Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy ice hockey team edged by Taft in game’s final minutes

Photo by David Fierro: Greenwich Academys’ Cameron Brower (No. 17) moves the puck during the team’s game against Taft School at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford on Feb. 9, 2022.

Greenwich Academy’s ice hockey team entered Wednesday’s game against NEPSAC foe Taft School riding a three-game winning streak, while playing its best brand of hockey of the season and it certainly continued its solid play of late against a tough Taft squad.

The Gators trailed by one goal following two periods of action, tied the score with a third-period tally and had chances to score the go-ahead goal late in this hard-fought matchup.

But Taft scored the go-ahead goal with just 2:29 remaining in the third period, then added an empty-netter in the final seconds to post a 3-1 win at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford.

Greenwich Academy (5-10-2) went into the matchup coming off victories against Rye Country Day School, Pomfret School and Greenwich Country Day School.

Peyton Williams of Greenwich Academy looks to control the puck off a faceoff against Taft School on Feb. 9, 2022.

“It was a battle,” GA coach Erin Brawley said. “I told them they went toe-to-toe with one of the best teams in New England. They worked hard and it could have gone either way. Our effort was there. The girls gave everything they could, they showed up ready to play. We were on a three-game win streak and they wanted to keep it going.”

Trailing 1-0, Greenwich Academy knotted the score when junior forward Nina Herceg scored with 9:46 left to play in the third period. Junior defender Cameron Butz snapped a shot on goal and positioned in front of the net, Herceg tipped in the rebound, making it 1-1.

“We did really well, we did a good job of keeping possession and being really aggressive, even though we knew they were a good team,” Cameron Butz said. “We just needed another goal. I thought we were nervous the first period, but I think we really held our ground and it paid off.”

Greenwich Academy’s Lindsay Hasapis, (No. 10), battles Callia Ferraris of Taft for the puck during NEPSAC ice hockey action at Chelsea Piers Connecticut in Stamford on Feb. 9, 2022.

Gators junior goalie Liana Seeley once again rose to the occasion in net, registering more than 30 saves. After turning away numerous shots the first two periods, Seeley made a save off a shot on a breakaway by Taft junior Finley Davignon at the 13:15 mark of the third period. She made several more stops before the visitors scored the go-ahead goal with just 2:29 remaining in the final period.

“The defense was really great in front of me,” Seeley said. “We all talk a lot together to work out our plays and also what needs to be worked on and they’re really responsive.”

Senior Cameron Brower, senior Ava Butz, Cameron Buz and senior Jordan Pittignano were among some of the defenders that helped limit Taft (6-7-2) to three goals, one of which was an empty-netter.

“My defense did a great job of clearing out the shots, so I had my eyes on most of the pucks, which was really great,” Seeley said. “The ones that I didn’t I had a little luck, but I tried to be in the right place.”

On the game-winning goal with 2:29 to go in the third period, Taft freshman defender Rachel Turer took a hard slap shot from just below the blue line on the left side. The puck zipped by everyone, including Seeley, settling inside the left post, giving Taft a 2-1 edge. With 48.1 seconds left to play and Seeley out of the goal, junior forward Erin Lonergan scored the empty net goal for the visitors.

Greenwich Academy goalie Liana Seeley makes a save off a shot from close range against Taft.

“Liana in the first period, she made a breakaway save that upped the tempo of our bench, that made everybody feel, OK, we’re in this game,” Brawley said. “Our offensive play got better as the game went on. We had more chances, we had more shots on net and had people crashing the net.”

“I think we have been working together really well, we’re playing our system and everyone is executing really well,” Seeley said.

Sophomore defender Maisy Ricciardelli had Taft’s first goal with 14:19 left in the opening period, scoring off an assist from junior forward Ellie Perkins.

Greenwich Academy goalie Liana Seeley covers up a shot on goal against Taft School on Feb. 9, 2022.

The Gators went on a power play late in the second period, with eighth-grader Chloe Cleaves helping lead the charge offensively. Greenwich Academy still has plenty of season left – seven games to be exact.

“Taft is a very good team, they’re coached well and have a good goalie,” Brawley said. “This was a tie game with two minutes left.”

Greenwich Academy is in action again Saturday at the Frederick Gunn School.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s