Princeton's Sarah Fillier scored a hat trick and the Tigers dominated special teams, going 2-for-3 on the power play and 6-for-6 on the penalty kill to defeat the St. Lawrence University women's hockey team 4-1 in the first game of an ECAC Hockey quarterfinal series on Friday night at Hobey Baker Rink in Princeton, New Jersey.
Justine Reyes scored the lone goal for St. Lawrence, which will need to win Saturday's Game 2 to extend the series to a third game.
Fillier scored the first goal of the game on Princeton's first power play, sniping a wrist shot from the top of the left faceoff circle into the top left corner of the net two minutes and 20 seconds into the second period. Carly Bullock and Karlie Lund picked up assists on the play.
Fillier increased the Princeton lead to two goals just 1:10 later. After receiving a pass from behind the net from Bullock right in the slot, Fillier tucked a backhand into the left side for her second goal of the game. Maggie Connors also assisted on the play.
Fillier completed the hat trick with just over three minutes to play in the period, parking in front of St. Lawrence goaltender Grace Harrison and deflecting a shot by Bullock into the net to give the Tigers a 3-0 lead.
The Saints responded with a goal just 39 seconds later. Nadine Edney found Reyes breaking towards the Princeton net, and Reyes flipped a backhand over Princeton goaltender Steph Neatby's right shoulder for her 10th goal of the season. Kayla Vespa also assisted on the goal, and the scored remained 3-1 heading into the third period.
Princeton gave St. Lawrence a golden opportunity to get within striking distance when the Tigers were assessed a five-minute major penalty for cross checking with 8:22 to play in the third period. St. Lawrence head coach Chris Wells '92 pulled Harrison for an extra attacker for the final minute and a half of the penalty, but the Saints were unable to take advantage.
Princeton's Annie MacDonald put the game away with an empty-net power play goal with just over a minute to play.
"It was one of those games where they scored and we didn't," said Wells. "Obviously (Princeton) did a fantastic job on the penalty kill with the number of power play minutes that we had. We had a tough time getting the puck controlled and sustaining. They won a lot of faceoffs to start the power play, so it took us a bit to get going. That's probably the difference in the game; the first power play they get, (Fillier) throws one under the bar and it's 1-0."
St. Lawrence outshot the Tigers 31-28. Neatby made 30 saves for Princeton (19-6-5), while Harrison stopped 24 shots for the Saints (14-14-7).
The two teams will meet at 3 p.m. on Saturday for Game 2.