Goals didn’t come too easily for the Greenwich High School girls ice hockey team during the first two periods of its season-opener against Morristown-Beard on Thursday night.
Then the third period began.
Nine goals were scored in the final period, six of which came from Greenwich, which finished with a flurry in its 8-6 victory over Morristown-Beard at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink.
Like last season, when they captured their second straight FCIAC championship, the Cardinals displayed their scoring depth, receiving goals from six different players.
Junior forward Emma Wingrove paced the Cardinals’ offensive outburst, recording a hat trick with one assist. Senior forward Jennifer Kelly registered two goals and two assists, while freshman forward Lexi Danielson had one goal and one assist for GHS (1-0).
Greenwich entered the third period trailing 3-2, but outscored a formidable Morristown-Beard squad, 6-3, during an action-packed third period.
“We stepped it up in the third period,” Wingrove said. “Though it was stressful at times, it was fun and we were able to come out on top. They were definitely a really good team, but we worked hard for this win.”
Morristown-Beard received three goals and one assist from forward Leah Stecker and one goal and two assists from Jenna Kurz. The visitors tallied three times in the third period.
“I loved our battle level and our toughness,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “But we have to stay out of the box. We have to play better team defense. You are not going to win many games if you let up six goals every game.”
The Cardinals were whistled for five penalties, three of which took place in the opening period. Gathering a rebound alone in front, Kurz tallied with 1.4 seconds remaining in the second period, giving Morristown-Beard a 3-2 lead.
Once the final period commenced, Greenwich showed its offensive force. Receiving a cross-ice pass from junior defender Sydney Orszulak, sophomore forward Delaney Roth tallied in transition, tying the score at 3-3 1:01 into the third period. With Greenwich moving the puck in the visitors’ zone, Wingrove gave the home team the lead for at 4-3, putting a one-timer past goalie Sam Hutchinson (who filled in for her squad for this matchup) with 13:18 left in the final period.
Kelly’s unassisted goal at the 8:47 mark of third period gave Greenwich a 5-3 advantage, but tallies from Morristown-Beard’s Logan Sutera and Stecker knotted the score at 5-5 6:58 remaining in final stanza. Wingrove put the Cards ahead for good with her third goal of the game 33 seconds later. Danielson assisted on the goal.
Kelly notched her second goal of the night and senior forward Grace Fahey gave the Cardinals an 8-5 edge with a goal off a setup by junior defender Katie Piotrzkowski with 1:53 to go.
“Offense is definitely not our weakness,” Kelly said. “We did some good things today, we just need to fine tune a few things. But overall, we did a really good job.”
Receiving 12 first-period saves from sophomore goalie Hannah Goldenberg, Greenwich exited the first period with a 1-0 lead. Goldenberg, who posted a record of 6-2 in her games in goal last season, turned away shots from all angles in the first period, making 12 saves.
“Hannah is a good goalie, who has very good technique,” Lerchen said. “She had a solid night.”
Goldenberg’s strong play in goal enabled the Cards to withstand three Morristown-Beard power plays in the opening period.
“We definitely took too many penalties and we are hoping in the future to not give up that many goals,” Kelly said.
Goldenberg finished the game with 29 saves. Hutchinson stopped 12 shots for Morristown-Beard.
Said Fahey: “Communication between our wingers and defenders and picking up players in front of the net is something we’ll work on. They were throwing three up top, with one player sliding in at the last second for rebounds in front, so picking up in front of the net will be important in upcoming games.”
The Cardinals were effective at creating traffic in front and finishing their opportunities — especially in the high-scoring third period.
“I thought we did a real good job in front,” Lerchen said. “We were aggressive in front and had a nose for the net this game for sure. Morristown-Beard is a good team, they have players who can skate.”
Freshman Tess Mariano and junior Jessica Marzullo each assisted on a goal for Greenwich, which also received aggressive play from senior Paige Finneran.
“We’re definitely a little short on girls right now, but we’re playing our hearts out and by midseason or toward the end of the season, we will back to full strength and we’ll create even more chances,” Wingrove said.