With Greenwich goalie Jessica Ware and Simsbury netminder Tori LaCroix turning away shots from all angles, it became clear as Tuesday’s ice hockey game progressed that one goal would decide the matchup between the two top-tier squads in the state.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, the Trojans registered that one goal.
Defender Molly Walsh’s goal with 10:29 remaining in the third period lifted Simsbury to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Greenwich at Dorothy Hamill Skating Rink. With the tight victory, Simsbury, ranked No. 1 in the state, improved its record to 13-1-1. Greenwich, which entered the non-conference game, ranked third in the state, sports a record of 11-3-2.
“We’re proud of the team, they left it all on the ice and that’s all we can ask for as coaches,” GHS coach Alex Lerchen said. “They did everything in their grasp to make this a game, so we can ask for anything more.”
Ware was sensational in goal, making 29 saves, 12 of which came during a scoreless first period.
“She has stood tall in goal for us and kept us in the game for sure,” Lerchen said of Ware.
LaCroix was also up to the task in goal, making 25 saves for the shutout.
“She had a great game, she played very sound,” Simsbury coach Paul Melanson of LaCroix. “There were some really good chances, but she did not leave a lot of rebounds. Our defense played really solid.”
On the game-winning goal, Walsh skated down the ice, weaving her way past several players, then while using a teammate as a screen snapped a shot from between the circles that went over the shoulder of Ware, giving her team a 1-0 edge. Sofia Marcktell assisted on the game-winner.
Greenwich celebrated briefly after appearing to score the game’s first goal 40 seconds into the third period. The Cardinals got a shot past LaCroix off a rebound, however after discussing the play, the officials determined that a couple of Greenwich players interfered with LaCroix on the play, inadvertently pushing her into the goal and the tally was disallowed.
The visitors threatened to take the lead in first period, but Ware kept it scoreless, behind 12 saves. Anna Melanson, Anna Kahl and Walsh directed shots at Ware throughout and kept the pressure on.
Meanwhile, Lily Bates, Elizabeth Anderson, Emma Wingrove registered several shots on goal in the first two periods, while Katie Piotrzkowski, Sydney Orszulak, Delaney Roth and Tess Marciano anchored the Cardinals’ defensive effort.
“We realize these are the types of teams we are going to face in the playoffs,” Lerchen said. “They’re the No. 1 team for a reason. They skate hard and win those types of battles. It’s going to take this type of effort to extend our season as much as we want to.”
GREENWICH HIGH GIRLS BASKETBALL
Greenwich continued to improve to its position in the FCIAC standings with an exciting 56-55 win over host Wilton in a key FCIAC matchup on Monday night.
The Cardinals, who raised their record to 12-5 overall, are 10-4 in FCIAC play, good for fifth place in the conference with three games remaining in the regular season. The top eight teams qualify for the FCIAC Tournament.
Greenwich led Wilton, 18-13, after the first quarter, 31-26 at halftime and 47-37 heading into the fourth quarter. Yet the Warriors cut into the Cardinals’ double-digit lead in the second half. The visiting Cardinals had two 13-point leads, before the Warriors stage a comeback.
Trailing 56-55 in the game’s final seconds, Wilton had possession and took the potential game-winning shot, but GHS senior forward Ciara Munnelly blocked the shot and the Cardinals pulled out the win.
Freshman forward Mackenzie Nelson scored a game-high 21 points for Greenwich. Nelson provided clutch shooting from the foul line, converting eight of her 10 attempts.
Senior forward Julia Conforti scored 11 points, including three 3-pointers, while Munnelly and sophomore forward Kelly Martyanov added seven points apiece in the winning effort.
Sophomore Leah Martins scored 11 of her 14 points in the second half for Wilton, which received 15 points from sophomore Ellie Copley.
Martins made two 3-pointers for the Warriors, who were also paced by senior Zoe Rappaport’s 13 points. Wilton is 10-7 overall and 7-6 in the FCIAC.
Munnelly registered seven rebounds, three steals and two assists and Martyanov pulled down six rebounds for the Cardinals — winners of four straight games.
Sophomore guard Kristin Riggs had three points and four assists, freshman guard Ava Sollenne added four points and senior guard Jordan Moses swished a 3-pointer for Greenwich.
Up next for the Cardinals is a game against Bridgeport Central on Thursday at 5:30 p.m.