. “We just believe she’s going to do anything possible to give us a chance.”
“To score four goals on that kid is a pretty good feat,” Kampersal said of Cote. “Our goals were cross-ice passes so if you can get her to move you have a chance. With straight shots she’s going to stop every single one of them.”
Cote stopped 28 shots for the Catamounts. On the other end, Gaudiel had a more comfortable night with 15 saves.
The final goal of the night was by the Tigers’ junior captain Heather Jackson, who fired a shot that squeezed between Cote’s arm and body on the stick side. The third period was scoreless.
Princeton next faces ECAC opponent Brown at home on Friday. Vermont travels to Dartmouth on Friday to play the first of a home-and-home series against the Big Green.