Hompe powers New Canaan past Simsbury
STAMFORD -- As Olivia Hompe made her way on an end-to-end run toward the opposing goal, the score tied in the final minute, on her senior night, the fans at Terry Conners Rink, watching with anticipation, likely all shared the same thought.
Sure enough, Hompe, the player who has authored countless storybook moments on her way to becoming the nation's second-leading high school female scorer, added to her lore.
Hompe's goal with 28 seconds remaining lifted the New Canaan girls hockey team to a dramatic 4-3 win over Simsbury. The Rams, who had to weather a third-period barrage that saw a 3-1 lead erased, remained unbeaten at 16-0.
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"Once I was able to get to the middle, I picked my head up and I went with what I saw," said Hompe, whose accomplishments the past four years have caused writers to exhaust their supply of adjectives.
New Canaan coach Rich Bulan, borrowing a quote from UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, aptly described Wednesday night's win and the many that have preceded it during Hompe's tenure: "We have Olivia and you don't."
Bulan added, "Would you expect anything less after four years and everything she's done? It's the hard part of being good. She's been money in the bank when it comes to that."
Hompe's goal was her 36th this season and 215th of her career. But the more telling statistic was Hompe assisted on New Canaan's first three goals, an individual talent but more so the consummate team player.
After Simsbury scored late in the first period, Ripley put the Rams back ahead by two with the night's prettiest goal and the only one of the second period. Taking a nice feed from Hompe on the right side, she managed to drill a shot into the upper left side of the net.
"We came out really hard in the first period and got some chances we should have put away," Hompe said. "We had to keep working. For all five of us (seniors), we knew this was a game we didn't want to lose."
Simsbury (12-3-1) had other ideas, and dominated play for most of the third period. Maggie Grigely's goal at 1:42 cut the deficit to 3-2 and Sutton Wunderle tied the game four minutes later.
From there, New Canaan goaltender Nathalie Deney put on a show, denying Simsbury and stuffing Grigely with 1:20 remaining.
"We arrived here late and I don't think we were ready in the first period," Simsbury coach Kris Arnold said. "Goal-scoring has been one of our questions. I would have liked to see us finish better."
Arnold soon got to see the queen of finishing take away his team's chance at going to overtime.
"She figured in all four goals, and if you stop her, you stop New Canaan sometimes," Arnold said of Hompe. "Olivia's a great player. She's the best player I've coached against. I like coaching against her. She's a true sportsmen."
The Rams are back in the position of being targeted by other teams, and have tough regular season games with Darien and Ridgefield upcoming before the postseason.
"We are not thinking about it yet," Hompe said. "Corbett is always talking about it, but it's too much to focus on. "We have some big games, then FCIACs and states. We will face the rest when we come to it."
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NEW CANAAN 4, SIMSBURY 3
SIMSBURY 1 0 2--3
NEW CANAAN 2 1 1--4
Goals: S--Tess MacKay, Maggie Grigely, Sutton Wunderle; NC--Corbett Ripley 2, Catherine Granito, Olivia Hompe. Assists: S--Grigely 2, Hayle Aubin, Arianna Arciero; NC--Hompe 3, Madzie Carroll 2. Goalies: S--Mackenzie Dubois (14 saves); NC--Nathalie Deney (19 saves). Shots: S--31; NC--30.