2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Princeton Tigers

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Jeff Kampersal (20th Season)
2015-16 Captains: Cristin Shanahan (C), Molly Contini (A), Jaimie McDonnell (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 15-14-2 (13-8-1 ECAC/6th place)
ECAC Postseason: Conference quarterfinals; swept by Quinnipiac in the first round of the ECAC playoffs

The Tigers got off to an excellent start to the season, going 7-1-1 in their first nine games and earning a win over Cornell in that mix. After two overtime wins against Union and RPI, their slate got harder, and they dropped their next six games to St. Lawrence, Clarkson, Quinnipiac, Minnesota twice, and Harvard. They salvaged a win against Dartmouth on Dec. 6 to exit the 2014 calendar year on a positive note, but lost to RPI right away to start the new year.

Princeton fared better throughout the rest of January, going 4-2-1 after that loss, battling Boston College hard in a 4-2 defeat, and beating Harvard 1-0 on Jan. 31. The next weekend, the Tigers picked up wins over Colgate and Cornell, their second victory of the season over the Big Red. In their final four regular season games, they defeated St. Lawrence and Brown, and lost by one goal in contests against Clarkson and Yale. After dropping 7-0 and 2-0 decisions to Quinnipiac in the ECAC quarterfinals, Princeton’s 2014-15 campaign came to a close.

Individually, the Tigers placed athletes on All-ECAC Teams for the first time since 2012. Forward Molly Contini and defender Kelsey Koelzer were both named to the conference’s Second Team. Head coach Jeff Kampersal was named the Ivy League’s inaugural Coach of the Year Award winner, and Koelzer was a unanimous selection to the All-Ivy First Team. Forward Jaimie McDonnell collected Second Team All-Ivy honors, as did goaltender Kimberly Newell, while Contini was named an Honorable Mention All-Ivy honoree.

Meet the Newcomers

 

D Stephanie Sucharda, Canadian Under-18 Team, Mississauga Jr. Chiefs

Sucharda helped Team Canada to a silver medal at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, and also skated with Canada’s National Women’s Development Team this past August at Hockey Canada’s Summer Showcase. She captained Team Ontario to a silver medal at the Canada Winter Games, and was part of the gold medal-winning team at the 2014 Canadian U18 Nationals. With Mississauga, Sucharda led the PWHL in defensemen scoring in 2014-15 with 39 points, and led the Jr. Chiefs to a provincial championship in 2014-15 and a runner-up finish in 2013-14.

D Kimiko Marinacci, Louis-Riel Rebelles, Ottawa Lady Senators

Marinacci was twice named MVP of her Rebelles squad, helping them to 2014 provincial high school championship and semifinals runs in 2013 and 2015. She captained the Lady Senators this past season, and earned an invite to Team Ontario’s selection camp.

F Keiko DeClerck, USA Under-19 Development Team, Cranbrook Kingswood

With Cranbrook Kingswood (Mich.), DeClerck was a first team all-state honoree and was named the MVP of the team. In three seasons, she totaled 77 goals, 96 assists, and 173 points. She spent the 2014-15 season with the USA Hockey Girls’ Development U19 Team, and helped the squad to a state runner-up finish in Michigan. DeClerck is also a three-time participant of USA Hockey national camps.

F Karlie Lund, The Blake School

With Blake, Lund was a three-time all-conference honoree, and was recognized as a semifinalist for the 2014 Minnesota Ms. Hockey Award. She collected all-state honors as a junior and senior and helped the Bears to state titles in 2013 and 2014, earning a spot on the all-tournament team on both occasions. Lund captained the squad to a state runner-up finish in 2015 as well, and won the team’s MVP award as a junior. Over her career, she notched 280 points off of 140 goals and 140 assists, and earned an invite to USA Hockey’s national development camp in 2013 and 2014.

For more details on Princeton’s incoming class, check out the GoPrincetonTigers.com release.

2015-16 Season Preview

Key Departures: F Brianna Leahy, D Ali Pankowski, D Brianna Mahoney
Key Returners: F Molly Contini, F Jaimie McDonnell, F Hilary Lloyd, D Kelsey Koelzer, G Kimberly Newell
Key Additions: D Stephanie Sucharda, F Karlie Lund, F Keiko DeClerck

There was a lot of parity in the league last season, particularly among the top seven teams, and Princeton did its part to contribute to that. But while they earned a big wins over top teams, they also lost some games against lesser teams that they’d probably like to have back. If everything else were to remain the same, and they can close out more of those decisions this year, the team could potentially climb up the ECAC rankings. But first, this year’s Tigers will have to see if they have the same competitive potential as last year’s squad.

At first glance, it looks good, as the team will only have to deal with three major losses to its group of core players, meaning that their roster remains mostly intact. The most significant of those losses are on the back end, with the graduations of Ali Pankowski and Brianna Mahoney. That’s two top-four, veteran defensemen that will have to be replaced, which will be no easy task. But junior Kelsey Koelzer, who broke out with 26 points as a sophomore, returns to help steady things. She’ll now have more defensive responsibilities on her shoulders, as she’ll be counted on to set the tone both ways for the rest of the D. The team is also bringing in Canadian U18 Team alum Stephanie Sucharda, who trained with Canada’s Development Team this summer, so that will help right away. Sophomores Hannah Sorkin and Emily Achterkirch will likely see bigger roles. But expect this to be a pretty small defensive rotation for the Tigers again.

Luckily, Princeton is set in goal with netminder Kimberly Newell, so that should help ease the transition a bit on the blue line. Last season, she boasted a .925 save percentage, 2.36 goals-against average, and 816 saves in 28 appearances. She can handle a busy workload in net and keep the game within reach for the Princeton offense, and they’ll definitely be looking for her to do that when they go up against teams at the top of the conference.

Up front, the Tigers return basically their entire core of primary scorers. Junior Molly Contini led the team last year with 16 goals and 28 points, senior Jaimie McDonnell was right behind her with 25, and junior Hilary Lloyd posted 21 points of her own last season. Kiersten Falck had a solid rookie season with 15 points, and Morgan Sly and Cristin Shanahan were useful in secondary scoring roles. We could see more out of junior Fiona McKenna this season, but so far she’s had a quiet start to her career. Freshmen Karlie Lund and Keiko DeClerck have potential, but they’re probably still a ways away from chipping in consistently.

Overall, the Tigers look good at the forward position and in goal as they’re returning all of their key players at both positions. They fared pretty well last year with Contini, McDonnell, and Lloyd leading that offensive group, but they’ll be hoping to see some more growth there overall; Princeton was just eighth in the league in goals per game with 2.39. They’ll need to find the back of the net more if they hope to win more match-ups, especially since there’s still a lot of work to do to shape things up on the back end. But Newell can be relied upon in goal, and there is some skill on the blue line with Koelzer and Sucharda. The Tigers should remain above .500 once again this season, and if everything gels together well, they definitely have a chance to push the teams above them in the standings.

Schedule Highlights

Oct. 23-24 at Mercyhurst
Nov. 6 vs. Cornell
Nov. 13 at Quinnipiac
Nov. 14 vs. Quinnipiac
Dec. 4 vs. Harvard
Jan. 2 vs. Yale
Jan. 29 at Dartmouth
Jan. 30 at Harvard
Feb. 6 at Cornell
Feb. 12 vs. Clarkson
Feb. 13 vs. St. Lawrence

 

 

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