With two thirds of the season already completed and the postseason looming, the Greenwich High School girls ice hockey team knows it can’t afford to lose the momentum it has gained of late.
Following a win against rival Darien with a victory over Ridgefield/Danbury and a tie against Simsbury, the No. 1-ranked squad in the state, the Cardinals were intent on continued their impressive pace against host Rye Country Day School (Rye, N.Y.) on Tuesday.
Efficiently executing on both ends of the ice, Greenwich added another victory to its ledger, skating past Rye Country Day, 4-1, in a non-conference matchup.
The triumph improved Greenwich’s mark to 9-2-1. The Cardinals are 3-0-1 in the last four games.
“Ever since that Darien win, we’ve had confidence in our game,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “We had a great battle against Simsbury the other night (1-1 tie). Even though we are down a few skaters due to injuries, things are clicking for us.”
Greenwich received goals from freshman Elizabeth Anderson, senior Emma Wingrove, freshman Sophie Roth and sophomore Lexi Danielson. The Cards led the Wildcats (4-4) 2-0 after the first period and 3-1 following the second. They outshot RCDS, 36-20.
“Our puck movement, especially in the neutral zone, was great and our forecheck gave us a lot of opportunities to cycle the puck, hit the points and get quality shots on net,” Lerchen said.
Gathering the puck off a pass from freshman Peyton Jelinek, Anderson snapped a shot past Wildcats goalie Emma Budke, giving GHS a 1-0 lead with 11:19 left in the first period.
With the Cardinals on a power-play, Wingrove tallied off a rebound at the 2:25 mark of the first period, making it 2-0. Sophomore Lexi Danielson and senior Sydney Orszulak each assisted on Wingrove’s tally.
“We played really well in the offensive zone,” said Wingrove, a captain. “We were forechecking and we kept possession for the majority of the game. I feel like we’ve all been working on our shots this year and we have been trying to get our shots on net, so we’ve seen a lot of goals because of that.”
Roth tallied off a tip-in, following a shot from near the blue line by Orszulak with 7:58 to go in the second period. Senior Katie Piotrzkowski also assisted on the goal. Piotrzkowski, Orszulak, junior Delaney Roth and and sophomore Tess Marciano paced the Cards’ stellar defensive effort. Junior Hannah Goldenberg earned th win in goal, making 19 saves.
“We really focused on our breakout and getting it deep and getting to the puck first,” said Orszulak, also a captain. “Our forecheck was something that we’ve worked on this whole season. We’ve been working together and communicating and we are all motivated, especially with it being close to the postseason.”
Added Piotrzkowksi, a captain “We tied Simsbury, we won against Darien, so we are kind of on a roll. We are finding our momentum as a team and our new players — a lot of freshmen — are really stepping up. We’re meshing well as a team.”
Rye Country Day scored its goal in a 4-on-4 situation wih 36.7 seconds left in the second period. Danielson capped the Cardinals’ scoring with 5:50 left in the third period, finishing off a Wingrove feed.
Up next for GHS is a matchup against Fairfield Warde/Ludlowe Thursday at 8 p.m.
“We need to continue playing how we are now,” Wingrove said. “We’re trying to remain healthy and stay as fit as possible for the rest of the season.”
Fairfield Warde posted victories against Greenwich and Fairfield Ludlowe in an FCIAC meet held on Monday night at the YWCA Greenwich.
Warde totaled a team score of 138 points, while Ludlowe registered 133. Greenwich finished with a team score of 123.7.
Warde freshman Emma Johnson won the vault event with a score of 9.3. Teammate Caroline Garrett was second (9.25). Garrett finished first on the uneven bars (8.9), while Warde teammate Tess Vincent placed second (8.8). Johnson was the balance beam winner (9.5) and Johnson had the highest score in the floor exercise (8.95).
Greenwich’s Emma Kelly was fourth in the beam with a career-best score of 8.65. Celine Perrin had her career-best performance on the vault and Allie Trotman had a career-best effort on the vault, beam and floor exercise for the Cardinals.
Also for the Cardinals, Brooke Wallace (vault, all-around), Mei Luangkhot (floor exercise) and Sophie Brachet (vault) each had career-best performances in their respective events.
Greenwich hosts Darien on Thursday at 6 p.m.