Catching Fire for Trinity Women’s Hockey, Princeton Native Herr Emerges as Top Scorer
After tallying five goals as a freshman for the Trinity College (Conn.) women’s hockey team in the 2012-13 campaign, Cheeky Herr didn’t view herself as a go-to scorer.
But late last January, the Princeton native scored two goals in a 4-1 win over Colby and started to see things in a different light.
“Going in as a freshman, you are the new kid on the block and you don’t want to step on toes,” said Herr.
“A lot of it was having confidence in having your skills and ability to be a goal scorer. About halfway through the season in the Colby game, something started to click. I felt so confident. I told myself I am a good player, I can score goals. It was all mental.”
Things are clicking on all cylinders this winter for Herr as the junior forward has piled up 13 goals and 13 assists through Trinity’s first 13 games. She is the leading scorer in the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) and is fifth in the nation in total points among Division III players.
Coming off a week which saw her score five goals and get six assists in three Trinity wins, Herr was named the NESCAC Player of the Week.
In reflecting on her scoring surge, Herr credits a change in the lineup with helping to trigger things.
“We flipped lines,” said Herr, who is combining with senior Lucy Robinson and fellow junior Emma Tani.
“The three of us work well together, we mesh, there is a flow. We find each other on the ice. We were put together in the two games before Christmas. Lucy is assisting me and I am assisting her. Emma is like a nice cherry on top of a sundae. She has the speed and stick skills that we don’t have.”
The 5’3 Herr worked hard in the offseason to get into top shape for her junior campaign.
“I am a small player so I get knocked around a lot,” said Herr, who ended up with 10 goals and nines assists as a sophomore.
“I get bruised and battered and end the weekend sore. I didn’t want to lose steam halfway through. I wanted to have extra energy. I wanted to be stronger, fitter, and faster. I had an internship in Stamford. I had a trainer there who had worked with NHL players; that was great. I was sport focused and one-on-one.”
Seeing the end of her college hockey career on the horizon, Herr brought a sense of urgency into this winter.
“You are a junior and you have to step up.” said Herr. “I have a month or two plus a season left. I want to enjoy every ounce of it. I love the sport. I want to play the best I can.”
Enjoying a special team spirit, Trinity is having a superb season as it improved to 9-3-1 overall after posting two wins over Sacred Heart last weekend.
“We have got a great dynamic this year, we are all friends, whether freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior,” said Herr.
“We look out for each other. It is a smaller team than in the past and there is less drama. We are all friends. We love each other and we love the game.”
Herr and the Bantams raised their game against Sacred Heart, posting a 9-0 win on Friday and then prevailing 5-1 a day later. Herr had a goal and a career-high five assists in Friday’s game and then added two goals on Saturday.
“We are playing at a high level, everyone was talking and working together in a cohesive manner,” said Herr. “This weekend was a real confidence booster; it showed us that we can really put the puck in the net.”
Herr is looking to keep putting the puck in the net as Trinity enters into the thick of NESCAC play, sitting in the middle of the pack with a 2-3-1 league mark.
“I have moved to wing after playing center all of my life,” said Herr. “I need to be sharper on the breakout and work on getting open. We need to get more shots. You can’t put the puck in the net if you don’t shoot.
The work that Herr has put in on conditioning has her confident that she can produce a big finish.
“Usually at this point, I hit a wall, I am gassed and tired,” said Herr. “I have managed to find extra stuff in the tank at the end of shifts. I do the cardio year round.”
While Herr is excited by her development into a top scorer this year, she is quick to point out that it is a group effort.
“I have great teammates, great coaches, and the most supportive family ever,” said Herr, whose older sister, Sarah, starred for the Williams College women’s hockey program. “They have always been there. My dad has been telling me for years this is what I could do.”