With Sophomore Harrison Thriving in Bigger Role, PDS Girls’ Hockey Produces Encouraging 2-0 Start
By Bill Alden
Logan Harrison starred at center midfield this fall for the Princeton Day School field hockey team, helping the Panthers reach the Mercer County Tournament final.
This winter, sophomore Harrison is utilizing some of what she gained from the fall to have a similar impact on the ice for the PDS girls’ hockey team.
“It is easy because the stick handling just very similar,” said Harrison, reflecting on juggling the two sports.
“It also gives me another opportunity to get my fitness up, it conditions me for hockey season.”
Last Wednesday, Harrison displayed her stick handling skills on the ice, assisting on two goals as PDS defeated Westfield 5-0.
Harrison stumbled into her first helper of the contest as she set up a goal by freshman Eibhleann Knox that gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead late in the first period.
“I think the girl tripped me and then I fell,” recalled Harrison with a chuckle.
“Eibhleann got the puck and scored that and it was a really cool goal.”
Her second assist proved to be a cool moment as Harrison fed the puck to fellow sophomore and club teammate Emily McCann.
“We have been friends for a while, we played on the same team three years ago when I first started playing girls’ hockey,” said Harrison, who plays club hockey with the Princeton Tiger Lilies.
“I used to play boys and she was one of my first friends on that team. Now we are playing PDS together.”
As the Panthers pulled away to the win over Westfield, they dominated possession.
“We play really well together and we can control offensive zone,” said Harrison.
“Everyone got a chance to play and that is a really cool thing.”
With a year of high school hockey under her belt, Harrison is primed to shoulder more responsibility this winter for the Panthers.
“I have gotten much better from last year in my shooting, stick-handling and overall general idea on the ice,” said Harrison.
“Some of the younger kids like me and some freshmen are trying to take up more of a leader role since we don’t have many upperclassman on the team.”
PDS head coach John Ritchie liked the way his younger players stepped up against Westfield.
“The top six that we played tonight are all juniors and below, there were no seniors on those lines,” said Ritchie, who got two goals from junior Claire Meehan in the win with junior defenseman Lauren Chase, McCann, and Knox contributing one apiece.
“It is good room to grow. It is also a new role as a freshman or sophomore, maybe it is unfamiliar territory. They have got to lead a high school team, they have the skill level to be able to do so.”
Ritchie believes that Harrison is taking her game to a higher level.
“With her size she has the ability to protect the puck, she is a good player,” said Ritchie.
“She is a sophomore that is going to be relied upon a little more to move the offense along. As she gets a little more comfortable as the year goes on, we will be in good shape.”
Forward McCann, the top runner on the PDS girls’ cross country team in the fall, is certainly in excellent shape.
“The nice thing about Emily is that I know she can skate for us and I don’t worry about her stamina,” said Ritchie
“She is good, she plays club. She is still working her way back into things after cross country. She is a player we can play on all of our lines.”
The combination of Knox and Meehan has been giving PDS some good work early on.
“Eibhleann is feeling her way into the high school level, playing against older girls,” said Ritchie.
“She has the ability to step on the ice and be the best player on the ice every time that we play. Claire is and old school throwback, she is a very hard worker. She is a two-way player and she has got four goals on the season. She had a couple against Randolph and she had a couple tonight. She has done well.”
While Ritchie was happy with the result against Westfield, he believes his team needs to sharpen its finishing.
“With the talent I think is on the team, that is the performance we should put forth,” said Ritchie.
“What we are looking to do is create a little more offensively. I think shots were 42-7 tonight so we probably need to put in a few more goals.”
At the defensive end, PDS was solid with sophomore goalie Abby Ashman making seven saves in earning the shutout.
“Tonight was a good experience game for some of the defensemen,” said Ritchie, whose team was slated to play at Oak Knoll on December 14 in its last action before the holiday break.
“We definitely have some work to do when we play some faster teams and that was my message in the locker room. When you go against a Mo-Beard, when you play a Summit, those teams are going to have a lot more speed coming at you so we have got to play a little better in transition and back in our end.”
Harrison, for her part, believes that the Panthers will get better and better as the winter unfolds.
“We are still a new team, we want to progress our skill level and our compatibility on the ice as well as off the ice,” said Harrison.
“We are very close off the ice, we have to get to more on the ice. We practice a lot so that is helping.”