Princeton- The Princeton girls’ hockey team zoomed out to a commanding lead during the second period against Rochester-Mayo, Saturday night. Then a shaky third period turned a seemingly easy win into a dogfight.
Jumping out to 3-0 lead, defensive miscues and a major penalty brought the opponent back from the brink to tie the game. Princeton’s Maggie Peterson finished them off, though, flipping the puck just inside the right post with 10 seconds to play.
“It was exciting, that’s for sure,” coach Paul McElhone said.
Peterson had served a five-minute major penalty just minutes earlier, hitting a Spartan in the head with her stick. This happened with a 3-2 lead and the home crowd started to tense.
“Five minutes towards the end of the game when you’re playing shorthanded and they can score as many goals as they want cause she doesn’t come out, kinda scary, but it worked out,” McElhone said.
Quickly, a shorthanded goal from Maddie Peterson capped a smooth hat trick and made the game 4-2 with 6:19 to play.
However, Rochester-Mayo put the penalty to use, blasting a shot past Tigers goaltender Kara Schramel to pull within one again. Later, a seemingly harmless shot attempt from a tough angle slid by Schramel, to tie the game with just one minute and 28 seconds to play.
McElhone noted the defense struggled to help their goaltender late, failing to cover the net and close down shooting lanes.
Maggie then turned it right back around to erase the negatives.
“We were strongest with our offensive opportunities,” McElhone said. We didn’t capitalize on all of them, but we sure had our fair share.”
The wild finish actually started slow. A sluggish first period was highlighted by strong play from the goalies, combining for 23 saves.
Finally, the puck found its home early in the second. Maddie outskated the Spartan defense and deked the goalie after a long lead pass from Eden Betzler to take a 1-0 lead.
Just one minute later she found the back of the net again, scooping up a mishandled puck in the opposing zone and besting Rochester-Mayo’s goalie Skylee Hughes, who looked like a world-beater early with 14 saves in the first period, including some quick work with the glove.
“The breakaway-type plays kind of got us going and then it’s getting a lucky bounce and the puck ends up on your stick,” McElhone said.
Later in the second, Rochester-Mayo had a power play, but Schramel sent back two strong scoring chances and two more attempts 30 seconds later at equal strength. Kallie Abrahamson, then, got in on the action with a beautiful backhander, grabbing the 3-0 lead.
Schramel would end the night with 28 saves.