February 14, 2024

Senior Stalwart Monihan Determined to Give Her All As Tiger Women’s Hockey Heads into Homestretch

FINAL PUSH: Princeton University women’s hockey player Kate Monihan heads up the ice in a game last season. Senior defender and team captain Monihan has helped spark a stingy Tigers defense the winter. Princeton, which fell 3-1 to St. Lawrence last Saturday to move to 12-10-5 overall and 5-10-5 ECAC Hockey, plays at Union on February 16 and at RPI on February 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

As Kate Monihan stood on the ice at Hobey Baker Rink last Friday before the Princeton University women’s hockey team hosted Clarkson to start her final regular season home weekend, she took a moment to reflect on her journey with the program.

“I was thinking about how grateful I am to play here, I always look at the Patty [Kazmaier] and Hobey banners and appreciate the moment,” said senior defender Monihan. “It felt extra special today, knowing this is one of my last times being able to do that.”

Facing the No. 3 Golden Knights, Monihan and her teammates were fired up to get senior weekend started on a high note.

“After our Quinnipiac game (a 3-1 loss on February 3), we gathered as a group; we realized that there is not much time left in the season and we are a really talented and special group,” said Monihan, a 5’5 native of Moorestown and a former standout for the Lawrenceville School. “We just needed to find our groove. So this week, we really dialed in on the details and focused on executing our game plan. We were also showing each other lots of love and support. I think it showed on the ice today.”

No. 12 Princeton battled the Golden Knights all over the ice as the foes skated to a 0-0 stalemate through three periods. Clarkson ended up pulling out a 1-0 win as it scored a power play goal with 2:35 left in overtime.

“I think today was one of our best games of the season, we all did our jobs,” said Monihan. “We went the extra mile, whether it was joining the rush, dialing in on breakouts or making clean passes. The entire game we were just supporting one another. What makes this d-corps
really special is that we show each other a lot of love,
a lot of support and it
translates on the ice.”

Monihan feels a lot of love for her classmates. “I am so fortunate to have such a close-knit class, we took a gap year during the COVID time to stay together,” said Monihan of the program’s Class of ’24 which includes Sarah Fillier, Stefanie Wallace, Annie Kuehl, Catherine Kerin, Daniella Calabrese, and Emma Kee. “I just think that makes the bond between our group extra special. We took a year off from school so we could all be together here and finish out our four years. That is just a testament to our relationship with one another, our relationship with the program and Princeton athletics and just what an amazing place it is.”

It has been an amazing experience for Monihan to serve as a team captain along with Fillier and junior Mia Coene.

“Being captain is a wonderful privilege, it is also a lot of responsibility,” said Monihan. “It challenges you but in all of the right ways. Cara (Princeton head coach Cara Morey) was joking but she calls me ‘advo-kate.’ She says you are the people’s captain, you always come up and represent your teammates’ interest. That was my goal as a captain, I want everyone to feel loved. I am going to have an empathy-driven leadership. I am going to do everything I can to represent my team and their interests to make sure that we are doing well on and off the ice.”

Monihan’s impact off the ice in the Princeton community was recently recognized when she was selected as one of 18 nominees for the Hockey Humanitarian Award, given for outstanding play on the ice and for exceptional volunteerism in the community.

“It was a big, big honor, it is something I have always made it a priority to have an identity off the ice,” said Monihan. “To me that is giving back to the community and empathy-driven leadership. It was really special to know that those efforts are recognized and valued. I think sometimes as an athlete people tend to hyper focus on your athletic achievements so it is really cool to see that there is value in doing things off the ice and making a difference in your community.”

As Princeton wraps up regular season action by playing at Union on February 16 and at RPI on February 17, Monihan will be looking to make a difference for the Tigers.

“Every day I am just trying to be where my feet are and be really grateful for the opportunity to be a Princeton women’s ice hockey player and leave it all out on the ice,” said Monihan, who has totaled 28 points in her Tiger career on four goals and 24 assists. “There are only so many games left and so many times for me to wear this jersey. No matter the outcome, I am going to be proud knowing that I gave it my all.”

Princeton head coach Morey is proud of her senior group.

“They have got a lot of energy, you can see that,” said Morey. “I put three of them (Calabrese, Kerin, and Kee) together as a line and they do a really good job of knowing our systems, bringing energy, knowing where to go being tough defensively. Kate and Stef are anchoring the defense back there as seniors which is awesome. Annie Kuehl has really stepped up in a big way this year, she has become a really strong go-to player and a leader. Sarah Fillier has such an impact in so many ways. in her first couple years, she was definitely the piece to that puzzle that led us to the Ivy League title and then the ECAC title.”

In Morey’s view, Monihan has made an indelible impact over her time at Princeton.

“Kate is a special person overall, she does everything in her life one way, she gives everything,” said Morey. “Whatever she is doing, she is going to excel. You can tell by the way she plays on the ice, she just leaves it here. She is just like a little engine.”

Morey credited her players with leaving it all on the ice against Clarkson.

“We were great, we worked on this stuff all week; we implemented some changes in the way we were playing and they bought in this week and understood it,” said Morey, whose team fell 3-1 to St. Lawrence last Saturday to move to 12-10-5 overall and 5-10-5 ECAC Hockey. “They just came with way more energy. This is the team we knew we could be. This is how we have to play if we want to win games. That is the No. 3 team in the country. If we want to play with these big dogs, we have
to play that way.”

With Princeton having scored just four goals in its last six games, Morey is looking for the Tigers to be more productive at the end of the ice.

“We have the talent, we get ourselves in penalty trouble,” said Morey. “We do out-chance most teams. I am looking to see what are our actual shots and do we just need to work on better shooting. Most times it is pretty hard to score in our league. When you are playing really tough defense, you lose some of your offense. When you are playing offense, you are giving up holes. We have been focusing so much on the defensive side so much now. We have got to find a way to score.”

Looking ahead to postseason play, Morey believes her squad will be a tough out.

“If they completely buy into this way and they play for each other, we are the scariest team to face in the playoffs,” said Morey.

Monihan, for her part, is confident that the Tigers will be at their best when it counts the most.

“I have no doubt in this group, I have utmost certainty that we are going to come together at the right time,” said Monihan. “We have done it in the past. By the time the end of the season comes around, we get a special energy. This is just the start.”