WEST GOSHEN — It was Katie Stueve’s first game back from injury for Downingtown East, but you would never know it judging by the scoresheet.
The senior defenseman, and MVP of the 2014 Girls Flyers Cup tournament, notched a hat trick in a 4-2 win over rival Downingtown West Friday night in a girls varsity hockey game at Ice Line.
“I was definitely really nervous,” Stueve said. “Everything seemed to go pretty well and I was just excited.”
Missing the last two games was tough for Stueve, who had to sit by and watch her team go on without her.
“It’s probably harder (to watch) than having the injury,” she said. “But I’m back now. I felt a little bit lost (on the ice). The team has come a long way since I’ve been out.”
Luckily for Stueve, she was able to return a week sooner than originally anticipated.
“It was a good surprise yesterday when I found out,” said D-East head coach Lauren Patterson. “It was awesome to have our captain back. She had some great scoring opportunities and, of course, was shutdown on defense.”
She made her presence known, scoring the game’s only two goals through the first two periods, though she wasn’t the only one making an impact on the ice.
“One of the highest compliments I can give a player is them always being on the right side of the puck and little Emily Tinguely today was a force offensively and defensively,” Patterson said.
Even with the effort of her team, D-East (4-1) slipped a little after its third goal scored by Madison Beauregard 2:21 into the third.
“We had a couple little mishaps on the third period,” Patterson said. “I think they looked ahead of the score and eased off, which isn’t something that I like.”
In a span of 1:30, junior forward Elizabeth D’Ginto scored twice to pull D-West (1-2) to within one goal.
The two quick strikes may haven shaken sophomore goaltender Emma Shannon, but her teammates were right there to give her any support she needed.
“(Shannon) has tremendous upside,” Patterson said. “It was nice to see after she got down on herself a little bit, the team support her and bounce her right back up because she made a couple of big saves on their best players at the end of the game.”
That player being D’Ginto as she went for a hat trick on a mini-breakaway, but Shannon came up with a huge pad save.
Stueve helped out by chipping in her third goal of the day.
“The (girls) pulled right back and Katie got another big goal for the team,” Patterson said. “As long as they bounce back and they figure out what they’re doing wrong, it makes them easy to coach.”
But all these little bumps here and there also help to fortify a deep bond between the girls as they continue to sit near the top of the division.
“The team has become somewhat of a little family,” Stueve said. “Going through the season, it has gotten a lot stronger. They welcomed me back and we’re just going to go from there.”