The pronunciation guide underneath the name of Princeton’s starting goaltender on Saturday told the tale of how the day unfolded.
“Kimberly Newell (like jewel)”
The Tigers outstanding junior turned in a gem in the second game of a back-to-back home series against the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on Saturday afternoon, helping her team manage a scoreless 0-0 tie despite being outshot 40-28 through 65 minutes of play.
Newell, who was given the night off by head coach Jeff Kampersal on Friday night to help prepare her for a heavy workload during the conference schedule, was tested early and often. She was up to the task.
“It’s definitely good to get a few shots when the game first starts to get into it,” Newell said. “I feel like our team came out strong and met them. Obviously, I felt like they were gunning for us after we came back yesterday to beat them. I’m pretty happy with how we met the challenge.”
After getting down to a 3-0 deficit in the first period, the Tigers — wait for it — roared back with four unanswered goals to take Friday’s contest, 4-3. To some extent — at least on the scoreboard — Saturday’s game was significantly tighter.
“I think that when you play two games against the same team, there’s a sort of rivalry that starts to build up,” Newell said. “As you could see in the third period, there was a bit of tension between the two teams. But I think that really helped to bring up the level of the game and get the girls competing much harder.”
Kampersal, whose team now stands at 4-1-1 on the season, was pleased overall with his team’s effort this weekend.
“I’d assume we tightened things up, I’m not exactly sure,” he said. “We didn’t give up many quality shots, but we gave up shots. I thought Kimberly played great. We battled hard, and it was just a hard series. RIT played hard and played tough, and they were strong on their skates. Sometimes we just needed to battle a little bit harder, and when we did that, there were periods of eight minutes here and there where we’d really get after it and play hard and then there were periods where we were sitting back and they were taking it to us. It really was like a slugfest.”
In many ways, really. RIT made Newell’s night a challenging one, directing plenty of traffic to her crease.
“I don’t find that bothers me,” she said through a wry smile. “If girls are going to start hacking me and stuff, I’ll fight them back and control my space.”
It was a hard-fought three-point weekend for the Tigers who will now host Union on Friday night, and rely heavily on Newell to keep them near the top of the standings.
“She’s great,” Kampersal said. “When she’s on, she’s big and strong and has a presence in net. There’s a lot of confidence with her in there.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com