Lorna Gifis Cook was confident that her Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team would eventually develop a potent offensive attack this season.
But with the Panthers having produced a 6-1 start heading into the holiday break, outscoring foes 35-8, Cook is pleasantly surprised by her team’s output.
“I thought we had the potential to score goals but I didn’t think we would be scoring like this so early in the season,” said Cook.
“Just the fact that we have been scoring so many goals is giving us confidence. There was a question of who was going to score but a lot of girls have been getting involved.”
While senior stars Robin Linzmayer and Mary Travers have expectedly shouldered much of the scoring load, the Panthers have been getting valuable contributions from senior Mimi Matthews, sophomore Emma Stillwaggon, and a trio of freshmen, Kristi Serafin, Ashley Cavuto, and Daphne Stanton.
“Moving Mimi up to forward has helped,” said Cook. “Emma has been really good, she was more of a grinder last year but she is showing a better drive to score. Kristi has made a difference. Ashley is going to surprise you and is very consistent. Daphne has great positional instincts; that really helps her as a center.”
In PDS’s 8-0 win over Princeton High on December 18 in its last action before the holiday break, the Panthers displayed their offensive balance as Stillwaggon and Travers each tallied two goals and an assist with Matthews, Linzmayer, Sophie Ward, and Abby Sharer chipping in a goal apiece.
“We tried to get everybody involved so that was good and that gave us momentum,” said Cook, reflecting on the win over PHS.
Even in the team’s sole loss, a 2-0 defeat at the Portledge School (N.Y.), the Panthers gave a good effort.
“I was as happy with that game as I could be with a loss,” maintained Cook.
“We played hard all game, there were just a couple of defensive lapses. We had our chances, we just didn’t capitalize. If we had scored on one of those early, it might have been a different game. We had eight power plays.”
PDS has been playing solid play fundamentally at both ends of the ice. “Our puck protection has been good,” said Cook, who has been getting good work from her goalie tandem of junior Katie Alden [this reporter’s daughter] and freshman Annika Asplundh.
“We have been working on being more responsible and having fewer turnovers. The key in the Portledge game was getting pucks deep.”
Looking ahead to 2014, Cook wants her team to fine-tune things. “The battling has been really good,” said Cook, whose team returns to action by hosting the Lady Patriots club team on January 6 in a scrimmage and then hosting Morristown-Beard on January 8.
“I would say everyone has been playing up to their potential. We need to work on our breakouts. Our power play needs work; we need to get everybody on the ice at the same time to work on that.”