Even though the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team trailed Pingry 3-0 after one period last Wednesday, Mary Travers didn’t think that PDS was out of the game by any means.
“We had a good team bonding before the game and we were all just in a really positive mood to come back,” said PDS junior forward Travers.
“At least for me, it wasn’t really a doubt. Sometimes, you get down on yourself but we didn’t.”
It didn’t take long for the Panthers to get a lift as Colby Triolo scored 1:22 into the second period to cut the Pingry lead to 3-1.
“That was awesome because Colby normally plays defense so pulling her up was a spur of the moment move,” said Travers.
“On our first shift out, her getting that goal just gave us so much confidence and energy. We were really jazzed and pumped up by that.”
Travers provided the Panthers with plenty of energy after that, taking over the game as she scored the last three goals of the contest to spark PDS to a dramatic 4-3 victory.
Her scoring outburst started with a beautiful rush up the ice and top shelf blast with 2:11 left in the second period.
“One of Lorna’s [PDS head coach Lorna Cook] big things is going wide and I have been having a lot of trouble with that,” said Travers.
“I am finally starting to incorporate that. When I finally got a goal by doing what she has been saying to do, it was even more satisfying.”
Hitting the ice for the third period, Travers felt that PDS had the momentum.
“I think we definitely had more energy than they did,” asserted Travers. “They had one really strong girl but we just united together and had a broader base to work from and to build from. Coming off a really strong second period, we were just that much more ready.”
Some five minutes into the third period, Travers showed she was ready to keep scoring, knotting the game at 3-3 when she redirected a slap shot from defenseman Robin Linzmayer into the net.
“I was in the right place at the right time, it was a great shot by Robin,” recalled Travers. “I was surprised; I felt it and it was like ‘what, that just went in.’”
Then with under two minutes remaining in regulation, Travers got loose on a breakaway and cashed in on her chance.
“Everyone is a little nervous going in one against the goalie but we had tested the goalie out enough by then to know strengths and weaknesses,” said Travers. “I just tried to go wide and it hit off and went in. It was really exciting.”
PDS head coach Cook was excited to see Travers come through. “Mary has been getting a lot better at picking her head up and trying to hit corners,” said Cook.
“We have been working a lot with everybody on taking the puck wide and stop trying to make fancy plays to the middle. She has really responded to that.”
In Cook’s view, Triolo’s tally changed the tone of the contest. “She has been playing defense for us,” said Cook of Triolo.
“We needed to do something to change things up. We moved her up to forward to see what she could do offensively. She ended up getting her first PDS goal so I think that was part of it too. It was big weight lifted for her. Everybody felt that.”
Cook is looking for everybody to pitch in offensively. “Scoring was a question mark going into the season and they have really proved that it isn’t a problem,” said Cook, whose team did run into a roadblock as it fell 6-0 to powerful Morristown-Beard on Friday to drop to 6-3.
“They can put the puck in the net and you saw how excited they were at the end of the game.”
Travers is proving herself after missing most of last season with an ankle injury.
“It has been really nice because this time last season I was out which was so frustrating,” said Travers, who will look to help PDS get back on the winning track as it hosts Princeton High on January 16 before playing at Rye Country Day School (N.Y.) on January 18.
“It was so hard to see my team going into the second half of the season. I am just so happy I can be part of it this year even more and contribute as much as I can.”