For the Princeton University women’s hockey team, the holiday break couldn’t come at a better time.
The Tigers stumbled as they ended the 2012 portion of their schedule, dropping three straight games to fall to 5-9-2 overall and 2-8-2 in ECAC Hockey action.
Last weekend, Princeton got pushed around by Quinnipiac, coming up short in both ends of home-and-home set with the Bobcats, falling 3-2 at Baker Rink on Friday and then losing 4-0 a day later at the TD Bank Sports Center in Hamden, Conn.
Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal acknowledged that his squad has been struggling against Quinnipiac recently.
“Quinnipiac is a really solid team, they have a good goalie and a dominant scorer,” noted Kampersal, who got goals from Kelly Cooke and Brianna Leahy on Friday as the Tigers valiantly fought back from an early 3-0 deficit.
“They are a tough team to play against and it has been a tough matchup for us the last few years. I think we are like what Terry Francona said about the Red Sox in his last season there, we are leaking oil. We are finding new ways to lose. We showed up ready to play on Friday and then we give up three goals. Quinnipiac always works hard but we put them on a platter for them. We did make a rally but we can’t dig out of that kind of hole. The next day we didn’t have enough gas in the tank.”
With Princeton not slated to return to action until it plays a two-game set at the University of Connecticut on January 2 and 3, Kampersal is hoping that the break will be utilized for some soul searching.
“We need to coach better and we need to play better,” said Kampersal, who won’t be back behind the Tiger bench until later in January as he will be coaching the U.S. women’s team at the U18 World Championships in Finland as 2013 rolls around.
“We need to use the break as time to reflect on what we need to do and putting in the time and effort to get better.”
Kampersal thought the Tigers were getting better when they fought hard in a 2-1 overtime loss to No. 3 Clarkson on November 17 and then won two of their next three games.
“We had a middle stretch where I thought we were figuring things out but we haven’t played well the last two weekends,” said Kampersal, whose team is currently seventh of 12 teams in the ECACH standings.
“The kids definitely need a break; we have small numbers and tough practices. It has been a grind.”
Princeton has shown a penchant in recent seasons to grind out wins after the break and Kampersal is hopeful that history can repeat itself.
“The good news is that in the past few years, we have come back stronger after the break,” said Kampersal. “We’ll see if this group has what it takes to do that.”