DANBURY — When the lights shined brightest — something that doesn’t happen often at Immaculate High — field hockey standout Madison Halas rose to the occasion.
Halas weaved her way through one defender after another for the duration of her team’s matchup with New Fairfield, creating multiple offensive opportunities — and goals — for the hosts.
With the game in the balance, she cashed in again.
Halas’ third goal of the game sent Immaculate to a dramatic 3-2 overtime win over New Fairfield on Thursday. The Mustangs trailed 2-0 late in the first half before staging a rally that carried into the extra session.
Immaculate lost 2-1 in overtime to Weston on Tuesday, making the win that much sweeter.
“Coming off an overtime loss, I think this was huge in terms of confidence, in terms of team unity,” Immaculate coach Shannon Horosky said. “And understanding that we can do it; we have a young forward line that’s mostly three freshmen.”
With extra room to operate during the 7-on-7 overtime session, Halas drove past several to deliver the game-winning goal while playing under portable lights at Mustang Stadium.
“When I was coming down the field I saw a few girls in front of me,” Halas said. “My coaches always tell me to keep calm and that’s what I did. I somehow managed to get through and get the goal.”
Halas converted a penalty stroke with New Fairfield leading 2-0 with less than five minutes left in the first half. She added a second with time expired to level the match.
Immaculate controlled the middle stages of the second half as New Fairfield picked up back-to-back cards that resulted in being a player down for seven straight minutes. As soon as the playing field leveled, the Rebels threw everything at the Mustangs’ cage. Immaculate goalie Laura Oskam made a sprawling double save in the final stages to send it to overtime.
“I definitely think we were pushing at the end,” New Fairfield coach Karen Nell said. “It was unfortunate that we couldn’t get the ball in the goal; but they worked hard the entire game. It was a tough loss.”
Emily Radovich and Reagan Tenaglia scored first-half goals for the Rebels, who played their first overtime game of the season.
“We gathered ourselves and worked on getting our heads focused,” Halas said after yielding the first two goals of the game.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Madison Halas, Immaculate: The first team All-State selection as a sophomore last season speaks volumes to her ability. Thursday was another special performance.
“She’s just one of those players who makes things happen all over the field,” Horosky said. “She’s our spark on defense and offense. She does a great job of bringing our whole team together.”
With Immaculate trailing 2-1 late in the first half and the Mustangs pressing for a goal, they were awarded a penalty corner as time ran out. Immaculate was able to line all of its players up on the circle with no fear of yielding a counter attack, and capitalized as it worked the ball to Halas. She ripped a shot that went through about two dozen feet to tie up the game.
“I think we’re doing a great job,” Nell said. “We’re putting things together and working well as a team; we feel pretty good going into the playoffs at this point.”
IMMACULATE 3, NEW FAIRFIELD 2 (OT)
NEW FAIRFIELD2 0 0 — 2
IMMACULATE 2 0 1 — 3
Records: New Fairfield 9-2-0-1, 4-2-0-1 SWC; Immaculate 8-1-1-1, 3-1-1-1. Goals: NF—Reagan Tenaglia, Emily Radovich; I—Madison Halas 3. Assists: NF—Dana Giaradina. Goalies: NF—Haley Fidje (3 saves); I—Lauren Oskam (8 saves).