PRINCETON, N.J. — Over the last few weeks a new star has been born at Hobey Baker Rink. Junior goaltender Roxanne Gaudiel has emerged in her first year as full-time starter to keep the Princeton season afloat. Her latest triumph was a 2-0 win over Cornell on Saturday.
Gaudiel now has three straight shutouts and 10 straight scoreless periods. Her gaudy statistics include a 1.53 goals-against average, good for second in the ECACHL, and a league-best save percentage of .937.
The No. 9 Tigers (7-4-2, 3-3-1 ECACHL) dominated the action against Cornell (3-6-1, 3-5 ECACHL) and outshot the Big Red 37 to 15. Cornell’s scoring opportunities were rare, and when they did come, Gaudiel was up to the challenge.
Gaudiel’s biggest test was a breakaway by Cornell freshman forward Brianne Schmidt. A goal would have tied the game 1-1, but her slapshot was kicked away.
Gaudiel, a native of Venice, Fla., was eager to pass the credit for the shutouts to her teammates.
“Our defense has really been stepping up for the last few weeks,” Gaudiel said. “We haven’t had as many odd-man rushes or breakaways and that just makes it a lot easier. We’ve stayed out of the box a lot more the last few weekends.”
As the Tigers learned last night against Colgate, they can’t win without putting the puck in the net. Sophomore forward Liz Keady took it upon herself to end a scoring drought. At 10:36 of the first period, Keady used her trademark speed to swoop completely around the net, through the faceoff circle, and then back toward the crease. She then managed to sneak the puck past Cornell’s junior goaltender, Flora Vineberg. The unassisted goal gave Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal a lift.
“We’re trying to create as many scoring lines as possible,” Kampersal said. “In our wins against Providence, UConn and today, [Laura] Watt, Keady and [Kim] Pearce all played together. It’s becoming a no-brainer. Socially it’s a good fit for them, and athletically they get around the rink pretty good. They’re skilled players, so I guess we’ll try to keep it like that for a little while.”
Keady struck again early in the third period. On the power play, she made a perfect pass to sophomore forward Kim Pearce, who gave the Tigers a two-goal lead with her seventh of the year.
“The power play is always a struggle and we ended up going back to our beginning power play against Providence, Pearce-Watt-Keady, and it worked,” Kampersal said. “That was a huge goal at that point because as well as I thought we played, it was still only 1-0 and anything could happen at that point. That second goal gave us a little cushion.”
Cornell fought hard to keep the game within striking distance, and Vineburg made many spectacular saves. Cornell coach Melody Davidson was pleased with her goalie’s effort.
“This is the first time we’ve gone back-to-back with our goaltenders this year,” Davidson said. “[Vineburg] played extremely well last night and earned the start today and gave us a chance to win, and that’s what we’re asking our goaltenders to do. They don’t have to win the games for us but keep us in there long enough to give us a chance to win.”
Davidson was also pleased with her team’s hustle.
“We didn’t play very well last weekend against Wayne State in terms of our work ethic and that was a theme all week,” she said. “We worked extremely hard last night against Yale but we couldn’t stay disciplined, and tonight I thought we really worked hard. We did everything we possibly could to get those tying goals but it just wasnt there tonight.”
Princeton’s next game is at Northeastern on Saturday at 1 p.m. Cornell has a break for exams and then travels to Minnesota to take on Bemidji State on Jan. 2 at 2:05 p.m.