PRINCETON, N.J. — At the start of the penultimate regular-season game of her college career, senior forward April Brown had zero goals for the season. In less than a five-minute stretch during the second period, she had a hat trick. Brown would end up scoring a third of her team’s goals as No. 9 Princeton rolled over overmatched Union.
Brown, who was surprised by her family coming to visit from her native Minnesota, brushed aside all glory. “We were just trying to win,” she said.
The Tigers (15-8-5, 9-7-3 ECACHL) got rolling quickly coming off a tough loss to Yale last Wednesday that cost them home-ice for the ECAC playoffs. Sophomore forward Tarah Clark followed a rebound that bounced off the post for the first goal 1:10 into the game. Union (5-26-1, 0-19 ECACHL) was down 4-0 before the first period was over.
The Dutchwomen tried switching out sophomore goalie Mandy Hansen for junior Dana Smullyan, but the result was the same. Brown scored the first three goals of the second period, and the eighth goal was tallied by freshman forward Brittany Salmon.
The third period was mostly a game of keep-away by the Tigers. Union spoiled the shutout on a 2-0n-1 with freshman forward Ashley Kilstein beating Tiger goalie Rebecca Allen on a feed from sophomore Elise Nichols. The scoring ended when Princeton junior forward Sarah Butsch netted the ninth Tiger goal.
Princeton outshot Union 58-10. Salmon, Clark and freshman forward Marykate Oakley also had three-point nights in addition to Brown’s heroics.
Union had problems even before the game began. Three top forwards–sophomores Stephanie Burlton and Meghan O’Connor and freshman Courtney Chais–were out with injuries. In addition, Union had to travel on game day because of the snowstorm that hit the Northeast on Thursday.
“I thought we moved the puck pretty well at times,” said Union coach Tim Gerrish. “When I came here in September, I wasn’t sure we could put together three passes at any time during the season. So we were able to string passes, we got a couple breaks. That’s better than we were when we started, and that’s encouraging.”
With the playoffs ahead for Princeton, Coach Jeff Kampersal had to keep his team playing hard without showing any disrespect for their opponent.
“We play hard all the time, but we still struggle to score goals,” Kampersal said. “Tonight their goalies struggled a little bit. I think you always want to be professional and have the kids work hard. Union works hard, they were missing three of their better players, so that doesn’t help them. We want to have respect for their players, and I work with their coach during the summer and I have a lot of respect for him.”
Kampersal was pleased with his team’s approach offensively.
“I thought we moved the puck pretty quickly, and tried to get as many shots on net as possible,” he said. “Step over the blue line, crank away, go hard to the net. This is what we’ll work on all week to get ready for the playoffs.”
Before the playoffs begin, Princeton and Union will play one more game on Saturday at 4 p.m. Tiger seniors April Brown, Katharine Maglione, and Becky Stewart will be honored before the game.