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Princeton vs. Yale: ECAC game of the week

Tigers are on the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth.

Princeton goaltender Steph Neatby
Princeton University Athletic Department

Who: Princeton (14-6-3 Overall; 10-4-2 ECAC) vs Yale (9-11-3 Overall; 7-8-1 ECAC)

When: Friday, February 3 (6:00 PM ET)

Where: Hobey Baker Rink, Princeton, NJ

How to Watch: Ivy League Digital Network

The Skinny

The Tigers come into the weekend’s play as one of the ECAC’s hottest teams. Undefeated since Thanksgiving weekend, Princeton had a huge win coming off a bye week, knocking off SB Nation No. 7 Quinnipiac in Hamden 3-0 last Tuesday.

Led by scoring threats Karlie Lund and the reigning NWHL No. 1 draft pick Kelsey Koelzer, Princeton has the seventh-ranked scoring offense in the nation, averaging 3.39 goals per game. The Tigers are fairly balanced, allowing just 1.87 goals per game, on the back of some stellar goaltending by freshman Steph Neatby. Princeton struggles on the kill though, allowing opponents to convert at 16.2 percent.

Yale has won their past four games, including a home-and-home series last weekend with Brown. The Bulldogs sit two games under .500 for the year, but are 8 points off Ivy League leaders Cornell and are in the running for an ECAC tournament spot, sitting seventh in the league.

The Bulldogs are balanced, but neither their offense (2.61 goals per game) nor their defense (2.43 goals allowed per game) is particularly notable. They convert the power play at 17.20 percent, good for ninth in the nation. While this plays well against a Princeton weakness, Neatby’s hot hand may trump all.

Princeton Players to Watch

# 35 - Steph Neatby, G

Very quietly, Tigers freshman goaltender Steph Neatby has made a huge impact on Princeton’s rise in standings. The ECAC Goaltender of the Month two consecutive months, Neatby has added January’s ECAC Rookie of the Month honor to her growing list of accolades. Second in the country in GAA (1.27 in 11 games), Neatby boasts a .955 saves percentage and is second in the ECAC with a .850 win percentage.

#21 - Karlie Lund, F

Lund has been enormous for the Princeton offense this year, scoring 36 points in 23 games, including 19 goals, tied for most in the conference. The ECAC Rookie of the Year last year as a freshman, Lund was First-Team All-ECAC and First-Team All-Ivy League, honors which she looks like she’ll repeat in 2016-17.

Yale Players to Watch

#95 - Krista Yip-Chuck, F

The Bulldogs’ senior captain, Yip-Chuck is tied for the team points lead with 25. Yip-Chuck netted three points in last weekend’s home-and-home with Brown and is second on the team in both goals and assists.

#8 - Eden Murray, F

Murray shares the team points lead with Yip-Chuck, tallying seven goals and 18 assists on the season. She has tallied a point in 18 of the Bulldogs’ 23 games. She’s the Bulldogs’ bellwether - Yale lost four of the five games in which Murray failed to reach the score sheet.

The Pick

Princeton has been rolling; the Tigers have not dropped a game since a November 26th loss at Boston University. Princeton is 6-3-1 at home on the year, but the three home losses have come against Clarkson, St. Lawrence, and Cornell. The Bulldogs have been doing well, themselves, winning four in a row. Yale has struggled against top flight competition, however, losing all but one game this year against the ECAC’s upper tier; the sole point came from a 1-1 tie with Princeton in New Haven on October 29. The Tigers get the nod, 4-2.

Pick Record for the Season: 5-4-3