DARIEN -- For the New Canaan girls hockey team, the schedule might be getting tougher, but the result has stayed the same.
Win after win after win. Eleven in a row to start the season to be exact.
In its latest triumph, New Canaan scored the first four goals on its way to a 4-2 victory over Ridgefield at the Darien Ice Rink on Saturday afternoon. Olivia Hompe notched a hat trick and goalie Nathalie Deney stopped 27 of 29 shots for the 11-0 Rams.
"We were all feeling good and we were pumped," Deney said. "It's definitely good to prepare because once we hit the postseason in FCIACs and states, we're going to be playing really tough teams who are fired up all the time. So this is really our chance to test how far we can go and how hard we can work."
The Rams got on the board 8:49 into the first period when Hompe was sprung on a breakaway after receiving a pass from Corbett Ripley. Hompe weaved past a defender to go in one-on-one with the goalie before finishing a backhander for a 1-0 lead.
The last 1:09 of the opening period proved pivotal, as New Canaan scored twice to boost its lead to 3-0.
"It's not ideal. One of our team rules is not to give up goals in the last two minutes of any period," Ridgefield coach Lauren Gibbs said.
First, Catherine Grantio doubled her team's lead after receiving passes from Madzie Carroll and Amelia Carroll with 1:09 remaining. After winning the ensuing faceoff, the Rams set up shot in the attacking zone and Hompe scored her second goal with Granito picking up the assist.
"I think we gave the game away a little in the first period a little bit," Gibbs said. "We didn't come out our hardest and just dug ourselves in a hole we couldn't get out of, but we got better and better each period."
"(The first line) had just come off of a really nice goal, so we figured why not leave them out there and see if they can do some damage and they did," New Canaan coach Rich Bulan said. "That's a big goal."
With New Canaan on the powerplay midway through the second period, Granito again sent a pass to Hompe, who skated across the blue line on a breakaway and scored for the 4-0 lead.
After being robbed by Deney on several occasions over the first period and a half, Ridgefield's Maeve Reilly broke through 10:40 into the second. With the puck loose in front of the New Canaan net, Reilly jammed away before finally pushing the puck into the net, as Meredith Keenan and Erica Ely collected assists.
Reilly scored her second goal with 8:51 remaining in the third period, but the Tigers were unable to make up the early four-goal hole as the clock ran out on the Rams' 4-2 win.
"They're a good team. I think the difference for us tonight was Natalie having her third or fourth big game in a row, and Olivia does what Olivia does," Bulan said. "I thought the defense did some really good work. There were some gutsy plays all around."
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NEW CANAAN 4, RIDGEFIELD 2
Ridgefield 0 1 1--2
New Canaan 0 0 0--0
Records: New Canaan 11-0 (6-0 FCIAC); Ridgefield 7-3 (4-3 FCIAC).
Goals: NC--Olivia Hompe 3, Catherine Granito; R--Maeve Reilly 2. Assists: NC--Granito 2, Amelia Carroll 2, Madzie Carroll, Corbett Ripley. R--Meredith Keenan, Erica Ely, Katie Curnan. Goalies: NC--Nathalie Deney (27 saves); R--Heather Ogden (27). Shots: NC--31; R--29.