PRINCETON, N.J. — Senior day at Hobey Baker Rink is always an emotional and festive occasion. Family and friends come armed with cameras and good wishes as the regular season comes to an end. The game, which featured No. 9 Princeton against Union, was almost an afterthought. For the record, the Tigers overwhelmed the Dutchwomen, 9-2.
Though it was a day for the three Tiger seniors in the spotlight, they didn’t contribute much to the stat sheet. Mostly it was the underclassmen that lit the lamp, especially freshman forward MaryKate Oakley, who scored two goals and an assist, and sophomore defenseman Laura Watt, who also netted two goals.
Princeton (16-8-5, 10-7-3 ECACHL), drew first blood at 6:23 of the first period on the prettiest goal of the afternoon. Junior forward Tarah Clark, with her back to the net, made a back-hand flip pass to Oakley, who slapped it in for the score. The Tigers added three more goals in the period, with Liz Keady, Sarah Butsch, and Watt doing the damage. In the second period, Princeton put three more goals on the scoreboard. Watt, Oakley, and co-captain Heather Jackson were the goal-scorers.
Union ended the shutout in the third period on a goal by junior forward Kate Gustafson. Sophomore Elise Nichols added another with an unassisted wrap-around score. Sophomore forward Alison Ralph earned the final Tiger goal.
In a ceremony before the game, Princeton honored its three seniors: April Brown, Katharine Maglione, and co-captain Becky Stewart. Coach Jeff Kampersal said of Brown, “She does so many things well for us on the rink because of her hockey smarts and her willingness to play different positions speaks volumes of her character.”
Stewart, who did not dress for the game so as not to aggravate a shoulder injury, was also lauded by Kampersal. “She is the best pure skater we have had in the program in the last nine years. Her versatility, along with her selfless behavior, has allowed the coaches to play her at any position where we need help.”
Of Maglione, a starting defenseman who will be sorely missed by the Tigers, Kampersal said, “An obvious leader on our team, Katharine’s mere presence, coupled with her intensity, sets the tone for her teammates.”
“I love the team, I love the coaches, I love the program, I love the school,” Maglione said. When asked of favorite moments during her four years at Princeton, she smiled and said, “Pretty much every time Jeff [Kampersal] speaks in public.”
Maglione will be taking a year off after graduation before attending medical school, where she hopes to specialize in pediatrics.
For Union (5-27-1, 0-20 ECACHL), a long, tough season comes to a close. Tim Gerrish ends his first season as coach during Union’s second year of play in Division I.
“Obviously it’s a team that’s a work in progress,” Gerrish said. “With the type of season it’s been I think they’ve been through it enough to know that they’ve got to keep working. They know we’re really working for next year and the year after. It’s tough for the seniors, but that’s kind of been our slogan this year as we try to put it together.”
Princeton’s season continues on Friday in the first round of the ECACHL playoffs in a best-of-three at Ingalls Rink against Yale.