A tie game late in the third period – indeed, Monday’s girls ice hockey matchup between Greenwich and Trumbull/St. Joseph resembled the previous two games for the Cardinals.
Yet this time, the Cardinals got the end result they were seeking.
After losing by one goal against Section One East, then settling for a tie against Conard/Hall, Greenwich used two goals late in the third period to post a 5-3 victory against Trumbull/St. Joseph in an FCIAC game held at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
The Cardinals improved to 8-5-1 overall with the win and upped their FCIAC mark to 5-3. Greenwich has clinched the No. 4 seed in next week’s four-team FCIAC Tournament. Senior forward Lexi Danielson registered two goals and two assists, senior forward Lily Bates had the go-ahead goal and junior twins Kelsey and Sophie Roth had one goal apiece to spearhead the winning effort.
“The girls have been fantastic at picking up what we have been teaching them,” Greenwich assistant coach Tom Laidlaw said. “One of the problems we have is our own end, when we sometimes try to do everyone else’s job. Today we did a much better job of it, played really good defense and did a lot of good things out there.”
The go-ahead goal came with Greenwich on a power play, following a Trumbull/St. Joseph roughing penalty. On the scene in front of the net, Bates tipped in a shot from Danielson, giving GHS a 4-3 lead with just 3:03 remaining in the third period. Junior Sophie Roth also assisted on the goal.
“We had a lot of opportunities on the ice, so it was nice that we were able to complete one and do it together,” Bates said of her game-winning goal. “My line, Lexi, Sophie and I, we always generate a lot of shots and good passes, so it was one of those good goals.”
Danielson sealed the Cards’ eighth win of the season when she slid the puck way down the ice and scored on an empty-netter with only 14 seconds left in the final period. The Cardinals and Eagles were scoreless heading into the second period, which saw the squads combine for five goals.
“Just in between periods coach said we have to play our kind of hockey – more controlled hockey,” said Danielson, who like Bates, is one of the Cards’ captains. “We were restless. We just have to take that extra second and look to see who is open.”
Senior Devon Cavaliere, who centers Trumbull/St. Joseph’s top line, gave the visitors a 1-0 lead with a goal at the 11:51 mark of the second period. Greenwich quickly responded, with Kelsey Roth tallying off a pass from her sister Sophie, making it 1-1 1:01 later.
Sophie Roth, who had three assists, scored with 10:17 to go in the second period off a Danielson assist, putting GHS on top, 2-1, but Trumbull tied the score at 2-2 on a tally by freshman forward Mara Ashby with 9:48 remaining in the second stanza. Danielson’s goal with 7:07 still left in the action-packed second period, gave the Cards a 3-2 edge. Junior Caroline Lawrence and Sophie Roth each assisted on Danielson’s first goal.
“We like having competitive games like this,” Danielson said. “We always work hard.”
Said Laidlaw: “We had a lot of chances, over the last three or four weeks, we’ve scored a lot of goals and they have more confidence in themselves.”
With just 4:43 remaining in the third period, Trumbull/St. Joseph junior forward Teagan Cavaliere knotted the score at 3-3, tallying off assists from her sister Devon and Ashby. Greenwich registered 45 shots on goal and Trumbull/St. Joseph goalie Elsa Haakonsen recorded 41 saves. Junior goalie Emma Kunschner made 21 saves for the Cardinals, who visit Wilton-McMahon-Norwalk on Wednesday.
“It came down to who had more energy and who can get the shots on net and win the battles in the corner and finish,” Greenwich senior defender/tri-captain Tess Marciano said. “With the tie, that made me think of our most recent game (a 1-1 tie against Conard/Hall). “I think that motivated me to want to fight harder and play stronger and lead as a captain to motivate other people on the team.”
Laidlaw liked the leadership he saw from the three captains.
“Lexi has been fantastic, Lily is playing so well all the time and Tess has been fantastic on defense,” Laidlaw said. “Lily both ends of the ice, has been doing well.”
Said Bates: “We just are learning how not to let up and just because we are winning by one or two, it doesn’t mean we can stop playing as hard as we are. Instead, it motivates us to keep working hard and maintain what we have.”
The postseason is coming up soon. After their road game against Wilton-Norwalk-McMahon on Wednesday, the Cardinals will celebrate Senior Day against East Catholic on Saturday at 5:45 p.m.
“There is a bittersweet feeling to it, knowing it’s my last season,” Marciano said of the squad’s upcoming Senior Day. “But it’s also exciting because I’ve been there for every senior day and it will be nice to experience that for myself.”