With Freshman Frankel Coming Up Big, PU Women’s Hockey Getting on Right Track
FRANK EXCHANGE: Princeton University women’s hockey player Sharon Frankel, right, fights for the puck in recent action. Last Saturday, freshman forward Frankel scored a goal in a losing cause as Princeton fell 3-2 to No. 4 Colgate. The Tigers, now 6-10-4 overall and 5-8-1 ECAC Hockey, host Brown on January 12 and Yale on January 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Sharon Frankel stands only 5’1 but she is making a big impact in her freshman season with the Princeton University women’s hockey team.
After tallying a goal and an assist in her first 15 games for the Tigers, she has chipped in two goals and an assist over her last five appearances.
In assessing her progress, Frankel acknowledged that there have been ups and downs as she has adjusted to college hockey.
“One of the biggest challenges, especially going to a top school like Princeton, is being able to focus in at the rink and forget all of the school work and the outside pressures,” said Frankel, a native of West Hartford, Conn. “When we are here, we need to pay attention to the smaller things, like the video sessions and the lifts, and really just be on top of our game all of the time.”
Last Saturday as Princeton hosted No. 4 Colgate, Frankel displayed some game, tallying a goal midway through the third period to knot the game at 2-2.
“My linemates and I have been working hard together for a while and the chemistry was really flowing,” said Frankel, referring to fellow freshmen, Shannon Griffin, and Annie MacDonald, who were each credited with an assist on the score.
“We finally put one away together so it felt really good to get that goal and to tie it up and to do it with my linemates.”
Although Colgate scored a late goal to pull out a 3-2 win, Frankel was proud of how Princeton battled back as it trailed 2-0 entering the third period.
“I think the message in the second intermission was to keep going and give all we had,” said Frankel, reflecting on the defeat which moved the Tigers to 6-10-4 overall and 5-8-1 ECAC Hockey.
“We just needed to keep pushing and give it that extra inch. We have been training all year and we are definitely a really well conditioned team, so I think that really helped pull us through.”
With Princeton having defeated No. 5 Cornell 5-2 a day earlier, Frankel believed that the Tigers made progress in their first action of 2018.
“I think this weekend was definitely a step forward and especially looking ahead to the end of the season and the playoffs, showing that we can hang in there with anyone and even outplay and outcompete a lot of teams,” said Frankel.
“That definitely bodes well for us. It keeps reminding us to push forward and give all we have, which we did to get the results we wanted some of the times this weekend. Hopefully we will keep getting them if we put in the work.”
Princeton head coach Cara Morey likes the way Frankel is pushing the action.
“Frankel is very strong, she is a workhorse,” said Morey. “She does what we need her to do and that is to create a lot of pressure on the puck. She is awesome on the penalty kill because when other teams get a little relaxed and complacent, she is coming hard and takes them by surprise. She is a battler.”
Morey was proud of the way her players battled back in the third period.
“We just tweaked our forecheck a little bit and talked about what we really do well,” said Morey, whose team outshot the Raiders 15-7 in the final frame. “They just came out ready to play, this team believes in themselves.”
With Princeton having gone 2-1-1 since the Christmas break, Morey believes the Tigers are starting to roll.
“It was the start of a new season. I think we are doing awesome,” said Morey. “We easily could have come out of that game with a point and had back-to-back three-point weekends. We are heading in the right direction, and I think there are going to be a lot of teams afraid to play us in the playoffs.”
Morey is not surprised that her squad is on the upswing. “I actually don’t think we have changed much; we just honestly didn’t get the bounces in the first half,” said Morey.
“We knew eventually the bounces would have to come our way. They have stayed positive throughout. We knew it was going to turn around because we were already outplaying teams.”
With Princeton hosting Brown on January 12 and Yale on January 13, Morey is confident her team will keep playing well.
“It is a huge weekend for us,” said Morey. “It is two Ivy League games and the Ivy League means a lot to us. It is two good opponents.”
It has meant a lot for Frankel to be taking a greater role for the Tigers. “I am definitely starting to feel like a real part of the team,” said Frankel.
“The upperclassmen have been great at including the freshmen and making us feel welcome. Now it is the second half of the year, I don’t feel like there is a divide at all. I feel comfortable, for sure.”