February 1, 2023

PDS Girls’ Hockey Produces Solid 4-3-3 Start, Aiming to Ramp Up Offensive Production, Intensity

CAN DO: Princeton Day School girls’ hockey player Emily McCann, right, controls the puck in recent action. Junior forward McCann, who also stars at cross county, has helped spark the PDS offense this winter. The Panthers, who fell 3-1 to Morristown-Beard last Monday to move to 4-3-3, plays at Trinity Hall on February 3 and then hosts Oak Knoll on February 6. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

By Bill Alden

Although the Princeton Day School girls’ hockey team posted a solid 4-3-3 record in its first 10 games, it has been a frustrating season in some respects.

“We would like to be in a better position than we are; we were hoping to win some of those ties,” said PDS head coach Julie DeSimone. “The way we see it at this point is that the rest of the games are must-wins.”

The Panthers were hoping for a better result when they fell 2-1 at Morristown-Beard on January 23 in a rematch of last year’s NJSIAA state championship game.

“We would have liked to come away with a win,” said DeSimone. “I thought we started well; I still just want us to continue work hard through three full periods.”

Junior star Emily McCann came through with a third period goal on a power play.

“That was great,” said DeSimone. “It is always nice to put a play in place and it actually works out. I think we just ran out of time.”

PDS got some nice play from junior goalie Brigid Milligan, who made 27 saves against Mo-Beard.

“Brigid had a big game, she has just been keeping us in these tight games,” said DeSimone. “She has been amazing, she has been so consistent for us. The games where she has gotten scored on, we have made some defensive mistakes. She really has been great. If it weren’t for her, a lot of those close games would be losses.”

Last Friday, PDS had another close game as it skated to a 5-5 tie with Trinity Hall.

“We were definitely disappointed in that game,” said DeSimone, who got two goals apiece from Eibhleann Knox and Claire Meehan in the tie.

“The coaches were disappointed, the players were disappointed. Trinity Hall played hard. They outplayed us and that is what it really came down to. They have an excellent goalie and she played really well too. We were happy with our scoring chances, we don’t score five goals in a lot of games.”

Senior forward Meehan has been playing very well in her final campaign with the program.

“She is another one, she shows up to work hard every single game,” said DeSimone of Meehan who chipped in a goal as PDS defeated Owen J. Roberts/Spring-Ford (Pa.) 3-0 last Friday. “She has been a really big player for us this year.”

The combination of sophomore Knox and junior Logan Harrison has given the Panthers a good one-two punch offensively.

“Eibhleann is consistent with the scoring and Logan supports that line,” said DeSimone. “Between the two of them, they are generating the chances.”

As PDS heads into the home stretch of the season, DeSimone is looking for her player to concentrate on cashing in on the opportunities that they generate and show intensity from the opening face-off.

“We need to focus on the scoring chances, I do think we have improved with that as the season has gone on,” said DeSimone, whose team fell 3-1 to Morristown-Beard last Monday in a rematch and plays at Trinity Hall on February 3 before hosting Oak Knoll on February 6. “Just putting pucks on net is something that we need to continue to do. I think also working hard right out of the gate, starting the game with that momentum, and being the ones that are driving the energy as opposed to catching up to it.”