Mariah Keopple's shot from the corner of the Tigers' attacking zone in the first minute of overtime Sunday afternoon at Lynah Rink went skyward off a Cornell defender, and by the time it landed behind Big Red netminder Lindsay Browning, the sixth-ranked, second-seeded Princeton women's hockey team had won its first-ever ECAC tournament championship.
Princeton allowed two goals in the game's first three minutes, but after that, Stephanie Neatby couldn't be beat, making 31 saves on the day as Princeton turned in wins over the nation's seventh-ranked team in Clarkson and top-ranked team in Cornell on back-to-back days with Neatby between the pipes.
Now, Princeton awaits its NCAA tournament seeding, which will be announced Sunday at 9 p.m. on NCAA.com. It'll be Princeton's fourth-ever NCAA tournament bid and third in the last five seasons.
Once Cornell took a 2-0 lead just 169 seconds into the game, Princeton began its comeback. Less than four minutes into the second period, Maggie Connors picked off a Cornell pass deep in the Tigers' attacking zone and found Sarah Fillier on the doorstep of the goal to cut the deficit in half.
As with getting on the board, Princeton was opportunistic in tying the game. After a Cornell player lost control of the puck just feet from the crease in an attempt to clear, Carly Bullock fired the loose puck back toward the net to make it 2-2 and give her 30 goals on the season to make her the fifth player in program history to reach that number.
It stayed tied through the third, but not long into the extra period. Just 53 seconds into the OT period, Sharon Frankel won a draw to Browning's right and sent the puck to Shannon Griffin outside the faceoff circle. Griffin then found Keopple at the opposite corner of the zone, and once the Big Red lost track of Keopple's shot after the block, Princeton had its historic win.
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