Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 6
 
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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FOREVER YOUNG: Princeton University women’s hockey goalie Kristen Young makes a save in a game earlier this season. Last Friday, Young made 18 saves as Princeton produced a 3-1 win over Colgate in a critical ECAC Hockey contest. After a 2-2 tie with Cornell on Saturday, the Tigers are 14-9-2 overall and 11-6-1 in ECACH play, tied for fourth in the league with Colgate. In upcoming action, Princeton plays at Clarkson on February 13 and at St. Lawrence on February 14.

With Senior Goalie Young Raising Her Game, PU Women’s Hockey Gains in ECACH Race

Bill Alden

Over the first 16 games of the season for the Princeton University women’s hockey team, senior goalie Kristen Young gave up a total of 41 goals.

While that amounts to a more than respectable 2.6 goals against average, Young realized that she wasn’t at her sharpest.

“I knew I had to step it up,” said Young, reflecting on her play early in the season.

“I wasn’t playing badly but I need to play better than that. I have figured out a routine that has worked for me. I am making sure that I feel how I want to feel when I play my best.”

Applying that new routine, the 5’8 Young has stood tall in the net for Princeton lately, giving up just 11 goals in her last nine games as the Tigers have gone 7-1-1 in that stretch.

Last Friday, Young made 18 saves as Princeton produced a 3-1 win over Colgate in a critical ECACH hockey contest.

The Tigers entered the evening trailing Colgate by a point for fourth place and home ice in the ECACH quarterfinals.

Young was particularly sharp in the second period when Colgate had four power plays.

“I just have got to keep doing my job; that’s where I am supposed to show up,” said Young, a native of Calgary, Alberta who was invited to try out last summer for the Canada’s Under-22 national team. “So I need to give my team a chance to keep them in it.”

A day later, Young made several key saves as Princeton pulled out a 2-2 tie with Cornell as the program held its annual Senior Day celebration.

The tie left Princeton at 14-9-2 overall and 11-6-1 in ECACH play, tied for fourth with Colgate.

Young and her teammates are thriving under the pressure of the tight race for home ice.

“I think every game is a brand new season,” said Young, whose goals against average for the season is now down to 2.11. “We have been giving everything.”

The collective effort has spawned a special chemistry among the Tigers. “There is definitely a really good sense in the dressing room right now, everyone loves being here and giving all they can,” asserted Young.

“When you see the opportunities that we do have and the teams that we have beaten, you see that you can go far in the ECACs and that a lot is possible. It is very encouraging and exciting.”

Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal is excited with the way Young has stepped up for the Tigers.

“I don’t know if it is fair for her but from last year to this year, she has taken a lot on her shoulders,” said Kampersal.

“She can carry our team and I told her earlier on that she would have to be our best player in order for us to win. That’s asking a lot but she’s a tough kid and she can handle it.”

The win on Friday was special for Kampersal as it marked the 200th in his tenure guiding the Tigers.

“I am getting older, that is my No. 1 thought,” said the affable Kampersal with a smile as he reflected on the milestone.

“I was just telling them that no matter what, when there are frustrations and anxieties like there are going to be, we are fortunate that we have really solid kids who come to the rink and practice hard everyday. It is my 13th year but it feels like my seventh year. It is not getting old; I still have a lot of excitement and love for it.”

Kampersal loves what his seniors have given the program. “They are a really good group, they are survivors,” said Kampersal, whose corps of seniors includes Katherine Dineen, Monica Brennan, Annie Greenwood, Christine Foster, and Meg Murray in addition to Young.

“They are really good leaders, they have our group ready to go everyday. During the breaks when we can get distracted and fall by the wayside like we have in some years past, they set the tone. They re-established our culture and maybe a little bit of mojo that we had lost. They have added a lot this year.”

Young, for her part, is looking to add some more highlights down the stretch which includes games at Clarkson on February 13 and at St. Lawrence on February 14.

“It is very bittersweet, I don’t even want to think about it,” said Young, as she reflected on wrapping up her Princeton career.

“I have grown so much as a person and a hockey player. Every game, I try to be in the moment because I want to hold on to every moment.”

And if Young can keep holding the fort like she has in recent play, there could be some good moments ahead for Princeton.

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