PRINCETON, N.J. — Over the past eighteen months, Yale has had Princeton’s number. After years of being one of the weak sisters of the ECACHL, the tide has turned for the Bulldogs, and they beat Princeton four times last year, including a sweep in the ECACHL quarterfinals. Although they are not travel partners any more (Princeton is now partnered with Quinnipiac; Yale with Brown) there still seems to be a sense of rivalry between the two teams, and they renewed their annual tradition of a pre-season scrimmage. As usual it was a close affair, with junior forward Jenna Spring’s goal at 19:22 of the third period knotting the score at 2-2. Because it was an exhibition, there was no overtime period.
The first two periods saw a defensive struggle with excellent goaltending. Sophomore Shivon Zilis was in goal the entire game for Yale; Roxanne Gaudiel was in net for Princeton for the first two periods, relieved by sophomore Rebecca Allen for the third period. The Tigers drew first blood at 4:24 of the third period when senior forward Sarah Butsch lit the lamp. A few minutes later, a turnover in the defensive zone led to a Bulldog goal by junior forward Sheila Zingler. Princeton seemed to have the game in hand when sophomore forward Brittany Salmon scored on a breakaway at 16:26, but Yale knotted the game with an extra skater in the final seconds.
Both coaches were encouraged about what they saw.
“I thought it was a little sloppy at the beginning but then I thought as the game wore down it got a little more competitive,” Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal said. “It was a good test, because Yale is a really good team. To stay in that game and battle was encouraging. [Senior co-captain] Heather Jackson, Sarah Butsch, and Brittany Salmon were awesome out there.”
As for the Tigers’ chances for success this year, Kampersal said, “It will be similar to last year. We’ll work hard every day. We’ll be in every game because of the goaltending. We need another line that can apply pressure. Some of the D are young and need work.”
“We have some great upperclassmen. We finally have a team with a bunch of juniors and that’s going to be helpful,” said Yale coach Hilary Witt said.
“It’s going to be tough to go without [Erin] Duggan on the blueline,” Witt said, referring to the graduated defensemen. “She was amazing for four years. And Helen Resor is off to the Olympics. I think our D are young but they’re going to work hard so we’re pretty optimistic about how they’ll do. We have two of the greatest goalies in the league. Shivon [Zilis] is a very good goalie. We’re excited. I’m pretty impressed with our freshmen.”
Princeton has also lost a player to the U.S. National Team, Liz Keady. “We love her to death, we wish her well, but we had to assume she would be gone after last year. That’s kind of how we geared our program to play this year without her,” Kampersal said.
Yale will host McGill for another exhibition at Ingalls Rink on Sunday. Princeton opens their regular season against Boston College at Nichols School in Buffalo on Saturday.