A sign reading “Make Patty Proud” hangs at one end of Baker Rink for every Princeton home game. The orange banner honoring the late former Tiger defenseman Patty Kazmaier ’86 has been stowed away for about two months as the Orange & Black have been on a seven-game road trip. This weekend, No. 9 Princeton finally returns to the friendly confines of its home barn fresh off its first-ever three-point road trip to No. 6 Harvard and Brown and a 7-1-3 stretch. The sole defeat? A 3-2 loss at the hands of visiting No. 5 St. Lawrence, who also has just one setback in its last 11 games.
No. 5 St. Lawrence (19-4-3 overall, 9-2-1 ECAC)
Top Scorers: Rebecca Russell, Sr., F (23-22-45), Chelsea Grills, So., F (11-18-29), Emilie Berlinguette, Jr., F (10-13-23)
Top Goaltenders: Jess Moffat, Jr. (7-1-3, 1.96, .921), Meaghan Guckian, Fr. (10-3-0, 2.22, .917)
Scoring Offense: 3.23 (9th)
Scoring Defense: 2.00 (T-8th)
Penalty Minutes: 14.5 (10th)
Power Play: 25 of 180, 13.9% (18th)
Penalty Kill: 145 of 171, 84.8% (17th)
Last season, Rebecca Russell was the perfect complement to All-American Gina Kingsbury. Now the Saints’ offensive cornerstone, Russell pushed past Kingsbury’s career scoring record with her 153rd point last Saturday. In addition, Russell single-handledly put Princeton in a 2-0 hole after one period last month at Appleton Arena. The good news for Coach Paul Flanagan is his captain and reigning ECAC Rookie of the Year Chelsea Grills have been getting more help as of late. Junior Emilie Berlinguette has mustered an 11-game point streak and sophomore Crystal Connors has 10 points in her last six contests.
Strangely, the Saint power play has played a relatively small role for a lineup that has produced the nation’s ninth-rated scoring offense and five players with more than 20 points. SLU has just 25 power play goals all year (No. 1 Minnnesota has 48) and at 13.9%, is operating well behind the 18.1% efficiency of last year’s team. Then again, continued strong play from netminders Jess Moffat and Meaghan Guckian has helped mask a lot of shortcomings. Rachel Barrie’s successors have combined to post a .788 winning percentage, 1.98 goals against average, and .921 save percentage. Barrie’s senior year numbers? .708, 2.01, .929.
No. 9 Princeton (11-5-4 overall, 5-4-2 ECAC)
Top Scorers: Laura Watt, So., F (4-14-18), Kim Pearce, So., F (11-5-16), Liz Keady, So., F (8-8-16)
Top Goaltender: Roxanne Gaudiel, Jr. (11-5-4, 1.57, 0.941)
Scoring Offense: 2.20 (20th)
Scoring Defense: 1.60 (5th)
Penalty Minutes: 13.7 (17th)
Power Play: 18 of 120, 15.0% (14th)
Penalty Kill: 103 of 120, 85.8% (16th)
At the start of the season, the leading question marks for Princeton lay in goal and atop the scoring charts, spots held for three straight seasons by Megan Van Beusekom and Gretchen Anderson, respectively. One of those questions has been answered with authority. The other remains unresolved.
Roxanne Gaudiel continues to put together a banner first season as the top goaltender for the Tigers. The junior from Florida paces the ECAC in both goals-against average (1.57) and save percentage (.941) while starting every contest so far. Her save percentage would constitute a new single-season record at Princeton (.930 by Van Beusekom in 2003-04) while her goals against is just off the 1.56 posted by Michelle Pottorf back in 1990.
Gaudiel’s emergence has also come with relatively little margin for error (four ties and seven wins by two goals or fewer) as Coach Jeff Kampersal continues to search for consistent sources of offense. In the last four games, Kim Pearce, Liz Keady, and Heather Jackson (three of his top four scorers) have lined up together while leading scorer Laura Watt has joined co-captain Becky Stewart as converted forwards on defense. The jury is still out on the new rotation, which has produced 10 goals in those four contests, only marginally ahead of the 2.13 goals per game posted by the Princeton offense in its previous 16 games.