It would have been understandable if the Princeton High girls’ hockey team had thrown in the towel after starting the season with seven straight losses.
Coming off a winless campaign in 2012-13, the PHS players could have figured same old, same old.
Instead, the Little Tigers held their heads high and didn’t let the steady diet of losing get to them.
“I think the girls work hard and stay on board with the program,” said PHS head coach Christian Herzog.
“The glass is half full for them; they can be down by seven goals and they are still trying hard. They really have a good attitude; they always have fun.
That upbeat approach yielded dividends as PHS broke through with two wins over the Academy of New Church in mid-January.
“It was a step up getting two wins,” said Herzog, whose team topped ANC 4-1 on January 15 and then defeated the Lions 3-1 nine days later at Baker Rink on PHS Senior Night. “We were looking to get those two wins, that was a goal.”
Herzog credited his group of seniors with keeping the team on task. “It’s a good group, from the fun bunch, to being easy going and working hard,” said Herzog of the team’s Class of 2014 which included captain Kate Sohn, assistant captain Erin Forden, Bea Greenberg, Breanna Hegarty-Thorne, Molly O’Brien, Merritt Peck, and Oraya Zinder.
“Kate Sohn, without a doubt, is the most responsible captain I have had. I think of her as a mini coach. Peck came a long way, she really made some headway. She got the coaches award. I said at our banquet that she is like the daughter I have never had, her sense of humor keeps things light. Forden is more of a physical player, she gave us a physical presence.”
The Herring sisters, freshman Maggie and junior Lucy, gave the Little Tigers a scoring presence in the crease.
“Maggie was the MVP, she had 18 points to lead the team, Lucy was next with 17,” said Herzog.
“Lucy won the head, heart, hustle award, recognizing her hard work. Without Lucy working hard to get the puck out of the corner, Maggie would not have had so many points.
Looking ahead, PHS had some hard workers returning along the blue line. “We have four defensemen coming back in Brittney Coniglione, Anne Daly, Julia DiTosto, and Marian Hancock-Cerrutti,” said Herzog.
“Marian got our most improved award. We had her at forward and then moved her to defense. She was the sixth defensemen at first but moved up. She made tons of improvement and has really become tough out there.”
Sophomore goalie Callie Urisko also improved a lot this winter. “Callie has gotten so much stronger than when she first came on the ice, her butterfly is much better,” said Herzog, who also got some good play this season from senior Hergarty-Thorne at goalie.
“I am going to be working with her to come out more and be more confident with the puck.”
While the bad weather this winter may have stunted PHS’s progress a little bit, Herzog believes his players gained confidence over the course of the season.
“We had two practices in the last month with all the cancellations” said Herzog. “We could only make so much progress, the snow killed us. It was a positive experience overall for the girls.”