Playing a schedule loaded with formidable NEPSAC opponents, Greenwich Academy’s ice hockey team knew it would be challenged each game this season and Saturday’s game against Hoosac School was GA’s latest test.
The tough schedule has tested Greenwich Academy’s skills throughout the season and like Saturday’s performance against Hoosac, it has held its own against its high-quality foes.
Goalie Liana Seeley made numerous saves for Greenwich Academy, which faced just a two-goal deficit heading into the third period of its 4-1 loss to Hoosac School Saturday afternoon at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford.
Hoosac scored a goal apiece in the first and second period, added a tally late in the third period, then converted an empty netter in the matchup’s closing seconds. Greenwich Academy (2-7-2) received a goal from Peyton Williams. Saturday’s contest marked the Gators first game since Jan. 4, their meeting with Hotchkiss School, scheduled for Jan. 12 was cancelled. Prior to their Jan. 4 game against Portledge School, the Gators last played at the St. George’s School Tournament Dec. 17-18.
“Our first period wasn’t our best hockey, they’re a very good team, they played in our face hockey, but as we settled into our game it got a little bit better,” Greenwich Academy coach Erin Brawley said. “It’s the first game off a long-extended period where we didn’t have any games, so we came off the break had one day of practice had one game, then have been off game-wise. So, I think we were a little sluggish in the first period and they knew it and talked about in between periods and we came back and played better in the second period.”
Despite GA’s record, the team has been in all of its games. They have been edged in three one-goal games and have lost by two goals twice so far this season. Hoosac was powered by two goals apiece by Adriana Urban and Ellie Patrick. Urban’s first goal came with 8:21 remaining in the opening period. She unleashed a hard shot that bounded off the post and snuck past Sealey, giving the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Gators generated more shots on goal during the second period than they did in the first, with forwards Peyton Williams, Kate Boer and Nina Herceg each testing Hoosac’s goalie. Hoosac extended its lead to 2-0 when Urban converted a shot at the 2:32 mark of the third period.
“The first period was a little rough,” Greenwich Academy senior tri-captain/defender Ava Butz said. “We had a long break since our last game, so I think that hurt us, but we definitely picked it up in the second and third and I think we ended well.”
Seeley made numerous saves during the second and third periods. Visiting Hoosac scored its third goal with 5:56 left to play in the final period, with Patrick banging the puck home on a rebound off a shot from Hannah Johnson.
“Liana played really well,” Brawley said. “She made some really big saves for us, which kept us in the game, which kept our heads up and kept the momentum going. We were better as a whole in the second period and we played really well in the third.”
Seeley, a junior and senior Emily Greenhaw have rotated in goal, with both netminders performing well thus far. With GA applying pressure in Hoosac’s zone, Williams scored from close in, cutting the Gators’ deficit to 3-1 with 2:14 remaining in the third period.
“That was a great goal by Payton and it’s good to be on the scoreboard,” Butz said.
Seeley made more than 10 saves in the third period, as GA worked hard to get that second goal. However, Hoosac added an empty netter with 18.4 seconds left to play – Patrick had the goal – making it 4-1.
“Liana saves us literally,” said Brower, a senior tri-captain/defender. “We’re thankful for her not only her skill, but how much she talks and how good a teammate she is and she’s definitely one of our biggest assets.”
“They had a lot of speed and they were on the stronger and bigger side than some of the teams we played,” Brower continued. “Boarding school teams are always big and strong. Today the first period wasn’t our best, but next time we’re going to come out strong and break the cycle of having a weaker first period and start as well as we did in the third period and second.”
Up next for Greenwich Academy is a game against rival Millbrook School at Chelsea Piers on Jan. 22.
“Millbrook is always a good competitor for us and this team has been looking forward to this rematch all year and hopefully, we can pull out a win this time,” Butz said.
GA is hoping to generate more goals in its upcoming games.
“We started to get our flow back, we haven’t had a game in a while, but the third period we started to get our flow back,”Brower said. “Finishing is one of the things we need to work on and just passing sooner, looking up and being more focused.”
“Scoring some goals is what we need to work on in practice this week, so we have more to show for it,” Brawley said. “We break for exams, then we have a game on Saturday and then we’ll be in the swing of two or three games a week. Hopefully, we can string a few wins in there together.”