With Junior Thompson Providing Scoring Punch, PU Women’s Hockey Moves Into ECACH Lead
BLACK MAGIC: Princeton University women’s hockey player Claire Thompson controls the puck in action last weekend. Junior defenseman Thompson tallied a goal and two assists to help Princeton defeat Colgate 6-0 on Friday in the program’s first-ever #BlackOutBaker game and then chipped in an assist as the Tigers tied Cornell 2-2 a day later. League-leading Princeton, now 5-2-3 overall and 4-0-2 ECAC Hockey, is next in action when it hosts Quinnipiac on November 30. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
With the Princeton University women’s hockey team holding its first-ever #BlackOutBaker game as it hosted Colgate last Friday, Claire Thompson helped the Tigers get out to an early lead.
Junior defenseman Thompson blasted in a shot from the point as Princeton jumped ahead 1-0 with 7:20 left in the first period.
“Annie [MacDonald] did a really good job in the corner getting the puck free and she sucked their d-zone down into them which made me free,” said Thompson, wearing eye black as part of the black-out festivities.
“She fed a nice pass through to me and I shot. It hit some stuff in front before it went in.”
Princeton did some great stuff in the second period, outscoring the Raiders 4-0 on the way to a 6-0 victory.
“The whole team was playing really well and the energy on the bench was insane and with all of the fans here tonight,” said Thompson. “It was a great atmosphere.”
Thompson chipped in two assists during the onslaught, which started when senior star Karlie Lund tallied two goals in the span of 1:24 as the Tigers went up 3-0.
“I personally felt like every time we stepped on the ice, all of the momentum was on our side,” said the 5’8 Thompson, a native of Toronto, Ontario. “It was easy to stay in the game and make good passes, everyone was communicating really well. It was really fun to play.”
The Tigers played well defensively, stifling the Raiders, who advanced to the NCAA title game last winter.
“We still stuck to our systems really well, our d-zone and our neutral zone forecheck was really solid,” said Thompson.
“They had a lot of trouble getting into our d-zone. Our penalty kill did an excellent job preventing them from even gaining entry into the zone.”
Thompson is feeling comfortable all over the ice this year.
“I have gotten more confidence since being a freshman; the team is supportive of everything,” said Thompson, who now has nine points this season on three goals and six assists after chipping in an assist as the Tigers tied Cornell 2-2 on Saturday.
“I was recruited as a forward. I played defense my last two years of high school, but I played my whole life as a forward. I love defense so much. I can pick and choose my opportunities.”
Princeton head coach Cara Morey was thrilled with the way her team cashed in on its opportunities in the second period.
“We were all over them; we were winning all of the loose pucks and then we got our chances,” said Morey.
“In the first period we had a couple of 2-on-1s, a 3-on-1 and a 5-on-3 but we weren’t putting it in. Every time we got our chances in the second period, we seemed to bury them. It was a bit surreal, they just looked so skilled and so fast.”
Senior Lund showed her skill with her two quick tallies, the second of which was the 50th goal of her Princeton career.
“She has been playing great this year, she is one of the leaders we look to on the ice and in the locker room,” said Morey.
“She has found another gear this year that we have really needed. She has stepped up as a leader. She is producing on the ice, so her 50th goal is amazing to have it tonight against such a good team like Colgate.”
Morey likes the production she is getting from Thompson.“Claire is really awesome on the offensive side of the puck and we need her to do that,” said Morey.
Princeton’s effort on the defensive side against Colgate was another big positive.
“A shutout against a team like that that has so much offensive power is incredible,” said Morey, whose sophomore goalie Rachel McQuigge made 33 saves in earning the shutout and was later named the ECAC Hockey Goalie of the Week.
“Rachel played outstanding. Our defense did a really good job, just managing gaps and managing the puck and keeping it as simple as possible. They just didn’t get a lot of offense generated from that.”
With Princeton, now 5-2-3 overall and 4-0-2 ECACH, sitting atop the the league standings, Morey is hoping the Tigers can keep surging.
“Our roster was totally different the last four games and now we Keiko [DeClerck] and Sarah [Fillier] back,” said Morey, whose team is 5-0-3 in its last eight contests and is next in action when it hosts Quinnipiac on November 30.
“The next person up was playing; they all did well and they were all doing their jobs. To have a full bench of forwards is pretty cool because we can keep attacking.”
Thompson, for her part, is excited by how quickly things have come together this season.
“Our freshmen came in and they are very skilled; they jelled really well with the team,” said Thompson.
“They picked up on our systems really well and quickly, which enabled us to get a quick start. Everyone is playing really well together.”