March 9, 2016

PU Women’s Hockey Earns At-Large Bid to NCAAs, Will Face Defending Champ Minnesota in Quarters


GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY: Princeton University women’s hockey player Cristin Shanahan heads up the ice in recent action. Senior captain and forward Shanahan was happy to learn on Sunday that her career was extended as the Tigers received an at-large bid to the upcoming NCAA tournament. Princeton, 22-8-2 overall, will play at third-seeded Minnesota (32-4-1 overall) in an opening round contest on March 12 in Minneapolis. It is the Tigers’ second-ever appearance in the NCAA tourney and first since 2006. The Golden Gophers, the defending national champions, are making their ninth straight appearance and 14th since 2001. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

In late November, 2014, the Princeton University women’s hockey team got to test its skills as it hosted perennial powerhouse Minnesota for a two-game set.

Providing the fans at Baker Rink with plenty of entertainment, Princeton battled valiantly in losing 2-1 and 5-2 to the Golden Gophers, who went on to win the NCAA title.

Next Saturday, the Tigers will get another crack at Minnesota but the stakes will be higher this time as Princeton will head out to Ridder Arena in Minneapolis to face the Golden Gophers in the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

After suffering a gut-wrenching 2-1 series loss to St Lawrence in the ECAC Hockey quarterfinals, the Tigers were thrilled to get an at-large bid and the assignment at third-seeded Minnesota.

“We are so excited and grateful for the opportunity to represent the Ivy League and the ECAC in the NCAA Tournament,”  said Princeton head coach Jeff Kampersal, as quoted on the Tiger sports website after the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday evening.

“We are equally excited to play Minnesota, the defending champs and first class program. Coach (Brad) Frost has done a spectacular job with his team, not only this year, but since he stepped foot on campus. Ridder will  be packed, it will be so much fun.”

The Tigers, who set a program record in wins as they have posted a 22-8-2 record this winter, are making their second-ever appearance in the NCAA tourney and first since 2006, when they fell to Minnesota.

The Golden Gophers, 32-4-1 overall this season, are making their ninth straight NCAA appearance and 14th since 2001.

Speaking for the Princeton players, senior forward and team captain Cristin Shanahan echoed Kampersal’s sentiments.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have the opportunity to play in the NCAA tournament,” said Shanahan.

“This team has worked so hard all year and faced so much adversity, and we are so grateful to be given this chance. Minnesota will certainly be a battle but they’re nothing we can’t handle.”

The Tigers have proven they can handle a lot this winter. “I am so proud of our team,” added Kampersal. “We have experienced so much emotionally this year, but the team has remained relentless.”