October 25, 2017

With Sophomore Star Bullock Sparking Offense, PU Women’s Hockey Earns Ties With Providence

BULL MARKET: Princeton University women’s hockey player Carly Bullock celebrates after scoring one of her two goals in Princeton’s 2-2 tie in overtime against visiting Providence last Friday evening in its season opener. Sophomore forward Bullock added another goal a day later as the Tigers and Friars skated to a second 2-2 tie to end their two-game set. Princeton starts ECAC Hockey play this weekend when it hosts Harvard on October 27 and Dartmouth on October 28. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

It took a while for Carly Bullock to get rolling last winter in her debut season with the Princeton University women’s hockey team.

The highly touted forward from Eden Prairie, Minn. had just one goal in her first eight appearances for the Tigers. Once Bullock broke the ice, though, she emerged as one of the most productive players in the ECAC Hockey, ending up with 20 goals and 10 assists on the way to getting named as the league’s Rookie of the Year.

Last Friday as Princeton opened its 2017-18 campaign by hosting Providence, Bullock picked up where she left off at the end of last season.

Weaving through the Friar defense, Bullock scored 7:07 minutes into the contest to give Princeton a 1-0 lead. After Providence responded with a goal to make it 1-1, Bullock tallied again in the opening minute of the second period to put Princeton up 2-1. The Friars got an answered goal in the third period and the teams skated to a 2-2 tie through one overtime.

For Bullock, coming through on opening night came, in part, from an increased comfort level as a sophomore.

“Last year I got off to a bit of a slow start; it has definitely been easier this year to know what is going on,” said Bullock.

“Besides a game standpoint, even in practice, off ice and everything, having one year under my belt, it is just knowing how everything works. It has been super helpful.”

Bullock displayed her experience on the first goal as she adjusted on the fly. “As I was making the move around the defender, the goalie was already out and I wasn’t expecting that,” recalled Bullock.

“I was expecting to have to make another move so it caught me off guard. I went to my backhand and had the whole net open.”

The second tally was partially the result of Bullock‘s connection with childhood friend and junior forward Karlie Lund, who got an assist on the goal along with MacKenzie Ebel.

“It was definitely just a full team effort; all five on the ice had a part in that goal,” said Bullock, who added another goal on Saturday as the Tigers and the Friars skated to another 2-2 tie to end their two-game set.

“Lundy and I have been playing together since I was 14. It is very nice to have someone who you are so familiar with playing with. You always know where each other are, it definitely helps.”

In the third period, the Tigers were on their heels as they were two players down for nearly four minutes and were outshot 17-6 in the frame.

“They have their systems down and they know what to do; they even changed up some of the systems which we watched on video,” said Bullock, noting that Providence was playing in its seventh game of the season.

“It was tough to come out with the 5-on-3 and the penalties. We tried to keep rolling with the punches but it gets hard, especially with only 10 forwards.”

Although Princeton was playing in its first game under new head coach Cara Morey, who succeeded Jeff Kampersal, now the head coach of the Penn State women’s team, Bullock said the change in leadership has gone smoothly.

“It has definitely been a very easy transition,” said Bullock, noting that Morey had already taken on a lot of responsibility in her previous role as assistant coach for the Tigers.

“We have become really close, players and coaches, which is really nice.”

Morey, for her part, was focused on her players, not her new role, as the Tigers took the ice on Friday.

“For me being head coach, I really didn’t think about that,” said Morey.

“Honestly it is about the girls and I am just trying to help them get what they want accomplished.”

In Morey’s view, Bullock can accomplish a lot this winter. “Bullock is a special player and when she gets that puck on her stick, she can make plays,” said Morey.

“She played big when we needed her to and we are going to need her to do that all year.”

The Tigers also got a big game from junior defenseman  and assistant captain Stephanie Sucharda.

“Steph looked really great on defense,” added Morey.  “She handles the puck well, she makes really good decisions.”

Morey acknowledged that the Tigers didn’t make some good decisions in the third period as they played shorthanded for long stretches.

“When you take too many penalties, your top kids have to play on the penalty kill and then by the time you need them on 5-on-5, they are pretty spent,” said Morey, whose team starts ECAC Hockey play this weekend when it hosts Harvard on October 27 and Dartmouth on October 28. “We have to do a better job staying out of the box.”

While Morey was disappointed that Princeton didn’t hang on for the win, she had no qualms with the effort put in by her players.

“I am really happy with our compete level; we did run out of gas at the end, but it wasn’t from a lack of effort,” said Morey, noting the team’s five freshman forwards were up to speed as they made their college debut.

“It was just that we have a small bench. We know this is going to happen so rest and recovery is really important. That we could match the pace right off the bat with a really strong Providence team is something to be proud of. They are getting a lot of votes for the top 10 and they look like a top 10 team right now.”

Having benefited from the advice of veterans during her freshman campaign, Bullock is looking to return the favor.

“We have a great freshman class,” said Bullock. “Last year, with only two new forwards, we saw the older forwards taking us under their wing and teaching us the systems. It is nice to be able to do that this year.”