DARIEN -- Although the game time was a bit out of the ordinary for the New Canaan girls hockey team, the result was not. New Canaan's Olivia Hompe and Corbett Ripley both netted hat tricks and the Rams marched to a 9-2 win over the Wilton Warriors Monday at 10 a.m. at the Darien Ice Rink.
Wilton managed to stay in the game for most of the first period, and with time dwindling, the Rams had only a 1-0 advantage on a goal by Olivia Hompe, who was assisted by Madzie Carroll.
With the Warriors a mere 10 ticks away from beginning the second period trailing by a single goal, the Rams doubled their lead when Ripley scored her first marker with Carroll and Hompe tallying assists. But the Rams didn't stop there. Catherine Granito won the ensuing faceoff and got the puck back to Hompe, who slid a pass to Ripley for a one-time goal for a 3-0 lead with 0.7 remaining.
"I think we just chipped away at it," said Hompe, who collected her 300th career high school point on New Canaan's third goal. "We were very focused at the end of the period. It's pretty exciting; this was a big win for the team."
From there, the floodgates were open. After receiving a lead pass from Granito, Hompe was one-on-one with the Wilton goalie, and she took advantage of the opportunity by quickly moving the puck to her backhand and sliding it into the net. Midway through the period, Hompe notched the hat trick to give her team a 5-0 lead.
"Once we break through, it usually happens fast. Wilton hung in there, but it's hard to stop our first line," New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "(Scoring twice at the end of the first period) is what they can do."
Just 10 seconds later, Wilton found its way onto the scoreboard when Sam Enborg corralled a loose puck that bounced off the boards behind the New Canaan net and scored on a close-range shot to make the score 5-1 going into the third period.
Hompe and Ripley each scored one more time to boost the New Canaan lead to 9-1, and Wilton's Erin O'Connell scored with just over a minute remaining after receiving a pass from Nicole Lue to close out the contest at 9-2.
"We needed to face some adversity. We've gotten really good at not panicking (after the close first period), and this is a nice win after coming back from the break," Ripley said. "We're used to playing at night, but playing in the morning is just another form of adversity."
New Canaan goalie Nathalie Deney 14 of the 16 shots she faced.
New Canaan is approaching a difficult stretch of its schedule, as the Rams will be back in action on Wednesday at Stamford Terry Conners Rink at 8:30 p.m. The clash with the Knights will be followed up by games against Guilford, Greenwich and Hall/Conard, last year's state champions.
"It's going to be the best part of the season," Hompe said. "We're excited to test our strengths and get ready to head into the playoffs."
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NEW CANAAN 9, WILTON 2
WILTON 0 1 1 -- 2
NEW CANAAN 3 2 4 -- 9
Goals: NC--Olivia Hompe (5), Corbett Ripley (3), Emma Rosenstein. W--Sam Enborg, Erin O'Connell. Assists: NC--Madzie Carroll (5), Catherine Granito (3), Hompe (2), MacKenzie Lewis. W--Nicole Lue. Goalies: NC--Nathalie Deney (14 saves); W--Brooke Johnson (37). Shots: NC--46; W--16.