PRINCETON, N.J. — No. 9 Princeton has relied on defense and goaltending all year. Coming into this game, they were fifth in the nation in fewest goals allowed, and junior goaltender Roxanne Gaudiel led the ECAC in the major goaltending statistics. No. 5 St. Lawrence must not have read the stat sheets, for they came into Baker Arena and lit up the Tigers more than anyone else had this season in a 5-2 victory.
Strangely enough, Princeton (12-6-4, 6-5-2 ECACHL) outshot the Saints (21-4-3, 11-2-1) by a sizeable margin, 46-27. Stalwart goaltending by freshman Meaghan Guckian and pinpoint shooting by the Saints’ top forwards proved too much for the Tigers.
“We’ve got some very capable forwards, but we haven’t broken out on the scoresheet that much this year. That’s good to see, because Princeton is a quality team and they keep coming at you,” said St. Lawrence coach Paul Flanagan, who was surprised five was Princeton’s season-high in goals allowed. “I give Princeton a lot of credit. They took it to us pretty good. Meaghan kept us in the game when she had to, and we got a couple of fortunate goals.”
The tone was set in the first period. Princeton had over a minute of a 5-0n-3 power play but came up empty. Then sophomore Chelsea Grills fired a shot that snuck through the pads of Gaudiel. Just 56 seconds into the second period, captain Rebecca Russell found the net over Gaudiel’s right shoulder.
“I played with Roxy in high school for three years at Berkshire. She’s a great goaltender and anywhere you shoot on her it’s tough to score,” Russell said. “We just kept shooting on them. We knew she was going to be pretty good, so we figured the more shots, the more chances we have to score.”
Saints freshman Sabrina Harbec made it 3-0 at 8:29, and the home crowd remained silent. It wasn’t until 14:38 of the period that the crowd awoke. On a power play, sophomore forward Laura Watt ripped a shot from between the faceoff circles that put the Tigers on the scoreboard.
Only seconds later, Guckian made one of her biggest saves of the night on Princeton sophomore Kim Pearce, who had swatted at a puck in the crease. A Pearce goal would have cut the deficit to 3-2 and changed the entire complexion of the game. Instead, Saints’ sophomore defender Abbie Bullard scored early in the third period. Pearce added a goal to make it 4-2, but a pretty goal by Berlinguette, who had three points on the night, settled it.
“Hockey is a funny game. St. Lawrence is obviously a good team but I thought we played really well. This is one of those games where we usually get outshot and still win, but we got outshot and lost,” said Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal.
Kampersal said his team needed more practice on the 4-on-4. Both Bullard and Russell’s goals came on the 4-on-4, which was a common situation today due to a preponderance of penalties. A total of 56 minutes were served in the box, including 1o roughing and several checking, slashing and elbowing calls.
“We have tough kids, and they have tough kids, so every time we play St. Lawrence it usually gets heated,” Kampersal said. “Hopefully we can leave it on the rink. They’re always good, spirited games.”
St. Lawrence has now won 11 of its last 12 against Princeton. Neither coach makes much of that stat.
“Sometimes that happens with teams,” Flanagan said. “But I think if you look at the scores, yes, we’ve won 11 of the 12, but the scores have all been pretty close. For four years, Rachel Barrie seemed to always have great games and give them fits. Maybe Meaghan’s taking over where Rachel was.”
“We don’t fear those guys. We respect them,” Kampersal said. “We certainly would like to see thoseguys again.”
St. Lawrence next hosts No. 2 Dartmouth on Friday, while Princeton travels to Cornell the same night.