Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXV, No. 7
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
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>GETTING DEFENSIVE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Laura Martindale prepares to ward off a foe. Last weekend in her final regular season appearances at Baker Rink, senior defenseman Martindale contributed an assist and solid play in the d-zone as Princeton topped Union 3-1 on Friday and beat Rensselaer 4-2 the next day.

Martindale, Classmates Produce Big Senior Weekend As PU Women’s Hockey Stays in Race for Home Ice

Bill Alden

As Laura Martindale looked ahead to her Senior Day ceremony last Saturday for the Princeton University women’s ice hockey team, she was hoping to not get overcome by emotion.

“A couple of my friends came and my family is down,” said the 5’10 senior defenseman, who hails from Kingston, Ontario.

“It makes it really special. Everyone tells you that the four years go faster; it is hard to believe. I am hoping I won’t get upset tomorrow and embarrass myself or cry or anything like that. I am just excited; I really want to finish well at Baker.”

Martindale certainly didn’t embarrass herself in the season finale against Rensselaer, contributing an assist as the Tigers skated to a 4-2 win over the Engineers in moving to 14-12-1 overall and 11-8-1 in ECAC Hockey play.

Fittingly, Martindale’s assist set up one of three goals scored on the afternoon by classmate and fellow defenseman Sasha Sherry.

“We have been playing together this year which we have never done before,” said Martindale, noting that the Princeton coaches have typically preferred to split up their star defensemen.

“It’s really fun and I think it helps that we both have played all four years. We have gotten to know each other and our playing styles and we know how we are going to respond. It makes it a lot easier in the tense moments to know what she is going to do and what I should do in return.”

Martindale has brought her experience to bear in serving as one of the team captains for Princeton this season along with junior forward Paula Romanchuk.

“It’s meant a lot to me personally; it is something I had in mind when I came in as being a goal to aspire to and something to really aim for,” said Martindale, whose assist gave her six points on the season.

“I think I get a lot of support from Chucky [Romanchuk]; her being a co-captain really helps. The team works together to solve problems as they arise and that makes it easy on me. It is definitely something I really appreciate and I take pride in it.”

The Tigers worked hard on Saturday to raise the level of their game after a lackluster 3-1 win over Union the day before.

“I think it was alright; we were slightly scrambly,” said Martindale, referring to Princeton’s play in Friday which saw Sherry, Denna Laing, and Corey Stearns each find the back of the net.

“We did pretty well; it just needs to be polished. I feel like it was a little rough around the edges; it was a good effort, we just need to have a little more finesse to it.”

Martindale is hoping that last weekend won’t be her last appearance at Baker as the Tigers are in a battle to finish in the top four in the ECACH standings which would guarantee home ice for the first round of the playoffs.

“What really comes to mind is that we need to win a playoff series,” said Martindale of the Tigers, who are currently in fifth place in the ECACH standings, one point behind Quinnipiac (20-10-2 overall, 12-8 ECACH).

“I have had great moments here and great games with some awesome wins over Harvard and Minnesota-Duluth. The streak was amazing, that is a nice stat to have on our side but I am itching for a playoff win. That is definitely something we are gunning for.”

Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal has enjoyed some great moments watching the team’s Class of 2011 develop.

“They are awesome kids; they are very respectful, mature kids who are leaders,” said Kampersal, whose senior group also includes forward Caroline Park, a goal scorer in the win over Rensselaer.

“It’s always bittersweet at this time. We are close to saying goodbye to them; I think the world of them. They were a mature group coming in.”

Kampersal is looking for some mature play from his team as it wraps up regular season action with games at Yale (7-16-3 overall, 6-11-2 ECACH) on February 18 and at Brown (2-21-3 overall, 1-15-3 ECACH) the next day.

“We need to play like we did pre-exams if we want to do something special at the end of the year,” said Kampersal, whose team went into the mid-January exam break riding a seven-game winning streak.

“We have good players; they are a good group and really great kids. We just have to tighten up the ship, execute, and be tougher and smarter.”

Martindale, for her part, is confident that the Tigers can do some great things down the stretch.

“I think anything is possible,” said Martindale, who now has 34 points in her Tiger career on 10 goals and 24 assists.

“We have played every team in the league and we have been in at least one of the games with each team. We have been very close. Our league is like that this year where everyone is close. We have to be on our game. If we are not, it is going to be a tough road. If we are on, we can definitely pull through and get some really good wins and make it far.”

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