PRINCETON, N.J. — Not even a snowstorm could cool off red-hot No. 6 Princeton, who completed an impressive sweep of Harvard and Dartmouth by dispatching the Big Green 7-2 at Baker Rink. The Tigers’ season sweep of Dartmouth was their first since the 1994-1995 season.
Coupled with Clarkson’s lost to Colgate, Princeton (15-6-4, 11-3-2 ECACHL) moved into sole possession of second place in the ECACHL with just two league weekends left to go. The most impressive aspect of the Tigers’ win is that they did not let up after their dominating win over Harvard on Friday. Other than two Cornell-Colgate weekends, this was Princeton’s first weekend sweep of the season.
“Second day Ohio State, second day Wayne State, the away game at Harvard, we were kind of flat,” Princeton coach Jeff Kampersal said. “So we just try to keep each period 0-0, no matter what the score is, and just play six periods a weekend, and not even worry about where we are in the standings or what the score is. Just play hard, pressure the puck, and if we can do that then we’re in most of our games.”
Princeton maintained that philosophy, and Dartmouth (9-10-3, 6-7-2 ECACHL) ran into a buzzsaw. Of the Tigers’ seven goals, none summed up the team’s success better than the last one. Junior Kim Pearce made a pass across the crease that ricocheted off a Dartmouth player and into the net for a 7-0 in lead in the final minute of the second period.
“That happens to a team who is working hard and doing well,” said Dartmouth coach Mark Hudak. “Princeton is really playing well right now. I don’t think we had our A-game tonight. I don’t know if it would have made a difference if we had.”
Dartmouth was working from a disadvantage before they even stepped off the bus. Three key Big Green players — seniors Tiffany Hagge and Emily Nerland, and freshman Kelly Marcotte — were out with injuries.
“It certainly didn’t help that we had some key injuries,” Hudak said. “We really only have seven forwards right now, so we’re playing two D on the forward.”
Princeton started the game strong, like yesterday’s win against Harvard. Pearce began the scoring at 5:32, taking an effective pass from senior Sarah Butsch. Then Marykate Oakley struck for a goal, set up by freshman Annie Greenwood. Just 26 seconds later senior co-captain Tarah Clark snuck one past Dartmouth senior goalie Kate Lane, and the period ended with Princeton on top 3-0.
“When we get off to a key start, that means we’re breaking the puck out pretty well and getting our offense going,” Kampersal said. “Collectively, our D moved the puck really well. They skated up through the middle of the rink really well. For whatever reason we’ve been clicking and putting some goals home early which really helps.”
In the second period, the Tigers got their power play in gear, ripping off three straight goals with the man advantage. Greenwood had the first, extending her streak of goal-scoring games to six. Following her was freshman Katherine Dineen, who blasted a shot in from the point, and then Greenwood picked up her second goal, squirting one in from the right face-off circle that found the front corner of the net.
Hudak pulled Lane in favor of freshman Carli Clemis, who did a good job of stopping the bleeding, allowing only the freak goal by Pearce.
In the third period, Kampersal cleared his bench and gave sophomore goalie Rebecca Allen, who had missed much of the season due to injury, some playing time. For the first two periods, Princeton out-shot Dartmouth 31-9, but the third period was all Dartmouth. The Big Green out-shot the Tigers 18-2 and freshmen Shannon Bowman and Marley MacMillan each tallied a goal.
“We really could have just fallen down at the end of the second period, and said, ‘It doesn’t matter what we do, it’s just not going to work.’” Hudak said. “I was pretty happy with the kids in the third period, coming back, working hard, getting a couple of goals, keeping Princeton away from our end a little bit more.”
For the Tigers, who usually win with good defense, this scoring outburst is a welcome experience.
“Sometimes you play great, and we have fifty shots but we only score one or two goals,” said Princeton senior defenseman Chrissie Norwich. “But this weekend we had thirteen goals.”
Princeton travels to Schenectady on Friday to begin a series with Union, while Dartmouth will host Colgate, also on Friday.