November 2, 2022

PU Women’s Hockey Displays Energy, Intensity But Falls to Colgate, Cornell in Opening Weekend

OH YES: Princeton University women’s hockey player Emerson O’Leary (No. 10) battles a Colgate player for the puck last Friday night in the season opener for Princeton. The Tigers fell 5-1 to No. 4 Colgate. A night later, freshman forward O’Leary tallied her first career goal as No. 10 Princeton lost 3-1 to Cornell. In upcoming action, the Tigers play at Brown on November 4 and at Yale on November 5. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

The hockey gods didn’t smile on the Princeton University women’s hockey team as it hosted Colgate and Cornell last weekend to start its 2022-23 campaign.

On Friday, 10th-ranked Princeton outshot No. 4 Colgate 28-26 only to fall 5-1 as the Raiders scored three unanswered goals in the third period. A night later, the Tigers built a 34-28 edge in shots against No. 8 Cornell but ended up losing 3-1.

“On both nights we outshot and out chanced opponents that are ranked higher than us and the puck did not bounce the way we needed it to bounce,” said Princeton head coach Cara Morey. “That is the difference in the scores.”

While Morey was disappointed by the results in the two games, she is optimistic going forward.

“The message to the team was be patient and keep buying in,” added Morey. “I thought we outplayed both teams. The offense is going to click. A lot of those scoring chances that didn’t go in the net are going to start going in the net. That will be the difference.”

Princeton’s two star forwards, junior Sarah Fillier and senior Maggie Connors, generated a lot of the shots over the weekend but only had a goal by Fillier, a Canadian Olympian and gold medal winner, on Friday to show for their efforts.

“It is going to happen,” said Morey. “Sarah had a breakaway both days so I am sure that for her, she is probably thinking about those a lot. Those are going to go in. It is just buying in and knowing that we have got to play with the long game.”

Freshman Emerson O’Leary showed some game on Saturday, scoring her first career goal on a breakaway as Princeton made it a 1-1 game in the second period.

“We moved Emerson from the center to the wing, put her up with Mia [Coene] and I think it really helped her,” said Morey. “She is a first-year, and so it kind of protected her and insulated her and allowed her to play a little more offense. She is offensively gifted and it was a beautiful goal. It was a great pass by Katherine [Khramstov].”

The Tiger defense played well in stretches over the weekend.

“I thought our d had really good gaps, our d-zone was really good,” said Morey. “Last night and tonight, there a couple of breakdowns but you can’t expect them to play a perfect game.”

Sophomore goalie Jennifer Olnowich showed progress from Friday to Saturday.

“I think she battled; she probably was a little bit nervous for her first weekend,” said Morey.  “I thought she bounced back really well today and did pretty much what we asked of her.”

With Princeton playing at Brown on November 4 and at Yale on November 5, Morey believes her team will bounce back from its tough opening weekend.

“It is just going to be getting that puck to go our way once they have more chemistry together,” said Morey.

“There were probably five goals left on the table from our top line. In a couple of weeks, those aren’t going to be left there, they are going to be in net. We were the only team there this weekend that hadn’t played yet but you could see the speed, energy, the relentless style, and the physicality. They have all of that — the rest will come.”