As the Princeton University women’s hockey team headed to New England last weekend to face Harvard and Dartmouth, Jeff Kampersal was still basking in the glow of guiding the U.S. squad to a silver medal in the U-18 World Championships in Finland.
“We had a great staff and a great team,” said Princeton head coach Kampersal, whose U.S. team fell 2-1 to Canada in the gold medal game with Tiger freshman goalie Kimberly Newell starring for the victors. “The kids came together real quickly. We had a great run the whole time.”
While Princeton didn’t have a great time last weekend as it fell 3-0 at No. 2 Harvard on Friday and then lost 6-2 at Dartmouth a day later, Kampersal did see some good things from his Tiger team.
“The kids played with a lot of heart against Harvard,” said Kampersal.
“Harvard is a great team with great players; their skill and depth was too much for us. We played great in the first period against Dartmouth. It was one of the better first periods I have seen in a while. We took a couple of penalties in the second period and their power play is loaded. We fell behind 4-2 and we had to take too many chances.”
Kampersal tipped his hat to his crew of blue liners who have been forced to take extra shifts due to injury issues.
“The four defensemen, Gabie [Figueroa], Rosie [Alleva], [Ali] Pankowski and [Brianne] Mahoney, are really battling,” said Kampersal, whose team moved to 6-12-2 overall and 2-10-2 in ECAC Hockey play after its losses last weekend. “They may not be perfect but they always battle. They have been under duress.”
With Princeton currently on hiatus due to exams and not in action again until it plays at Penn State on January 29, the Tigers will get the chance to lick their wounds.
“This break probably comes at a decent time for us; we need to regroup and get ready for the stretch run,” said Kampersal.
“We need to stay consistent and get healthy. We have had most of our practices with one goalie and we have kids who aren’t practicing during the week and are just playing on the weekends.”
When the Tigers do return to the ice, they need to bottle some of the spirit that characterized their play against Harvard and Dartmouth.
“We need them to display the heart they had this weekend,” said Kampersal “They need to stick with the plan and not stray from what we are trying to do. They can’t get too emotional.”
Currently sitting in seventh place in the ECACH standings with only the top eight making the playoffs, Princeton needs some production to go with its heart.
“We have eight games to go in the league,” noted Kampersal. “We have five that are with teams that are close to us. We can control our own destiny. We need to get any points that we can.”