Princeton women's hockey - Sarah Fillier
Photo Credit: Nicole Mehl

Princeton Tigers eliminated from the ECAC tournament

The Princeton Tigers Women's Hockey Team faced the Clarkson Golden Knights to try to clinch a spot in the ECAC tournament semifinals. They lost two consecutive games to them and got eliminated in the quarterfinals. The best-of-three competition took place in Potsdam, New York, giving home-ice advantage to the Knights. The games were set on March 1st and 2nd; if needed, the tie-breaker game would occur on March 3rd. 

Game 1 - Quarterfinals Opener

The game had a plodding pace at its beginning, with only four shots on goal during the first 10 minutes of the period. However, with good passing and great accuracy shooting, Clarkson was able to open the scoring with a goal on the top corner of Jennifer Olnowich's net.

An aspect that both teams were able to use to their advantage was to use the errors of the opposing team in their favor. In the first period, one example of that was the Clarkson elbowing penalty right after the face-off past their first goal. The Tigers' captain and senior Sarah Fillier, one of the best players in the program's history, tied the game on that power play.

During the second period of the game, Kate Monihan, assisted by Sarah Paul and Katherine Khramtsov, was able to give Princeton the lead.

The win seemed to have been going to the New Jersey team. With 84 seconds left until the final buzzer, Clarkson's goalie went to the bench, allowing an extra attacker for the team. A sometimes dangerous strategy, but this time, it worked. The Golden Knights tied the game and took it to overtime.

*The overtime rules in the ECAC tournament follow the golden goal rule*

Even with both teams getting scoring chances, a single 20 minutes of overtime wasn't enough to get to the game's outcome. Princeton got three shots on the post that didn't get to the back of the net by millimeters.

Excellent saves from Olnowich highlighted the second overtime. However, that was not enough to keep the Golden Knight's puck out of the goal as Clarkson's Alexie Guay scored the game-winner to take the win in Game 1.

Game 2 - All-or-nothing

The win or go home wasn't favorable at all to the Tigers. They would have to win both Games 2 and 3 to advance.

The first period was already a great prologue to what the game would look like in matters of physicality. Both teams were eager to secure the win. However, the second was indeed the beginning of the end for the New Jersey team's season. Princeton had some intense possessions, using their good defensive side and not letting Clarkson get past the neutral zone. A turnover was the trigger. Clarkson teamed up on their offensive side and scored on a rebound. Not long after, another goal.

During the remainder of the game, keeping the possession of the puck was a massive problem with Princeton. A cross-checking penalty gave the Clarkson team the advantage of furthering the lead, making it 3-0. In the third period, Sara Swiderski got their fourth and what would be their winning goal.

Not long after, Emerson O'Leary, with assists from Dominque Cormier and Issy Wunder, took the chance of a shootout for the Golden Knights out of sight. That was the first goal of the night for the Tigers.

After another two goals from the Clarkson team. 6-1.

To close her career in the program, Sarah Fillier got her 29th and 30th goal of the season, becoming the 10th player in program history to reach this mark. With that, the Princeton Tigers lost the second game (6-3), eliminating them from the tournament.

Up Next For the Tigers:

The Tigers have finished their season in a sour way, and sadly, this will be the last time we'll see multiple players wearing the black and orange jerseys. Kate Monihan, Stefanie Wallace, Annie Kuehl, Catherine Kerin, Sarah Fillier, Daniella Calabrese, and Emma Kee are the current seniors that we won't be able to see playing for the team anymore.

Sarah Fillier, the arguable best player in the team and near program history, is set to be one of the top picks of the next PWHL draft - the second in its history. Her work on Team Canada has made her a two-time Olympic and world champion.

There isn't a doubt that some of Fillier's teammates might also make a show at the PWHL draft.

The Princeton Tigers will rest and revive themselves for the next season. Alongside coach Cara Morey, they will have to fix and work on the issues they faced this season. Also, the team will add new faces for the 2024-25 season, as the 2028 recruiting class will be heading to campus soon.


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