A remarkable 2021 season will continue for the Trumbull/St. Joseph girls ice hockey team.
Senior co-captain Megan McCarthy had a hat trick and starred on defense to help the third-seeded Eagles overcome No. 6 Stamford/Westhill/Staples 6-2 in the FCIAC quarterfinals Monday at The Rinks at Shelton.
It was Trumbull’s first win in an FCIAC tournament and gave it a record of 8-3-1, nearly matching its win total from the last two seasons combined.
“In my 11 years, this has been the best commitment that I’ve seen,” Trumbull coach Paula Dady said. “It’s been 150% since January 19 for these girls and it’s been so much fun.”
The Eagles will face No. 2 New Canaan (10-1) in the semifinals at the Darien Ice House on Thursday. The Rams defeated No. 7 Fairfield 5-1 in Monday’s quarterfinals.
While McCarthy led the offense, freshman goalie Elsa Haakonsen was exceptional on defense and collected 37 saves.
“She’s just getting better each game,” Dady said. “Watch out by the time she’s a senior because this girl is going to be incredible. She’s truly an amazing goalie and I’m so lucky to have her.”
Trumbull led 2-0 after one period, but SWS rallied to tie the score at 2-2 with five minutes remaining in the second.
“We went into the game knowing this was not going to be easy,” Dady said. “They have Meadow Gilchrist, who is a phenomenal player, and their goalie (Sydney Butler) played incredible. We weren’t playing bad, we just needed to step it up, take more shots and follow it to the net.”
Two goals in a span of 27 seconds put the Eagles ahead for good.
Sophomore Kendall Conley went coast to coast for the tiebreaker, and freshman Mary Stowe followed to give Trumbull a 4-2 lead heading to the third period.
McCarthy then scored twice in the third frame, including a short-handed goal from the point, to complete her hat trick.
“Megan has really stepped up for her senior year,” Dady said. “For her career in hockey, she’s going out with a bang. She’s a phenomenal player and she gives it her all. Megan is one of those players where if it needs to get done, she is going to do it.”
Trumbull has rotated three defenders, and they accounted for five goals, with sophomore Maddy Silberger netting one.
Now, facing a New Canaan team which has reached the FCIAC final in three consecutive seasons, Dady has a clear message for her Eagles.
“Our message is to keep playing our game and keep playing as hard as we’ve been playing,” Dady said. “We’ve been playing great hockey. It’s been a fantastic season and I’m so proud of the girls and their hard work and dedication. This season proves that anything is possible.”
TRUMBULL/ST. JOSEPH 6, STAMFORD/WESTHILL/STAPLES 2
Stamford 0 2 0 – 2
Trumbull 2 2 2 – 6
SWS: Meadow Gilchrist 1g, 1a; Paige Tuccinardi 2a; Alyssa Gioia 1g
Trumbull/St. Joseph: Megan McCarthy 3g; Maddy Silberger 1g, 1a; Mary Stowe 1g, 1a; Kendall Conley 1g; Devon Cavaliere 1a; Teagan Cavaliere 1a; Devon Watson 1a.
Goalies: T – Elsa Haakonsen 37 saves