PRINCETON, N.J. — The most important people on the ice during the 2-2 tie between No. 7 Princeton and Wayne State Saturday afternoon at Baker Rink were the referees. After a quiet first period, which saw only one penalty called, the men in the striped shirts found their whistles in the last two periods, calling fifteen more.
Perhaps none was more significant than the interference call against Princeton senior Chrissie Norwich at 11:46 of the third. At the time, the Tigers were nursing a come-from-behind 2-1 lead, but with Norwich in the box, Warrior freshman Melissa Boal made a great feed from behind the goal line to freshman Sam Poyton, who knocked it past Princeton’s senior goaltender, Roxanne Gaudiel, to knot the score. There would be no more scoring on the night.
“Our freshman got their legs going today,” Wayne State coach Jim Fetter said. “I think when our freshman play well, we tend to play well as a team. I definitely think we battled hard today.”
Wayne State (6-9-4) received both their goals from freshmen. After a scoreless first period, freshman Lindsay DiPietro tallied a power-play goal. It was frustrating for Princeton (9-3-4) because it came near the end of long penalty kill. At one point, three Tigers were in the box, but Princeton managed to kill off the lengthy 5-0n-3. But with just 11 seconds left in the last penalty, DiPietro ripped one past Gaudiel for the lead.
Meanwhile, Princeton could not solve Wayne State’s sophomore goalie, Tiffany Thompson. Called on half-way through Friday night’s game to relieve an ill Valery Turcotte, Thompson shut the Tigers out the rest of the game. She then went on to shut them out for the first two periods in the second game.
“Tiff played well yesterday,” Fetter said. “She came in half-way through the game and shut them down. It’s one of those situations where I think either one of our goalies can play, and they’re going to give us an opportunity to win. Tiff stepped up today and showed us that she can play and compete.”
At the beginning of the third period, down 1-0, the Tigers were in a big jam, as they were facing almost two minutes of a 5-0n-3 disadvantage. This time the kill was successful. That seemed to give the Tigers new life, and during a power play of their own, senior co-captain Heather Jackson showed impressive leadership by blasting a shot past Thompson that found the back of the net.
“Jackson, she was huge. That was probably her best game all year,” said Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal. “The goal was huge, but the killers, her and [Laura] Watt and I think Chrissie [Norwich] was out there too, [Kate] Hession a couple times, those kids were huge on the 5-on-3 kill. That got us going at the beginning of the period, and then we got a little momentum.”
Indeed, about four minutes later junior Kim Pearce bulled her way through the Wayne State defense and ripped a shot off Thompson’s pads. Pearce snagged her own rebound, took a second to aim, and flicked it over Thompson’s shoulder. The Tigers now had a 2-1 lead, but half a period was left to protect it. Then came Norwich’s penalty.
“We took too many penalties,” Kampersal said. “Wayne State played hard. I thought we played hard as well, but too many stupid penalties. We get the go-ahead goal and then we take a dumb penalty the next shift, so it wasn’t our smartest game.”
The overtime period saw three shots on goal from both teams. In typical fashion, Pearce was battling in front of the Wayne State net when the buzzer sounded to end the game.
Princeton will break for the holidays and conclude its ten-game homestand against Providence on January 2nd at 7 p.m. Wayne State will host No. 4 Wisconsin on January 6th, also at 7 p.m.