Maddie Epke knew she was closing in on her 100th career goal with the Guilford girls ice hockey team heading into Saturday’s game against the Daniel Hand co-op at the Northford Ice Pavilion.
Once the contest started, however, the Grizzlies and Tigers were locked in a seesaw battle, and Epke said getting a victory far outweighed the personal achievement.
Well, Guilford got the win 9-6, Epke got goal No. 100, and the Grizzlies improved to 4-1 in their pursuit of a second consecutive SCC championship.
For Epke, a junior co-captain and last winter’s SCC Player of the Year, reaching the milestone is added motivation for the rest of this season.
“The game on Saturday was back and forth and I had forgotten about the milestone and I was more focused on trying to help our team win,” Epke, who also plays field hockey and lacrosse for Guilford, said. “Now that I’ve gotten to 100, I’m really excited and motivated to keep up the intensity.”
Epke’s numbers during her ice hockey career have been eye-popping.
In Saturday’s victory, she racked up eight points on five goals and three assists, giving her career numbers of 102 goals, 59 assists and 162 points in 47 games.
Last year, Epke had 59 goals and 20 assists while helping Guilford go 17-6 and win its first SCC title.
This season, Epke has had a point on 29 of the Grizzlies’ 38 goals, scoring 17 goals and assisting on 12 others.
Guilford has also found offense from other sources. Freshman Sofia Cuozzo has 11 goals, including a hat trick in Saturday’s win, and sophomore Kim Evans has collected six goals this season.
The Grizzlies also have three experienced captains on defense in junior goalie Julia McDonald, junior Olivia Gill and senior Christina Garofalo.
“Every year the team changes and we all have to learn to play with new girls,” Epke said. “I think our team this year has great chemistry on and off the ice. We have a lot of fun together.
“We have high standards for ourselves and we are working hard to defend our SCC title.”