Women's hockey blows past No. 10 Princeton for a 4-1 win

| 11/15/09 11:00pm
by Kevin Xiao and Kevin Xiao / The Dartmouth

Dartmouth (2-3-1, 2-3-1 ECAC Hockey) split the weekend, however, as the team stumbled against Quinnipiac University, losing 2-1 despite refocusing its attack in the final minutes of play.

"We came out flying against Princeton," co-captain Jenna Cunningham '10 said. "The pace of the game was quicker than the other games. We got into a rhythm and tried to put a lot of pressure on the other team."

Sasha Nanji '13 acted as an impetus for the Big Green's offensive surge against Princeton (5-2-1, 4-1-1 ECAC Hockey). The freshman kept pressure on Princeton netminder Rachel Weber until she scored halfway through the opening period.

Kelly Foley '12 extended Dartmouth's advantage to 2-0 with 7:44 remaining in the first period.

Sarah Toupal '10 swooped in at the very end of the second and third periods to cement Dartmouth's hold on the victory. Toupal tipped in her first goal of the night on a power play with 33 seconds left in the second period. She then sealed the deal for Dartmouth in the final 30 seconds of the game as she slipped the puck past Weber.

The Tigers' lone goal came after Princeton regrouped following the first period. Junior Laura Martindale cut the deficit in half a little over a minute into the second period.

Defensively, the Big Green penalty kill effectively negated a five-on-three Princeton advantage after consecutive penalties were called on Katie Horner '11 and Jenna Hobeika '12.

"I think overall, both ends were working hard," Cunningham said. "We started to see a couple things click and it paid off. We prevented them from getting a lot of opportunities."

Dartmouth converted one of six power play opportunities, while Princeton was one for eight. Both teams fired 22 shots apiece.

Despite the victory, the Tigers still lead the all-time series with Dartmouth, 35-27-4.

On Saturday, although the Big Green fired a barrage of shots in the final period, Quinnipiac (6-3-2, 4-0-1 ECAC Hockey) staved off a Dartmouth comeback.

The Big Green outshot the Bobcats, 33-17, yet could not break past Quinnipiac's rookie goaltender, Victoria Vigilanti, more than once. The freshman bolstered the Bobcat defense, pushing aside 18 shots in the final 20 minutes of play for a total of 33 saves.

"Their goaltender played very well," Cunningham said. "We had more opportunities by taking more shots in the third, but we just could not get it in the net. What we can, at least, take from it is that we learned to create more opportunities. We saw success in getting shots off, but we were just unable to finish."

Bethany Dymarczyk cracked open the third period, putting Quinnipiac on top. She picked up the puck at the right-center point of the blue line and batted a shot past Lacina's right pad.

The Big Green sprang into action quickly after the Bobcats regained the lead. On Dartmouth's only power play of the night, the Big Green fired four shots on goal.

"We definitely hit a couple of posts in the third," Cunningham said. "There were a couple that missed by about an inch, which was frustrating."

The heated final period came after a relatively slow start to the game. Both teams tallied just one goal apiece in the opening period and recorded a scoreless second.

"We were not as urgent in the first two periods, which showed throughout the match," Cunningham said. "Our energy level got up there near the end of the game but we definitely lacked that urgency we had against Princeton."

At the 11:26 mark in the opening stanza, sophomore Chelsea Illchuk drove the puck over Lacina's head off of a rebound.

Dartmouth responded nine minutes later. With 2:27 on the clock. Dumais redirected a rebounding shot off the back boards and fed it to an open Cunningham, who beat Vigilanti inside the right post.

Cunningham accredited the slim margin of victory to the blueliners' ability to prevent the Bobcats from extending their advantage.

"We had a couple of great defensive plays," she said. "Geneva Kliman ['12] made a couple of huge blocked shots that swung the momentum towards our side in the final period."

Quinnipiac ended the night with 17 shots on goal.

The Bobcat victory marks the first-ever win against Dartmouth. The team's all-time record against the Big Green now stands at 1-6-2.

Cunningham said that the team will focus on maintaining consistency this weekend in preparation for its away matchups against league and conference rivals Brown and Yale.

"I think going into this weekend, our main goal is to go all out and play two solid games. We want to pull two solid wins. We're looking to push the pace from the beginning of the first period of the first game to the final moments of the third period of the last game."

The team faces off against the Bears on Friday in Providence, R.I., and then travels to New Haven, Conn., on Saturday to take on the Bulldogs.

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