Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 49
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Wednesday, December 8, 2010
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FRESH APPROACH: Princeton University women’s ice hockey freshman forward Sally Butler fights for the puck in recent action. A bright spot for Princeton this season has been the production of its freshman line of Butler (seven points), Olivia Mucha (a team-high nine points), and Denna Laing (five points). Last Saturday, Mucha scored two goals to lead the way as Princeton beat Brown 4-0 to snap a seven-game winless streak. The Tigers, 4-10-1 overall and 4-6-1 in ECAC Hockey play, host Syracuse for a two-game set on December 10 and 11.

Mucha, Fellow Frosh Rising to the Occasion, Giving Princeton Women’s Ice Hockey a Lift

Bill Alden

Olivia Mucha has struggled to develop consistency as she has gone through her first few months with the Princeton University women’s ice hockey team.

“The toughest thing is the strength of everyone; every team is deep,” said 5’5 freshman forward Mucha, a native of West Chester, Pa. who starred at The Hotchkiss School before coming to Princeton.

“You are always challenged; you never have a shift off. It’s tough getting used to playing every shift 100 percent and knowing that it could or could not go your way and then keeping a good attitude throughout the whole game.”

Last Friday, Mucha and her teammates didn’t show a great attitude early on as they hosted Yale. Mired in a six-game winless streak, Princeton looked sluggish as it fell behind 2-0 in the first period.

“We started a little slowly; we knew that we hadn’t given our all and we needed to step up,” said Mucha. “I think all of us were upset and we knew what needed to be done.”

Mucha channelled her anger in a positive fashion, scoring a goal 1:07 into the second period as she banged home a feed from classmate Denna Laing.

“It was good execution from all five of us,” said Mucha, reflecting on her tally.

“We kept it in the zone; we kept moving it. None of us panicked or tried to do it all by ourselves. I think everyone was working towards a common goal.”

The Tigers, though, didn’t achieve their goal of breaking their losing streak as they ended up falling 2-1 to Yale despite outshooting the Bulldogs 27-8.

The setback stiffened the team’s resolve in its clash against Brown the next day.

“I think especially after today when the game didn’t go our way, I think everybody will be ready to step it up to another level,” said Mucha. “We obviously need a win.”

In the game against the Bears, Mucha stepped her game up, scoring two goals for the first time in her college career as the Tigers won 4-0 to improve to 4-10-1 overall and 4-6-1 in ECAC Hockey play.

For Mucha, who came into the weekend with a team-high five assists, it doesn’t matter whether she is contributing through goals or assists.

“It was pretty nice,” said Mucha, who has four goals in her last three games and now leads the Tigers in points with nine on four goals and five assists. “For me, a goal or an assist is similar.”

Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal hasn’t had a nice feeling as his team has struggled in a slump that saw it go 0-6-1 in the seven games before the Brown win.

“One of our issues is penalties, we take too many of them,” said Kampersal. “Another issue is that we don’t score any goals and then our power play is lousy. If we could do those three things, then our record might be the reverse of what it is now.”

Kampersal urged his players to reverse course after their poor start on Friday. “We told them to execute literally, that’s all it is,” said Kampersal.

“We have to catch passes when we need to catch the puck. We need to make our shots when we need to make them. We need to try to get the goalie to move side to side. We need to control the blue lines; our offensive entries could be better.”

A bright spot for Princeton has been the offense the Tigers have been getting from its freshman line which features Mucha, Laing, and Sally Butler.

“Mucha does a good job sometimes,” said Kampersal, who also got goals from junior stars Danielle DiCesare and Paula Romanchuk in the victory over Brown with goalie Rachel Weber making 19 saves in earning the shutout.

“She needs to stay in it for a full 60 minutes; she works hard. That line is what we have got right now.”

Mucha, for her part, likes the way the line has come together. “It definitely works together well,” said Mucha, who will look to keep up her scoring streak as the Tigers host Syracuse for a two-game set on December 10 and 11.

“We give each other confidence. We are humble and we help each other out when we need to.”

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