The women’s hockey team will take on Rensselaer and Union at home this Friday and Saturday, looking to bring its record past the .500 mark.
“The season has [gone] pretty well so far, we have had our ups and downs, but we are also a very young team,” senior defender Rose Alleva said. “Also, we have a lot of young talent on the team that we have been able to utilize. As time goes on, I think we will become a stronger force and unit on and off the ice.”
Princeton (5-6-2 overall, 4-4-1 ECAC) is coming off a very tough stretch in which it faced ranked teams in then-No. 5 Boston College, then-No. 8 Clarkson, and then-No.8 Quinnipiac, before playing a two-game series at No. 1 Minnesota. The Tigers tied 1-1 against both Boston College and Quinnipiac with come-from-behind goals each time.
“The team has been very well at coming from behind in games, and never giving up. We pride ourselves as a team in our effort,” Alleva said.
Against BC, freshman Kelsey Koelzer scored the first goal of her career to tie the game. It was then sophomore forward Cristin Shanahan who came through for Princeton, scoring in the third period.
“I think as a team we could work on our consistency and mental toughness,” Aleva said after the tough stretch.
The team will look to improve in those areas with their two games this weekend. Both Rensselaer and Union are conference rivals and the Tigers plays both of them again in January so this is a good chance for Princeton to get some more conference wins and prepare for teams that they will have to face again later in the season.
Last year against Rensselaer the team played two very close games, splitting the series. In the first game Princeton scored a go-ahead goal in the third period to make the final score 6-5. In the second, Rensselaer beat Princeton 4-3 while being in control throughout the majority of the game. In the games against Union last year, Princeton tied the first one 1-1, and won the second one 3-0.
“To prepare for the games this weekend, we have been working on clearing people out in front of the net because many of the goals against us have been in this manner,” Alleva said. “Also, from watching video, RPI and Union seemed to be getting a lot of their goals this way. RPI and Union have always played well against us, but all we can do is to focus on what we do best as a team and play our game.”
The game Saturday afternoon against Union is also the second of three “Skate with the Tigers” games. After this weekend’s series, the team gets a break until the first week of January, when it takes on UConn twice at home.
“I am really excited for the next half of our season,” Alleva said. “We have proven to ourselves that if we work hard and stick together we can achieve great things as a team. I also think that we will be getting better as the season goes on, as people get more used to the new systems we are implementing.”