GREENWICH — An outstanding performance by Stamford-Staples-Westhill goalie Mary Leydon prevented the Greenwich High School girls ice hockey team from breaking open Tuesday’s game during the first two periods. But with the amount of depth they possess at each position, the Cardinals are a squad that can only be held down for so long.
Holding just a one-goal lead after two periods of play, Greenwich tallied three times during the final period and proceeded to post a well-earned 4-1 victory over Stamford/Staples/Westhill in an FCIAC matchup held at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Sophomore forward Emma Wingrove scored two goals while senior defender Jennie Piotrzkowski registered two assists for the 6-0 Cardinals. Leydon recorded 38 saves for the visitors (0-5).
“I have a lot of respect for their goalie Mary Leydon,” said Piotrzkowski, a senior captain. “She had an absolutely amazing game. We were able to get rebounds and as the game progressed, we crashed the net. In the third period, everything finally came together.”
Greenwich, which was coming off a 6-1 triumph against Amity/North Haven/Cheshire in the outdoor Winter Classic game at Greenwich Skating Club on Saturday, received 10 saves from freshman goaltender Hannah Goldenberg. The defending FCIAC champion Cardinals have yielded only three goals over their first six games.
“The first couple of periods, some of the decisions we were making weren’t right, but we had a nice response in the third period for sure,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “They are a scrappy team, so tip your capt to them. They were hanging with us and they had their chances too.”
Turning away and covering up shots from all angles, Leydon helped keep her team in the game throughout.
“She (Leydon) is the heart and soul of our team right now,” Stamford/Staples/Westhill coach Andrew Stallings said. “She is one of our better leaders and she is a young goalie with a lot of upside.”
TAKING THE LEAD
The Cards applied pressure in Stamford/Staples/Westhill’s zone from the start with Piotrzkowski, senior Riley Ellsworth and junior Jennifer Kelly registering shots on goal early in the opening period.
The home team broke through with 5:48 remaining in the first period. Piotrzkowski snapped a shot on goal from just below the blue line that bounded off Leydon’s pads. Positioned near the crease, Wingrove knocked the rebound into the net, giving GHS a 1-0 lead.
“We definitely battled for that goal,” Wingrove said. “We worked hard to get the puck flowing around.”
Stamford-Staples-Westhill trailed just 1-0 following the second period, despite seeing Greenwich hold a 32-5 shots-on-goal advantage. Kelly, who tallied five times in the Cards’ previous win, nearly tallied off a breakaway, but Leydon stopped her shot from close in at the 8:47 mark of the second period.
Forward Emiri Fukuchi, defender Sydney Orszulak and Piotrzkowski also created opportunities during the second period for the Cardinals.
BIG THIRD PERIOD FOR CARDS
Greenwich’s second goal came with 9:25 to go in the third period. With 33 seconds left on the power play, Wingrove put home a rebound off an Ellsworth shot, putting GHS on top, 2-0.
“Overall, we had a hard time putting the puck in the net in the beginning, but in the third period we were working hard to get those last goals,” Wingrove said.
The Cardinals’ third goal was also the result of getting traffic in front of the net, as Orszulak tallied with 5:03 left to play. Piotrzkowski and junior Paige Finneran were each credited with assists.
“It was a different team in the third period than we saw the first two periods,” Lerchen said of his squad. “I liked how we responded.”
Sophomore forward Jessica Marzullo notched her first goal of the season at the 3:11 mark of the final period, converting a pass from Kelly.
“It was my first shift of the whole season, because I have been out with an injury, a sprained wrist,” Marzullo said. “It was really good to start the pace for me — it felt good.”
The visitors’ goal came when left wing Caroline Mezias put a snap shot from the right faceoff circle past Goldenberg with 2:12 to play.
“Greenwich is a deep team with a lot of players on their roster,” Stallings said. “They bring a lot of talent. Our team had a scrappy approach, we used our forecheck pretty well.”
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Wingrove’s two goals gave Greenwich a 2-0 lead. She also helped Greenwich control the puck in the opposition’s zone.
“Depth is a huge part of our team,” Piotrzkowski said. “We don’t only rely on one goal scorer, we have truse in each other.”