Despite a tie and a loss this weekend, women’s hockey displayed improvement and determination in their home matchups against No. 11 Princeton University and No. 6 Quinnipiac University. The games were the first two of an 11-game stretch against ECAC opponents that will wrap up the Big Green’s season.
Dartmouth was last in action on Jan. 3 when it finished non-conference play with a 3-2 loss to Franklin Pierce. Princeton, on the other hand, came into Thompson Arena on Friday looking to continue their 7-game point streak. The game resulted in a hard-fought 1-1 tie after overtime.
In the first period, the game remained scoreless for over 45 minutes until Caroline Appleyard ’25 broke the deadlock with a breakaway goal. However, Princeton’s Annie Kuehl responded just six minutes later, tying the game with an end-to-end goal.
During the same play, Kuehl received a cross-checking major for making contact with fifth-year goaltender Hann Humphreys ’23. Friday’s game was only Humphreys’s second start of the season, although they had previously made starts in the 2019-20 and 2021-22 seasons. Humphreys saved 34 of 35 Princeton shots, a career second-best performance.
“For me, practices have just been about getting back into it, [and] then teaching myself how to play with a new setup,” Humphreys said.
The Big Green had a chance to win the game when they received a power play with two minutes remaining in regulation. Despite their best efforts, they were unable to convert. The teams combined for a total of nine penalties throughout the game, but the penalty kill units on both sides stood strong, preventing any power-play goals.
Despite a collective 73 shots on goal from Dartmouth and Princeton, the game remained tied 1-1 through the first 60 minutes. Due to penalties, the five-minute overtime period was played four-on-four. Big Green goaltender Humphreys faced seven shots in overtime and saved each one, securing 1.5 points in the ECAC standings for the Big Green.
Dartmouth faced the nationally-ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats the following night, resulting in a 5-3 defeat. The game was even through the second period, but the Bobcats’ offense proved too much for the Big Green.
Quinnipiac struck just 11 minutes into the game. They doubled it with a shot from the point at 12:14 in the second period.
But Dartmouth soon struck back. Annie King ’24 cut the Bobcat lead in half by shooting the puck in off the post at 14:28 in the second period. King’s goal was her first of the season. Dartmouth scored twice in the final period in a late comeback attempt, but Quinnipiac’s empty-net goal sealed the final score.
Despite the 5 goals against the Big Green, Humphreys had a stellar .920 save percentage in the game.
“In a low-scoring game, there’s so much pressure to not let up that one goal because it’s going to be so much harder to get it back,” Humphreys said. “In a high-scoring game, we’ve already scored on you, so you know that they can [score also].”
Assistant coach Max Gavin said he is impressed with the women’s hockey team in his second season on the job.
“It’s a great measure, even though we don’t get the results,” Gavin said. “We want to move forward and hopefully … continue to progress.”
Gavin also noted the significance of playing well against two teams that have had great success this season.
“Our team has shown great progress in terms of putting a weekend together against two nationally ranked teams, where we competed throughout both games from start to finish,” Gavin said. “So now, our bar has been raised for what we expect of ourselves.”
King also believes that the team is on the path to future success.
“I think we have a lot of opportunities, and I’m excited to see where that continues to trend,” King said.
Uplifting the enthusiasm for the future of Dartmouth women’s hockey is the new Professional Women’s Hockey League — representing the next level of women’s hockey.
The league, which consists of six teams across Canada and the United States, has been met with great success and support since its debut in August 2023.
Gavin expressed excitement about the new league and expanded opportunities for female hockey players.
“What an amazing opportunity for the women now to have a real, pro league that is selling out arenas and setting records,” Gavin said. “I think it’s only the beginning of an amazing experience for women’s hockey, and it shows the true growth of the game right now.”
King noted the significance the league may have on the next generation.
“When I was young, I was like ‘I'll be in the NHL’, but I think that’s actually possible for girls now, and they can actually compete in a league that’s broadcast really well,” King explained.
All things considered, the future of women’s hockey, both at Dartmouth and beyond, seems bright. The Big Green will look for a win on Friday, Jan. 19 at 6 p.m. when they face off against Union College at Messa Rink in Schenectady, New York.
Correction Appended (Jan. 15, 1:07 p.m.): A previous version of this article stated in the title, deck and lede paragraph that women’s hockey suffered two losses this weekend. The article has been corrected to reflect that the Big Green tied against Princeton and lost to Quinnipiac. We regret this error.