Tigers Defeat Lakers in Game 1 of Two-Game Set at Hobey Baker Rink

PRINCETON, N.J. (12/10/16) - Junior Kiersten Falckscored two goals, including the game-winner, and had an assist while freshman goalie Steph Neatby stopped 26 shots as Princeton defeated Mercyhurst, 4-2, today at Hobey Baker Rink in Game 1 of a two-game non-conference series.

Mercyhurst has quietly been one of the top women's college hockey programs in the nation since joining College Hockey America in 2002-03, winning 20 or more games in 13 of the past 14 seasons and finishing 19-11-5 last season. So despite the Lakers' sub-.500 record this season,  Tigers' head coach Jeff Kampersal figured the two-game set this weekend would provide a mid-season exam of sorts for his team before the holiday break.

"We were probably fortunate to win today," Kampersal said. "We played a good third period after struggling a bit in the first and the second."

Mercyhurst (6-12-1) had the better of play in the opening five minutes but it would be the Tigers scoring first. Junior Cassidy Tucker found Falck in front of the net and the junior deposited the puck in the net for her third goal of the season with 6:07 left for the only goal of the opening period.

Princeton (8-6-1) was assessed a penalty as the first period expired and a tripping penalty 24 seconds into the second gave Mercyhurst a five-on-three power play.

Neatby had two big stops during the two-man advantage but Brooke Hartwick scored her eighth goal of the year at the 1:27 mark to tie things at 1-1.  

The Tigers responded with a power-play goal of their own at 7:53 to take a 2-1 lead. Senior Molly Strabley fired a shot from the left circle past Lakers' goalie Jessica Convery for her second goal of the season. Falck and freshman Julia Edgar assisted on the goal.

Hartwick's second goal of the game tied things with 10:50 left in the second and Mercyhurst outshot Princeton 13-9 in the middle period. However thanks to Neatby and several blocked shots the Lakers would not score again.

Falck scored what turned out to be the game-winner with 6:22 left in the second on a pretty set up from Molly Contini. The senior feathered a perfect pass across the crease on a two-on-one rush and Falck buried the puck into the wide open net. The assist was Contini's seventh of the season and freshman Claire Thompson also assisted with the pass that sprung Contini.

The Lakers had four of their seven power plays (though one lasted just 13 seconds) in the final period — making for some tense moments — but sophomore Karlie Lund scored an empty-net goal with 38 seconds for her 13th goal of the year to seal things.

Princeton and Mercyhurst face each other in the second game of this series on Sunday afternoon at 1p.m., at Baker Rink. The Tigers then have an extended break until Penn State visits Hobey Baker Rink on New Year's Eve Day.