Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 3
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
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(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
TWO FOR THE MONEY: Princeton Day School senior forward Georgia Travers controls the puck in recent action. Last Thursday, Travers was on target, scoring both goals as PDS nipped Princeton High 2-1. The Panthers, now 5-5, host the Hill School on January 21 and the Lady Patriots on January 24 before playing at Lansdale Catholic (Pa.) on January 26.

Seniors Mayes, Travers Lead the Way as PDS Girls’ Hockey Edges PHS

Bill Alden

One fought through a bruised collarbone to be a rock between the pipes and the other inflicted pain with her surgical finishing as the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team battled crosstown rival Princeton High last Thursday.

The combination of gritty goalie Bryanna Mayes and opportunistic forward Georgia Travers proved to be the difference as PDS eked out a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Little Tigers.

Senior netminder Mayes recorded 27 saves, turning away several point-blank chances, while classmate Travers scored both goals as the Panthers improved to 5-5 on the season.

In the second period, it looked like Mayes was facing the possibility of making no more saves on the afternoon as she lay on the ice for several minutes after being felled by a PHS shot.

“I got hit on the collarbone with a shot; it was a little painful,” said Mayes, who plans to play at the college level and has been getting looks from such Division I schools as St. Lawrence. “I was going to play but I needed a minute.”

Once Mayes gathered herself, she needed to be sharp for just about every minute the rest of the way as PHS mounted a furious rally after falling behind 2-0 and ended up outshooting PDS 28-10 on the day.

“I handle pressure pretty well, I kind of just breathe,” said Mayes. “I have always been OK under pressure. I play much better under pressure than if is not busy.”

Mayes and her teammates felt plenty of pressure as they competed against crosstown PHS in the annual series that has turned into a fierce rivalry.

“They are our rival; our theme for psyche in school was to be blacked out,” said Mayes.

“It was crazy on the ice, there were some rivalries between some of the girls and No. 88 [Gabby Vukasin] because they all play against each other in club.”

The diminutive Mayes stood tall against the skilled Vukasin, who flew up the ice on several rushes over the course of the contest.

“I just see the puck; I don’t even see the player,” said Mayes, in explaining her mindset as she looked to thwart Vukasin.

“When she was on the ice, we made sure that we had her and our players that we needed to have out there. You just have to be aware.”

For Travers, overcoming Vukasin and the Little Tigers triggered some heartfelt emotion.

“I have known Gabby and some of them forever; to show that we can play with them is really, really satisfying,” said Travers, who had a hat trick in PDS’s 5-1 win over Pingry on January 13.

“They are our biggest rivals. In the last few years, we have played them two or three times each year and every time it has been really close. A few times they have beaten us by one goal; it is so exciting to beat them.”

It was exciting for Travers to find the back of the net twice in the win over PHS.

“The first one was if you stay in front of the net long enough and the goalie can’t get it out of her foot, you are going to score,” said Travers.

“I think the most important thing is to always have your stick down in front of the net; that is what my dad has been telling me for my whole hockey career. The second one that was mostly Stephanie [Sydlo]; that was an awesome pass. The girl wasn’t moving her feet in front of the net. I don’t remember what I was doing exactly, I just reacted.”

Travers has reacted well to playing on a line that includes junior star Sydlo and precocious freshman Megan Ofner.

“It is definitely good to get back in the groove,” asserted Travers. “Megan and Steph are so fun to play with; we feed off of each other. I think we all get lots of goals and assists. It is so good because it doesn’t matter who gets the points as far as we care.”

In Travers’ view, it was especially good for the Panthers to survive the gutcheck provided by PHS.

“This was the first game we won that was really competitive; we have had some blow-outs on both ends of the spectrum,” said Travers.

“I think our team was having trouble meshing at the beginning of the season. Having a game that is really competitive and where you still win, proves you can do it and you have that potential.”

Mayes, for her part, thinks PDS has the potential to win plenty more times this winter.

“We definitely want to continue to win and have more wins than losses,” said Mayes, who will look to remain sharp when PDS hosts the Hill School on January 21 and the Lady Patriots on January 24 before playing at Lansdale Catholic (Pa.) on January 26.

“We definitely want keep it above .500 for the year. I don’t think we have had one of those seasons in a while.”

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