GREENWICH – With Greenwich tallying twice in the first 33 seconds of action and Stamford-Staples-Westhill responding with three straight opening period goals, Friday’s FCIAC girls hockey matchup featured several early momentum swings.
Yet visiting Stamford-Staples-Westhill couldn’t answer the scoring spurts Greenwich embarked on thereafter.
Senior forward Emma Wingrove helped make it a happy home-opener for Greenwich, registering a hat trick with two assists in its 7-3 win over Stamford-Staples-Westhill at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Winners of three straight games, the 4-1 Cardinals received two goals and one assist from sophomore forward Lexi Danielson and 18 saves from junior goalie Hannah Goldenberg.
Wingrove’s first two goals came in the game’s opening minute.
“Obviously, it was my last home-opener and we wanted to come out strong and I think we did, considering we scored two goals in my first shift,” said Wingrove, one of the Cardinals’ captains.
Stamford-Staples-Westhill (2-2) was paced by two goals and one assist from forward Meadow Gilchrist, who was difficult for the opposition to defend throughout.
“I think we did pretty well,” Gilchrist said. “It wasn’t a good start at the beginning of the first period, because they scored in less than 20 seconds. We came back and that helped us get the momentum.”
Wingrove directed a snap shot past Stamford-Staples-Westhill goalie Victoria Morgan’s glove side 10 seconds into the game, giving a 1-0 lead.
Just 23 seconds later, Wingrove struck again, scoring from close in, making it 2-0. Danielson assisted on Wingrove’s second tally.
The visitors responded though, courtesy of Gilchrist. Skating down the left wing, she snapped a shot from the left circle that found its way past Goldenberg into the upper right corner of the goal with 3:31 to go in the first period.
On a power play, Staples-Stamford-Westhill evened the score with 28.1 seconds left in the first period. Jessica Xu’s shot from the point was deflected in by Paige Tuccinardi, tying the score at 2-2.
Gilchrist put Stamford-Staples-Westhill in front, 3-2, at the 13:42 mark of the second period, scoring off an assist from Daphne Baker.
“Down 2-0, we knew we were in a position to capitalize and we knew we could come back if we got one, then it was a matter of getting the second and keeping the momentum,” Staples-Stamford-Westhill coach Andrew Stallings said.
The Cards rallied with four unanswered goals the remainder of the second period to enter the final stanza with a 6-3 advantage.
Danielson scored off a Wingrove assist with 8:43 to go in the second period, then senior forward Anna Keaveney tallied after skating hard toward the net, putting GHS ahead for good at 4-3 at the 6:42 mark of the period.
Freshman forward Caroline Lawrence scored off a rebound with 1:17 left in the second period and Wingrove did the same with just 0.4 showing on the clock, putting Staples-Stamford-Westhill in a 6-3 hole. Lawrence and Delaney Roth each set up the tally.
“That was definitely a challenge when they came back and took the lead, we may have gotten a little too comfortable,” Wingrove said. “But we didn’t let it stop us from winning the game.”
Greenwich held the visitors scoreless from the middle of the second period on, with defenders Katie Piotrzkowski, Roth and Tess Marciano leading the way.
“We definitely put our foot off the pedal after we scored our first two goals,” Piotrzkowski said. “It was really good that we came out fast, but then we didn’t play the full 45 minutes. It is a lesson we have to learn.”
In the final period, Danielson tallied for the home team, with Wingrove sealed the scoring and her hat trick.
“We went up against a hard-working Stamford team, they’re well-coached and they definitely have talent,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “If you take your foot off the pedal and get comfortable, they are going to get back into it. We played pretty consistent defense and I’m proud of the way they fought along the wall and tried to win puck battles.”
Goldenberg made 18 saves, while Martin stopped 30 shots for the visitors.
PLAYER OF THE GAME
Wingrove helped set the tone with two very early goals and was a threat throughout.
“We tried to force shots from the outside, but Greenwich did a nice job of getting pucks in front,” Stallings said. “We have to figure out how to keep the puck out of the middle.”
Said Gilchrist: “We’re coming together as a team, the chemistry is coming together nicely.”
Greenwich skates against New Canaan in the third annual Winter Classic at Greenwich Skating Club on Saturday, in a matchup held outdoors.
“We are all very excited for the Winter Classic, it is one of our favorite games of the year,” Piotrzkowski said. “Not only do we play amazing competition like New Canaan, we are playing outside at a rink we grew up playing at. That means a lot to us and is very exciting.”