Following a stretch in which it played one game in nearly a month, the Greenwich High School girls ice hockey team just began a week that will feature five games. Talk about one extreme to the next.
The Cardinals welcome the competition though and are ready to jump start their season again, after playing just once from Dec. 18 until they faced Stamford-Staples-Westhill this past Saturday.
Monday afternoon began Greenwich’s ultra-busy week, which it started in impressive fashion.
Generating a lot of shots on goal from the outset, Greenwich scored five goals in the first period on its way to recording a convincing 9-3 over Fairfield Co-op in an FCIAC matchup at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Seven different players registered goals for the Cardinals, who were ignited by Peyton Jelinek. A junior forward, Jelinek recorded a hat trick with one assist for the Cardinals (3-3), who were coming off a 5-1 defeat against Stamford-Staples-Westhill.
“As a whole, I think we played a really good game today, we got a lot of confidence back,” Jelinek said. “We were able to put in a lot of our players and run all three lines today and also put in Jane, our other goalie, so this was a really good confidence-builder.”
Sophie Roth, a junior, tallied one goal and two assists, while junior Caroline Lawrence, junior Kelsey Roth and Alexis Carino each posted one goal and one assist for Greenwich.
“We had a game Saturday, it was not our best day, but we had a month off and I think we came out today just wanting it a lot more and we were able to show how we work as a team a lot better than we did on Saturday,” Jelinek said.
Indeed, it’s not easy for a team to be in top form when it goes one month between games. Two of Greenwich’s games were postponed during that one-month span.
“We weren’t connecting our last game and that happens when you haven’t played in a month,” Greenwich first-year coach Brooke Heron said. “This was really important to get our confidence back. It’s always good when you get goals from a lot of different players.”
Jelinek scored twice, while senior Lily Bates, Lawrence and Kelsey Roth had a goal apiece during the Cards’ five-goal first period.
With 10:25 remaining in the opening period, Jelinek scored the game’s first goal. Controlling a pass from Lawrence, she skated around a defender and tallied, giving the Cards a 1-0 lead. On the game’s second goal, the puck bounced to Jelinek, who got her stick on it and knocked it past Fairfield goalie Katherine Foley, making it 2-0.
Bates, one of the Cardinals’ captains, scored off assists from Kelsey Roth and Sophie Roth at the 3:20 mark of the first period, putting the Cardinals on top, 3-0. Lawrence scored with 1:17 still to go in the opening period and Kelsey Roth sealed the first period scoring with 28.6 seconds left.
“I think it was great, I think we needed this type of pace after our last game,” Lawrence said. “We hadn’t played in a while, so last game was a bit of a letdown, but I think we are getting our confidence back up and are ready for the week.”
In the second period, Greenwich continued directing shots on goal at Foley, who did her best to turn the away. Fairfield’s netminder made numerous saves. Greenwich junior goalie Emma Kunschner, who played the majority of the game, also produced a strong effort.
Freshman Margaret Swanson put Fairfield co-op on the scoreboard with a goal at the 14:32 mark of the second period, cutting Greenwich’s lead to 5-1. Greenwich’s sixth goal came courtesy of Jelinek, who completed her hat trick. Skating down the left wing, she finished in front, extending the Cards’ advantage to 6-1 with 3:34 remaining in the second period. Open in front of the net, Sophia Roth tallied, after putting a move on Fairfield’s goalie, making it 6-1 late in the second period.
“We really wanted to possess the puck, get a lot of shots on goal, test the goalie and she how she was,” Sophie Roth said. “Getting the puck deep and forechecking hard is what we wanted to do.”
Freshman Alexis Carino and junior Hannah Wahl each scored during the third period for the Cardinals, who inserted Jane Freyer in goal late in the game in relief of Kunschner. Swanson and Sarah Dolynchuk scored in the final period for the visitors.
“We all did a really good job of scoring goals,” Lawrence said. It was so nice to see. It’s always going to take a little effort and time after we don’t play for a while, but we always get back into it.”
The Cardinals are in action again Wednesday against visiting Wilton/McMahon/Norwalk at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink. New Canaan will then visit the Cardinals on Thursday. Greenwich visits Fairfield Co-Op on Saturday, then hits the road to play Trumbull/St. Joseph on Sunday. So the Cardinals will learn plenty about where they stand in the FCIAC after this extremely busy, five-game week.
“We’re making up for it all in one week, there’s a lot of hockey coming up,” Heron said. “Now that we’re back in a groove, it should be an exciting week.”
“We really have to keep the momentum from this game, we have a bunch of games, so we have to focus on them and use what we learned today,” Sophie Roth said. “We’re definitely excited to get some competition in. We’re excited to play New Canaan, because we saw them at the beginning of the season and we’ve improved a lot.”