CAT FIGHT: Princeton University women’s hockey player Maggie Connors, right, gets pushed into the boards by a Quinnipiac defender last February during a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series. The Tigers survived a grueling weekend against the Bobcats, cruising in game one, losing game two in overtime, and then prevailing in the decisive final game in a double overtime thriller. Buoyed by that hard-earned triumph, Princeton went on to defeat Clarkson 5-1 in the league semis and then rally for a 3-2 overtime win at top-ranked Cornell in the final to earn the program’s first-ever ECACH crown. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
A year ago, the final weekend of February turned out to be both a marathon and a springboard to history for the Princeton University women’s hockey team.
Rising to No. 6 in the national polls, Princeton was hosting Quinnipiac for a best-of-three ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series starting on February 28 at venerable Hobey Baker Rink.
The Tigers were rolling, having gone 11-1-1 in their last 13 regal season games and they had swept Quinnipiac in two previous meetings in the 2019-20 campaign.
Opening the series, Princeton continued to sizzle, jumping out to a 4-1 lead in the first period on the way to a lopsided 5-1 victory in game one.
A day later, the Tigers went up 1-0 in the first period and seemed to be on track for a sweep of the underdog Bobcats.
But things turned dicey after that as Quinnipiac responded with two unanswered goals in the second period. The Tigers knotted the game at 2-2 late in the third period on a goal by senior star Carly Bullock. On the verge of being eliminated, the Bobcats pulled out a 3-2 win with a goal at 1:45 of the first overtime to force a decisive third game.
In the finale, Princeton scored twice to build a 2-0 advantage but Tiger sophomore star Sarah Filler sensed that the series was far from over.
“We knew we were going to get their best game, they are ranked 10 in the country,” said Fillier.
“I think arguably we play in the best league in the nation so we knew it was going to be a battle and we were excited to play this one.”
Sure enough, Quinnipiac refused to die, scoring two goals to force a second straight OT game.
In the first overtime, Princeton looked to finish off Quinnipiac, outshooting the Bobcats 16-6 but to no avail as the teams remained stalemated at 2-2.
In the break after the first extra period, Princeton team managers raided the refrigerator in the rink kitchen to microwave snacks to refuel the exhausted Tigers. more